It has taken me nearly a week to get over it!
Despite my protestations last weekend that I was going to batten down the hatches and hide away until Children’s Day was several days over, I got a call and an invite to dinner with a very dear friend. It was too late to suggest I cook instead, so I half reluctantly dragged myself out.
We decided to visit a newish place I had spotted a week or so before. When we arrived it was packed to the gunnels, but we held out for a table. They found one. Literally. A table. I don’t mean a table was vacated. They literally went out and came back with a table which they set up in a corner.
So, we laid claim and requested a menu. This was huge. Really huge. Page after page of dishes. But we knew why we had come.
The restaurant is called 北海渔家风味 which translates as “Beihai Fishing Family Flavour”.
Beihai, for those who don’t know, is a coastal city in the south of Guangxi on the Tonkin Gulf, near the Vietnamese border. About six hours by bus from Liuzhou. It is a popular tourist destination (especially its Silver Beach) and is also the source of most of the seafood served in Guangxi’s restaurants, markets and supermarkets.
About ten years ago, there were a lot of seafood restaurants in Liuzhou, but most disappeared. I have no idea why. Seafood remained (and remains) still available in Cantonese restaurants at very silly prices, so it is a welcome change to find this relative newcomer, a down to earth place with great seafood at sensible prices. The restaurant is on two floors. They have a huge menu with all sorts of dishes, but what you really want to do is grab a table, then head back outside. To the left of the main entrance (as you face the entrance) is the real menu. Tanks full of seafood and other goodies. One of the wait staff should have followed you out and you make your order by pointing.
Among the many delights on offer were:
By the time, we got back, it had been deemed that the procured table was too dangerous, but fortunately a regular table had been vacated and we moved there. I was pondering the potential danger of tables, when a horde of screaming kids ran past us bumping into tables and sending waters carrying hot food spinning. The brats’ parents sat ignoring the chaos around them.
I sat and tucked in, trying to avoid barbecuing the next kid who screamed in my ear, and straining to hear what my companion was saying. After a while there was one of those odd seconds of silence in the middle of the mayhem and I finally realised that she was telling me that if another kid screamed in her ear she was going to barbecue it, then force feed it to its parents. My companion was Chinese, so it seems it isn’t just unreasonable western conceit to think that parents should control their children in restaurants.
Finally the selfish morons left and we finished out meal in relative peace. In fact, we were the last to leave. Stuffed but happy. The meal (enough to feed two greedy people like us) cost a mere ¥100 (including beers), although, of course, you could spend much more. We didn’t go for the most expensive but neither did we go for the cheapest. We went for what we like!
The restaurant is at the southern end of Bayi Road (八一路), just to the north of that huge building site on the north side of the People’s Square. Thoroughly recommended.