Thursday, January 21, 2010

Engagement Party

On Sunday I went to an engagement party for my friends Amanda and Jeff.  engagement 002









Engagement parties are a pretty big deal here- from what I gather, the engagement party is hosted by the bride’s parents for their friends.  Her dad is the head of something (a farmer’s association?  I couldn’t quite figure it all out) and invited tons of people- I guess there were 120 tables each of which held 10 people.  I’m not sure if they were all full but it was close.


It was in a place that I always thought was a fruit warehouse, and in fact there were stalls selling fruit near where the party was.  You can see how the tables just go on and on!  I was sitting with some of their junior high school classmates near the front- one of whom I knew and some of whom spoke English.


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Here they come around with their parents to toast with each table.  I’ve heard that whiskey is often used for toasts.  I’m always nervous at one of these banquets (weddings or work things) because I don’t toast and don’t plan to down too much between toasts.  But in fact it’s never been an issue- here everyone was drinking tea and while there was a bottle of whiskey at our table no one even opened it.  (Although one couple took it home afterwards- LOL!)  You can see some people dressed up and others didn’t.  There was a random Taiwanese grandma at our table too.

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The food was pretty typical of these kind of banquet things- dishes brought out at 5-minute intervals that the whole table shares.  There was a burner on each table to cook some of the dishes or keep them hot.  The pot in the front of the picture had chicken soup with a whole chicken in it- feet and heat included.  I let the other sample those parts but the "normal" parts I had were quite delicious.  There was also a kind of seaweed cone that had salad in it that took special skill to unwrap.  A few people tried to help me but to no avail.  :)  On the right is a sushi plate that also had some fried seafood of some kind and a whole raw fish chopped up into big chunks.  Later they put that in the cooking pot.  As you can see it’s pretty artfully arranged.

engagement 006 Near the end came the gigundous shrimp.  This was a little too intense for me.  I have seen lobsters that weren’t much bigger.  They cooked them then went to town on them.  I declined my portion- one thing I’ve learned to do quite well in Chinese is express my fullness!

I’ve mentioned before that when the food is over at a Taiwan party, the party’s over.  No dancing or anything.  I think some people were going back to Amanda’s house to hang out but I was coming down with a cold so I went home.

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