I like to eat and I like to drink – luckily China has been more than generous in both accounts. In China though, it’s a bit different than what I’m use to. I don’t think Ive ever drank so much in a restaurant before China.
The Restaurant Party
Get about four or more of your closest friends and get a private room in basically any restaurant. Most local restaurants have a small room in the back or upstairs. It feels VIP but it’s really not. It does not need to be a fancy restaurant at all. Any restaurant will do.
Order double the amount of food you could possibly eat. Like most meals in China, it’s to be shared and divided amongst the table. Prepare to eat an overwhelming amount of food that is incredibly delicious. Even when you think you’re done, the waitress may come with even more food that will be on the house because you’ve ordered so much. The weight gain will be worth it.
Order triple the amount of beers you could possibly drink. This means having a huge stack of beers on the floor ready to be opened and another three beers for each person already open on the table. Most of the beers will be warm but for some reason, that doesn’t bother anyone. Be warned that the Chinese drink fast. Instead of drinking out of the bottle, you could be drinking out of tiny plastic cups (you’ll be refilling them a thousand times). Remember to cheer glasses/cups often!
Talk and hang out for hours in the restaurant. Eventually you’ll forget you’re even in a restaurant at all. It feels comfortable. There’s food, beer, and friends all around – can’t really complain. It’s the life.
If you’re not a smoker, you will be tonight (especially if you’re a male). It’s extremely difficult to convince the group that you really don’t want the cigarette but everyone will insist and demand you have one. To not feel rude, there will be times you will need to accept. Taxi drivers especially love to offer cigarettes. When drinking is involved, the Chinese love to chain smoke at the restaurant – beware if you’re not a smoker and can’t stand it.
After you’re done eating, this will be a good time to start playing the dice game. If you don’t know how to play, you’ll be forced to learn. Rock Paper Scissors is another popular drinking game. Drink till you’re oblivious and roam the streets afterwards. The tab is usually picked up by only one person. You may end up at a KTV after.
What I just described to you above can happen at any time from noon to midnight. It’s a very common and inexpensive night out. When you come to China, pay attention and look into the windows of local restaurants – you’ll see exactly what I described above.
I love this tradition and have had many long nights in several restaurants. This might be one of the biggest things I’ll miss about China – those nights in the restaurant just talking, drinking, and eating with new and close friends.