Combine an EU recession with a crotch-achingly cold winter and the lack of tourists in Paris last week was not surprising. Never have I walked straight into the Mus+¬e d’Orsay, Invalides or one of the City of Light’s classy strip-clubs without standing in a slow-moving, grumbling queue. Yet this was indeed the case during a recent education trip ?+¦-+?+¡me finding a city empty of foreigners or tourists. Except for the Chinese, that is.
There they were being guided around Galeries Lafayette’s Chanel section by a Mandarin-speaking French lady. Hundreds storming the shopping centres around the Opera. Taking up half the space in Pied au Couchon where they consumed enough pork trotters to make a whole Jihad terrorist force whimper.
In the mood for some culture I waltzed along to the Crazy Horse, a venue known for its aesthetically pleasing actresses who being allergic to clothing fibre, prance around on the stage in a post-modern expression of electric joie de vivre. Of course, the place looked like a noodle bar in Chengdu as the Chinese folk assessed the deep and pointed nature of the artistic expression.
Starting up a conversation with a few business-types from Tianjin, I was told that it was just about mandatory for the Chinese to experience all things French. Wine, fashion and jewellery are some of the hottest items in modern Chinese culture and it is compulsory to visit France to experience these luxuries before beginning to fake them in the sweatshops back home. Respect, it is called.
I must admit, talking to all those Chinese folk at 3.am outside Brasserie Flo did create an urge to get down to some spicy Chinese food, but my French forebears would have hauled out the old guillotine if I was caught munching on stir-fry lime and chilli crab in the middle of Paris.
Upon arriving back in good old RS of A, however, I was to use the favourite word of Cape Town PR poppies ?+¦?+º?+¦delighted?+¦?+º?+æ to hear of a huge Chinese feast going down on local soil. For on Sunday 10 February a ?+¦?+º?+¦Cape to Canton Chinese New Year Food and Wine Celebration?+¦?+º?+æ takes place in the gardens of the Vineyard Hotel and Spa, one of the city’s most innovative culinary destinations. The fact that the Chinese New Year is underway Year of the Snake, I take it forms part of the festivities which include Chinese chow from institutions such as South China Dim Sum Bar, Aunty Mary’s Tao Yuan joint and Haiku.
All will be washed down with a startling array of Cape wines, as well as a good dollop of Bisquit cognac just to ensure the Chinese attending do that ?+¦?+º?+¦I’m crying because I am so pissed?+¦?+º?+æ thing which is so in character out East.
Two kinds of tickets are available: The Red one (R295) gives you bowls, chopsticks, glasses and an eight course Chinese tasting menu paired with wine, cognac, coffee and entertainment. The Gold ticket comes in at R595 and includes all the above plus access to the VIP Bisquit Cognac private garden, full tasting menu with unlimited wine pairings (some imported and vintage), cigars and copious amounts of Bisquit.
Check out the link for details and booking: https://www.quicket.co.za/events/1561-cape-to-canton-chinese-new-year/
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