Wanshang hao Comrades! (an evening at East is Red restaurant)
I heard about this interesting restaurant in Beijing that offers a taste of China’s revolutionary past and definitely wanted to check it out, so with help from my trusty event assistant manager, Renee, I organised an evening to travel out to the Fifth Ring Road with twelve other comrades each of us wearing obligatory Chairman Mao caps.
One of our comrades tried not to toe the Party line and removed her cap…but as Chairman Mao would say ‘ be unto your Comrade like a warm spring day’ – (clearly this does not fit this situation but it’s all I could find) so a quick reprimand and the cap was back on!!
The decor is very revolutionary in fact over the top Maoist. Slogans, revolutionary posters, old newspapers from the cultural revolution period, red flags and very large pictures of the Chairman.
We all expected the food to be basic but were in for a wonderful surprise. The food was delicious, ordered by Renee as the menu is completely in Chinese characters.
Fish, eggplant, prawns, beef, tofu; all eaten with red French wine and local beer and served by waitresses in pigtails tied with red bows wearing workers suits.
There is a minimum table cost of 900 RMB but with seven of us on each table we did not find that to be a problem.
The revolutionary era song and dance performance started around 7.30pm and old anthems and cultural revolution songs were sung with gusto both from the staff and the Chinese restaurant patrons. Us Aussies tried our best but none of us recalled any of the songs being on the top 40 so had limited input. One of our party strongly believes that a couple of the more peppy songs will make international hits – I am still to be sold on that one!! Prior to the performance each of us was given a red flag to wave which we did with gusto.
A special part of the evening was from my comrades who organised for the staff, and joined by restaurant patrons, to sing me a birthday song ; twice in English and twice in Chinese . Now this was very much a surprise because my birhday is not for another three months [but I think my comrades knew this – thank you my friends]. So I blew out my candles, ate my longevity noodles and smiled a lot. At the end I stood up and bowed and thanked everyone in Chinese; of course the elderly Chinese patrons thought this was ‘amazing’ and I received a rapturous round of applause. Thanks comrades!!
You need to book for this restaurant and it’s worth going with a big group; lots of laughs; good food and great memories.
And finally another quote from Chairman Mao ‘A revolution is not a dinner party’ …