I sat chatting with a young woman who spoke excellent English. During the conversation she mentioned she had studied in Beijing, but then did a master's degree in St. Andrews. I was so surprised. She is the only Chinese person I know who has even heard of the place. Then I surprised her by telling her that I was born in St. Andrews. Small world, indeed.
Then we noticed that two tables had been set for dinner and food had appeared from the restaurant kitchen below.
Cauliflower with bacon.
Braised Tofu Skin
Beef with baby lotus roots
Stir fried green chilli with salted black beans.
Pickled vegetables and jujubes
Garlic scapes with tiny river shrimp
and of course snails.
The television crew descended on our table and I was presented with a bowl of Luosifen
and some stewed ducks feet.
I was given strict instructions not to eat any until the director said the Chinese equivalent of "Camera! Action!" This took a while, although I was permitted to sample the other goodies on offer in the meantime.
Finally I was Instructed to take a mouthful of luosifen and make suitably appreciative noises. I was given the go-ahead and dived in. Three second later the director shouted "Cut!"
This went on three or four times until he was satisfied. Then he moved on to other people eating other dishes.
Finally, he decided he was hungry and went off to join another table and we got on with enjoying our meal.
I realise I was being the token foreigner again, but hey, a free dinner! Delicious and a lot of fun.