Pre Hubby, my only experience with Chinese food was prawns or chicken in batter balls, sweet and sour sauce, and boiled rice.
That was all I would try, as what had been purchased and presented to me before made me want to throw up.
As well as the batter balls, a previous boyfriend loved Chinese curries. He also liked chips, enjoyed beansprouts, chop suey and bamboo shoots, and savoured beef and pork satays. He adored brown sauce. (He relished mint sauce too, but only on a roast) .
He did not like the Chinese sweet and sour sauce though.
His idea of a Chinese takeaway was a portion of everything he liked, piled high on a plate, mashed together and covered in sauce (of the non-Chinese variety) .
It’s no wonder then that I was put off.
Now Hubby is a different kettle of fish altogether. Having spent his early childhood in Singapore and Hong Kong, oriental food was the norm, and he loved it.
So he decided to educate me.
We started with the dishes I was familiar with, and he had something else. We dipped and shared, I either liked or didn’t. He didn’t push dishes he liked on me, but I was encouraged to try anything on his plate, and eventually I was enjoying other sweet and sour dishes, crispy duck, chilli beef, spring rolls, various rices, prawn crackers and sesame toast.
When we moved to this area, we discovered a Chinese all day buffet restaurant where you could eat as much as you wished for a set price. It was the ideal opportunity for me to try an even wider variety in small doses rather than purchase a full portion only to discover I didn’t like it. Oh the joys of crispy seaweed, lemon chicken, chicken and sweetcorn soup, barbecue and honeyed spare ribs, onion rings and mushrooms Malaysian style.
Please note I do not calorie count on my diet. I enjoy my food and if we over indulge one day, we cut back the next (and the next if necessary) if we haven’t prepared ourselves in advance for such a feast. As it is a rare occurrence for us to treat ourselves in this way, our weights are pretty stable.
Yesterday we returned to the Buffet restaurant we had visited on Saturday for our anniversary. We were shown to a table close to the hotplates, and our drink order taken. We were really extravagant, Hubby having an orange squash and myself diet coke, both with free refills, total price £3. Then we were left to it to help ourselves from the 40 choices available.
O H W O W.
Yum doesn’t begin to cover it.
I sampled vermicelli, samosas, fried pastry, nuggets, deep fried vegetables, pork in black bean sauce, beef satay, umpteen selections of chicken, plus all the dishes I was now more familiar with and a helping of rice. (I showed willing though and ignored the chips.)
Hubby went up to the buffet three times, and so did I.
Much of it was as he remembered from all those years ago, and he encouraged me again to try some new things from his plate before I went up to select some for myself.
The restaurant was beginning to get busy, and we couldn’t help but notice the differences in how people helped themselves. Most piled their plates really high on each visit and nearly everyone took chips!
Hubby and I certainly had a good selection, preferring to take a little of several different things that complimented each other, using the rice to ‘mop up’ the sauces. Then when we’d finished that, we went back and selected a variety of other dishes (and more rice) .
For dessert, we could choose from a selection of fresh fruits, cubed jelly, toffee fritters and banana fritters. I love jelly (not very Chinese, but I still love it) and had grapes, melon and pineapple to go with it together with a fritter of each variety. My sweet tooth in the dessert stakes had either left the building or given up trying to cope, so the jury is still out on the fritters (maybe next time) .
I admit it, we were Pigs.
We stuffed ourselves silly and waddled out with tight waistbands, pleasantly plump. but not bloated.
The flavours were still with us two hours later, but not in an indigestion kind of way.
We didn’t want anything for tea, supper or even breakfast this morning.
Twenty four hours later, we still don’t want to eat, and if we’re peckish this evening, it will be beans on toast, perhaps minus the beans.
This is the best bit though.
Our total bill was £12.90 including our drinks (we only had one refill) .
Behind the restaurant and on the opposite side of the road is a McDonalds.
For a burger, fries and drink each, we pay £9.58.
When it comes to eating on a budget, we now know where to find a banquet for less than a fiver a head!