Eating is the most important part of Chinese daily life. There a Chinese saying “eating is the sky” which means the sky is vast and eating is most important.
One morning when I visit Michael at the hospital he was excited and told me he knew a good place to get some pan-fried dumplings. He befriended a nurse and she told him a restaurant across the street which sells excellent dumplings.
It was my afternoon task to bring back some of those delicious pan-fried dumplings for him. Qingdao is fills with hole in a wall eating places with delicious and inexpensive food. It was not hard to find the restaurant but I surprised with how fancy this restaurant was and somehow apprehensive to entered it.
As I enter this restaurant lobby area on the left is a reception desk and I ask the young woman: well actually I showed her my paper with the written word of this special dumpling. I asked if they are still available since lunch time was over and there was not a single customer in sight.
She pick up a phone and inquired to the kitchen if they able to make it and then answer yes. She then asked me to be seat in a waiting area and brought me a boiling hot cup of water in a white porcelain cup.
I waited and waited for more than half an hour but still no sign of the dumplings. I was getting rather impatient and also worry about the cost. On the little round table in front of me was a drink menu which listed the price of juices and tea and they were very expensive range from 38yuan to 100 yuan. I had to check and make sure if I had brought enough money to pay for them.
During this time other young women appear all wearing different but elegant uniforms some dressed silk in fancy long Chinese dress.
Finally, another person brought out a big clear plastic bag and inside was three white containers. Could this be my order of dumplings?
The first young woman came to me and directs me to the cashier to pay for my order which I thought she said 300 yuan but she then gave me back 200 and with more changes.
The total cost of my order was only 38 yuan, about $6 about the price of a large Starbucks coffee!
After I got back to the hospital and open the containers, there were 9 large pan-fired dumplings in the three boxes.