Dean Pollak went to China this weekend. Well, not really, but as close as a person can get to Shanghai without leaving mainland US. She was an attendee at a Chinese banquet in New York’s Chinatown at the Golden Unicorn Restaurant.
Dean Pollak was stunned at the differences, and yet soothed by the similarities, of a large gathering of a totally different culture.
Let’s start with the most salient differences.
There was no bar at all. Each table had a bottle of red and white wine, bottles of Coke and a pot of tea. Only the tea and soda were opened during...not the cocktail hour. The Deans will call the hour and a half before the food was served the "meet and greet." From 5:30pm to 7:00pm guests mingled with one another without alcohol, and here the Dean’s have been preaching all along the bar must be the first thing people see. Evidently not. In this case a bar was not necessary.
Husbands and wives were seated next to each other. A total departure from what the Deans espouse.
No elaborate floral centerpiece, the food was the star. The center of the table was alternately platters of food or stacked with the just used dishes.
The Chinese New Year puts our Thanksgiving to shame. The courses, all twelve of them, had multiple components, each different colors and textures, so that the banquet was not just twelve different dishes, but came closer to fifty.
The overarching similarity is the sense of family and conviviality that a multi generational party hosted by a nonagenarian patriarch provides.
Just like many parties we’ve been to ‘here’ there was a dance floor and a live band, and people really got up and danced. Getting your boogie on was a necessary bit of salubrious movement to help make room for the next course.
Dean Pollak thoroughly enjoyed her trip to the Far East, and was honored to be invited. Dean Manigault was not able to enjoy her Saturday night just thinking of the Chinese New Year's Feast she was missing.