Old China Hands 1 April lunch

Is it a joke?

Not an April Fool’s Day but a real Old China Hands 1 April lunch with a nice attendance of 33 people, of course in Morel’s Restaurant.
Again everybody happy to chat and enjoy the great food, see some of the dishes.

All were too busy to come up with some April 1 joke. We had special Flemish and French-speaking tables, leaving the others to chat in English and German.

Hutong man

Our friend and regular participant Terry Crossman is famous for his hutong volunteering, being interviewed by Chinese and foreign media.
Even the very official China Daily published an article, see:

See the PDF here: 220116 TerryCrossman
Click the link to China Daily to view the video clip.
Another short documentary came out with a nice video.

The video is on WeChat (Weixin) Channels, no link available. But Terry sent the file and you can view it here (VPN required): https://vimeo.com/695594973
Terry will make sure you find your way in the hutongs near Houhai!

And more Terry

I was nearly posting and then, another interview with the Hutong Man.
He is the darling of the media! Mark Levine and Terry arecompeting for the most media articles. I stand no chance!
See: http://www.bjreview.com/World/202204/t20220407_800281475.html
See the article here: 220407 TerryCrossman

Old China Hands 4 March lunch

Good attendance

Old China Hands 4 March lunch had 33 participants, again a great get together to enjoy the great food and companionship. No special “event”, just having fun.

Another famous OCH

This time (finally) a focus on Renaat Morel, the owner and chef of Morel’s Restaurant and Café.
He has been in the same spot for over twenty years, a real feat as so many restaurant come and go.
He came to China a looong time ago, to actually start up the air catering business and much more. What many people do not know is his past as a celebrated chef in France. I have been trying to trace back some of his accomplishments, here listed in the latest draft.

See: Renaat Chef

He has served the famous people as you will see.
In Beijing he is also very well know and has many interviews and articles in the Chinese media.
Here one of the latest in TheBeijinger.
See: 19 December 2021 https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/sJ-S5BNN2vwRFS7VHZMVzg

The full article: 211219 MorelTheBeijinger

Yes you will see me there a lot as I not only love the food but also meeting my friends there.

See here some of my favorite dishes: the gratin of endive and ham (see here more!), spaghetti, chateaubriand.
You will not find the same quality in other locations (and surely not at that price). Even the spaghetti…

Old China Hands 11 February lunch

Year of the Tiger

With the golden week of Chinese New Year, Morel’s was closed on the first Friday, so we had the Old China Hands 11 February lunch instead. Great attendance with 38 present!

I organized a small lucky draw to celebrate the 2022 Winter Olympics. Two lucky winners got the pair of Olympic coins, Mark and Ferencz.

Hachis Parmentier

Morel’s Restaurant again offered a great lunch menu. I chose the Hachis Parmentier, that was a great but real filling dish!
See here some details about that dish:
French Beef and Potato Casserole
See: https://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/hachis-parmentier
Hachis Parmentier is a French casserole made with layers of mashed potatoes and beef, topped with cheese.


Hachis Parmentier, pronounced HA-she PAR-man-TAY, is a classic French recipe that is pure cold-weather comfort food. It’s perhaps best described as the French version of Shepherd’s Pie. It combines seasoned beef with a layer of silky smooth potato puree and is topped with gooey gruyere cheese.
See: https://entertainingwithbeth.com/hachis-parmentier-recipe/

The desert was also special: “Tiger Chocolate Choux Pastry”!
Here an introduction:
See: http://lovingcreations4u.blogspot.com/2019/04/tiger-chocolate-choux-pastry.html

Edwin Maher, our CCTV star

Edwin and me we go a long way. I already mentioned him in my following post:
“The top 60 foreign experts in China”
It mentions the book “60 Foreign Experts in China”, published in 2009 by the Foreign Languages Press. Listed are the “usual suspects” such as Israel Epstein, Sidney Shapiro, David Dollar, William Lindesay, Norman Foster, Edwin Maher and even Henricus (Hein for the insiders) Verbruggen. Yeah and myself.

I was also on the float with him on the parade of 1 October 2009.
See: https://blog.strategy4china.com/2010/01/gilbert-in-global-times-newspaper-web/


Oct 1 Parade last pictures

Many articles published about him… See here a few:
Article China Daily 28 January 2015

The full story: 150128 EdwinMaherCD

Article China Daily 27 October 2017

And in TheBeijinger:

Edwin is currently away to be with family. Looking forward to see him again in our lunches.

Old China Hands 7 January lunch

A special celebration

Our Old China Hands 7 January lunch in Morel’s again celebrated a special event, “King Cake”, see further the background.
Attendance was pretty good with 28 people, despite last minute cancellations.
And of course food was great as always.

As we had two big tables we decided to have a “Lucky King” at each table. See Curt searching in vain for the lucky statue, our Michel waiting patiently for more guests,
We had the same celebration last year: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/01/24/old-china-hands-8-january/
See some of the many dishes part of the special lunch menu!
In the evening I came back again for another extra King Cake (with ice cream, last pic). Delicious!

