China: Meal Invitations

In which I get invited to a lot of meals

It’s no secret that the Chinese love their food. I’ve posted on here enough times about the joys of food in Xiamen, Xi’an and Beijing. However the stand out greatest food that I’ve had have not been the meals that I’ve found myself, it’s the meals that I’ve been invited to, to say hello, thanks or goodbye. It was such a privilege at these meals to have had an invitation to come, or to be the reason that they cooked a meal in the first place.

Chinese girl and teacher

This was me way back in Feb 2012!

It happened a few times way, way back when I was living in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. I was invited out for a meal the day before I was due to leave the city, by the mother of a 4 year old girl I had been teaching for those 6 months. Cherry was the cutest little girl and we had a lot of fun in lessons and I know that she missed me.

This was also apparent when I left Zhangzhou. Invitations to meals came left, right and centre and I was so overwhelmed by the generosity of the people that I had known there.


Firstly, Summer, my Sales and Marketing manager, invited me out for a fish lunch with her boyfriend:

Then, to finish my time as manager for the school, I went out for a meal with all my colleagues together at a local hotpot restaurant.

Chinese hotpot

Hotpot and jiang – a winning combination!

This was a really fun restaurant, as the food came around in boats that went on a loop into the kitchen! food boat

So fun. It was great to bring my colleagues altogether and say goodbye.

There were also little bottles which came around where you could write wishes in.

wish bottle

The pots in the background are what all the food was in

There were some rude Chinese ones apparently, but I wrote a wish on there and sent it on one of the boats. (I won’t tell you what I wrote otherwise it won’t come true!)


Many of the students invited me to meals before I left. I held one with my adult students (in the same restaurant as I had my colleague’s meal as it was delicious!)

Chinese adult students

Round the table (l): Keren, moi, Linda, Shirley, Ted, Jenny

I was also invited out to a meal with my A1 class – which were the lowest English- level adult class. There was so much food I couldn’t believe it:

Adult students Zhangzhou

So much food!

George organised it all, ordering the food, making sure that everyone turned up and brought the wine (which made Paul and I sleepy for our Sunday afternoon classes!)

George - Chinese student

George – an awesome guy who was fun in class!

It was then time to have photographs with my female students too, as George had to leave for a business meeting (which he was going to be late for because he wanted to spend time with me!!) Jason, Karen (school cashier’s son) was elected as the photographer:

Jason - an awesome and uber cute child! LOVE HIM!

Jason – an awesome and uber cute child! LOVE HIM!

And the results of those photographs (remembering he’s pretty short!):


So many meals with friends. Darren was a huge culprit:

So were Jim, Aila and Jona from Muse bar:

They surprised me with a farewell meal!

They surprised me with a farewell meal!

And finally Fay and Kimberly. They invited myself and Paul to Fay’s house where we were treated to many delicious dishes:

Fay and Kimberly's food

Yummy, yummy, yummy – get in my tummy!

Fay’s father works in tea, so we had lots to sample, although he did “gan bei” (down it!) with Paul and myself with beer over the meal as well:

gan bei

“Ganbéi!” (means down it, in Chinese)

The girls were fantastic, making my favourite meal of “yu xiang qie zi” (eggplant with meat), as well as other delicious dishes:

Being invited to meals was a great honour. I was so grateful to everyone who treated me to, made me, or joined me for a meal. My friends, students and colleagues in Zhangzhou were absolute stars and I miss them even now.

Which meal do you think looks the most delicious here?

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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  1. Sweetie, you must be really missing Chinese food when in New Zealand. Let’s face it – sliced potatoes, Guilin noodles and baozi rock!!! 🙂

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    • You hit the nail on some very tasty dishes right there Agness… I’m very hungry now!!

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