6 January: Epiphany

In Belgium, it is customary to eat a king cake (galette des rois in French or driekoningentaart in Dutch) on 6 January to celebrate the Epiphany. At its inception, the Epiphany was a Christian feast that celebrated the revelation of Jesus Christ to the Eastern kings. Nowadays, the celebration has included pagan traditions and is enjoyed by many, irrespective of their beliefs.The Epiphany’s origins can be traced back to the Gospel of Matthew, in which three kings from the East, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar, are said to have followed a star until they reached Jesus who had just been born. With them, they brought three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The custom to eat cake that day only came much later from the Roman empire. During the Romans’ Saturnalia, a feast in honor of their god Saturn, the role of the slaves and their masters would get switched around: the masters would make a cake in which they’d hide a bean. Whoever found the bean could then be king for a day, make demands on their masters and express freedom of speech.

Nowadays, Belgians often eat their king cake with their family. The cake is made with puff pastry and almond paste, and instead of a bean a small porcelain figurine, often representing Jesus, is hidden within. Whoever gets the figurine in their piece is crowned king for a day. To ensure fairness in the game, the youngest child has to sit under the table while the cake is cut, naming the recipient of each piece. The winner is then given a cardboard crown and can choose their king or queen!

Source: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/zmAqt8uS9VwYnLArUkL1-w

Another “Famous OCH” in the spotlight: Alan

As published by theBeijinger!
“There is something gentlemanly about Alan Babington-Smith, and given all that he has accomplished over his lifetime, as well as the astounding things he has done while here in Beijing, I feel honored to shed some light on the amazing life of this man, whose main occupation now is helping to run the Royal Asiatic Society, Beijing.”

Read the full story: 211211 AlanBabington.pdf

Previously his lovely wife was featured: https://www.beijing1980.com/2021/11/14/old-china-hands-5-november-lunch/

Old China Hands 3 December lunch

Magic number

Our Old China Hands 3 December lunch again reached the “magical” number of 27 attendants who had a great time, eating and chatting. It was the last lunch of the year. We wish all our members are nice end of the year holiday period, wherever they are. I will remain in Beijing to spend the special days, including my birthday.
Next lunch planned for 7 January 2022.

See some of the dishes, such a nice lunch menu.
What few people know, the restaurant has two unique machines used in hospitals among other. The technician just came to change the special product used in the machine. ZYUNICON series air disinfectors integrate several functions, including personnel safety on medical-level, efficient virus elimination, formaldehyde & odor removal, and continuous antibacterial effect on object surfaces.

Matthew, our actor

We have many colorful members, Matthew for sure fits the bill. Among his many activities like creating ZEN moments and teaching, he also acts.

His latest:
Xiangshan Ye Zhenghong  –  香山叶正 is a Chinese TV series that is being broadcast on CCTV1. Matthew Cuerdon played the historical figure, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, circa 1948-1949.

On March 25, 1949, Mao Zedong and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China entered the Xiangshan Shuangqing Villa in Beijing and began preparations for the founding of the country. The Kuomintang Chiang Kai-shek offered to negotiate, but he had no sincerity. He intended to delay the negotiations and prepare for war. Mao Zedong negotiated in good faith while doing the same. Well prepared to cross the Yangtze River, and sure enough, the peace talks broke down. Mao Zedong commanded millions of heroes to cross the Yangtze River and liberated all of China.
The four beams and eight pillars of the new China were built in October 1949.

Kent, author

Our dear friend Kent left us for sunny USA and just published his book.

Are We A Bus? Paperback – November 15, 2021, by JEFF AGINS (Author), KENT NIEPERT (Author)
See the intro of the book:

World’s greatest guitarist The Doctor, Jurgen Weislangwolf’s latest tour was locked down and ready to kick off like any other tour. But an ex-stage manager had other plans, waiting for his chance to get back out on the road. Without any fanfare, the tour started with an unnoticed set of eyes watching every detail.

Hardened tour professionals Jeb and Neusy can easily navigate any tour loaded with con men and rip off artists in their path. When murder and mayhem started to become an obstacle, the success of the tour became dependent on them keeping the band safe.
Content and enjoying his new life on the road, the ex-stage manager always watching and waiting for his opportunity to create chaos, which increased once he realized the incompetence of the two FBI agents that were assigned to the tour.
Comedy and satire on an already humorous industry where vile and disreputable people have been known to ruin many careers.

A wild and zany rock tour filled with whimsical characters around every corner. From promoters always trying to gain an upper hand to having to share the stage with absurd opening bands and working for a guitarist with an ego the size of Florida, Jeb and Neusy the consummate tour professionals always seem to have their hands on the pulse of every situation even when their bass player goes missing.
Life on a crowded bus also has its challenges for tour manager Jeb Acorns and his stage manager Kurt Neustadt. With a band of Austrian musicians, just happy to be on tour and a crew consisting of the foul mouthed but steady stage hand Hocker Flemming and the homesick merchandise assistant Marlon Jiggs, constantly searching for the nearest marijuana dispensary to help ease him from being away from his family.

To read more and buy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/173740270X/