Tag Archives: food

International Food Fair at BISS

Last week was International Week at BISS.  There are 47 different Countries represented at BISS (2000 students) and each year they spend a week specifically focused on these Countries.  The children are invited to share traditions, culture, clothing (national dress), customs and food.

Friday was the International Food Fair.  Owen had been part of the UK committee planning the British representation.  They decided on an 80’s music theme with retro party food.  The team of 8 spent the last 6 weeks planning everything down to the last detail and then making the “set”, organizing the dress code, selecting and cooking for the big day.

The British International Food Fair Committee

As you can see, the team looked FABULOUS!  They went off to various markets (there are markets for EVERYTHING in China) and found the material for the dresses, shirts and waistcoats.  They were all made within a week!  Off to another market (hotel market) to buy dishes for pennies!  Yet another market for the flags – yes, there is a flag market. The commodities market supplied headbands, (Oliver’s party bags) and other bits and bobs and also the stationary market for paper and cardboard.

Owen and John spent many hours creating the big records and building the shelving.  The couple of days before the big event was a flurry of cooking to get everything ready.  Marks and Spencer and Tesco both sponsored the event by providing food and drink – incredibly generous of them!  They were recognized with their logos on records!

Table 1 – “United”

Table 2 – “Kingdom”

The menu included: cheese and pineapple, iced gems, sausage rolls, yorkshire pudding with roast beef, scones with jam and cream, jam tarts, sausages, cheese and onion puffs and crisps.  Food colouring provided the red, white and blue lemonade!

“British” lemonade – the kids loved this!

John & Owen

Each class in each year came through and visited all the tables.  They were all dressed in clothes representing their Country and Isabelle and Oliver were so excited about this!  They both thought that the British stand was the best by far (they had to say that, of course!!)  but they also enjoyed Peru and New Zealand (they just served ice cream!).  Owen thought India was the 2nd best – after UK!

Isabelle visiting Daddy at the British stand

Oliver visiting Daddy at the British Stand

The Headmaster was most impressed when he came round.  Apparently, the British display was not very good last year with several other Countries putting on a far better show.  Not the case this year!

Great food from India!


Ice Cream from New Zealand




Hong Kong



The Danish team (there are only 2 Danish families at BISS, so this was a 100% effort!)


South America – Colombia, Peru, Chile


Stetsons and denim from America



Isabelle and Oliver thought it was a brilliant day – non stop food!  Owen served nearly 2000 kids and was exhausted at the end of the day, but said it was a great day and a really well organized event all round.

Showing off the Tesco record for the Tesco Executive who came to check it out!

Chinglish Lunch

Today I went to lunch with a group from the office.  We went to a local Chinese restaurant and had a delicious meal.  I love the Chinese way of ordering lots of different dishes and then everyone tries a little of everything.  It is also nice to go with locals who order food that I would never think to order and most of the time, it is yummy!  I had to laugh at the translation on the menu for many of the dishes.  I don’t know what the staff thought I was doing when I asked to keep the menu so I could take photos!

Every restaurant in China has a food safety certificate prominently displayed.  I think that yellow is ok to eat!  No funny tummy so far……

A yellow neutral face for food safety today

There were 7 of us for lunch and everyone ordered a couple of dishes each.  I chose a spicy fish option, because my first choice had already been ordered:

Explosion Lamb! It was fantastic.

Pork Grandmother (the translation means “homestyle” cooked). Again, it was delicious.

This cauliflower dish was perfectly cooked with a fabulous combination of flavours. Unfortunately, none of my friends knew the English for the “green stuff” so I don’t know what it was cooked with. It was definitely not mustard!

The rest of the photos here are of dish names on the menu that made me laugh, but that I did not try.  I will be going back, so I will be sampling some of these in the future.

So many on this page alone: Moo Meat; Braised Stroke; Chicken Black Fungus; Rich Beef; Cowboy Cake Ring; Chicken, blinds results.

Grilled Husband Sixi. Perhaps all the scorned women of China get together for a special type of “divorce”.

I love soybeans (edamame), but I had no idea that I just been eating the good ones up until now. I can’t wait to try the naughty ones next time!

3 yellow chicken

How many versions of yellow can there be? And, this poor chicken has 3 versions……..

Old Chicken Pot. This poor chicken looks like he just gave up the struggle to live. Chicken in China is more often than not served like this (head and feet). It is also the same when you are buying it. The feet are a delicacy and are most often served deep fried.

Chicken Feet

Chinese Cooking and cooking, kids style

One of the ECA’s (Extra Curricular Activity) that Isabelle is doing at school is Chinese Cooking (the other is Arts and Crafts).  One of her first classes was making Chinese dumplings and they were delicious.  She has also made vegetable fried rice, sticky chicken wings and sticky red bean dumplings.  We have all liked everything so far, except for the red bean dumplings.

Last weekend our Ayi, Angela, was babysitting.  (Owen was in the UK collecting his medication and I was going to a 40th birthday party.)  I came downstairs from getting ready to find Angela and Isabelle hard at work making more delicious dumplings.  Angela was showing Isabelle different ways of filling and making them.  Oliver and I were lucky enough to taste them for lunch on Sunday!  There are a couple of different ways to cook them – you can either steam them or fry them.  I like them fried best and so that is how we ate them.  Surprisingly, even when frying you use at least 1 cup of water to steam them at the same time.  When I read the instructions, I thought that something must have been translated wrong, but as you can see from the photo, they looked (and tasted) perfect!

Isabelle's yummy dumplings!

Isabelle’s yummy dumplings!

On Thursday October 18th, Oliver had a school trip to a Pizza place.  They were learning about cooking too, so all the children got to make their own pizza’s and bring them home for dinner.  Oliver had used many different toppings which were all artfully arranged.  It was delicious too!

That evening, he also wanted to help with dinner.  He put his pizza apron and hat on so he could help Daddy:

Carefully pour the milk in.

Carefully pour the milk in.

Stir well (closely supervised by Daddy!)

Stir well (closely supervised by Daddy!)



Last week, Isabelle’s Literacy homework was a practical task to prove that she could follow instructions.  She had to pick a recipe or craft activity, make it and take it into school.  She choose to make Marshmallows following Owen’s trusted (secret) recipe!  She has previously successfully made them and shared with her school friends in the UK.  She followed the instructions to the letter and they turned out beautifully:

Marshmallow Queen

Marshmallow Queen

Not to be outdone by his own daughter, Owen had booked a Chinese dumpling cooking class to learn how to make them too.  Yesterday was lesson day!  He went with 1 of the Dad’s and 2 of the Mum’s – he said that the guys performed way better than the girls!  They all had a fun time too.  Even though we are yet to taste them, they look very professional:

Owen's beautifully created dumplings.

Owen’s beautifully created dumplings.

They look so professional

They look so professional

Another August Birthday – Sunday Brunch at Westin, Shanghai

The end of August is my birthday.  Not a major number for a party, but another year is always a good excuse to have a bit of a celebration!  As the Sunday Brunch scene is so popular and so good in Shanghai, we booked a table at the number 1 rated spot – the Westin.  Not only was the food excellent, but the entertainment made this a real experience.

Family by the beautiful glass sculpture in the Westin Lobby

Brunch is set up in the main lobby level.  We had an excellent table with a great view of the balcony where an orchestra serenaded us before a couple of opera singers joined them.  After this musical delight, there were some Chinese drummers, followed by an acrobatic/gymnastic display and then a tango dance performance.  All throughout lunch, a Clown wandered around the tables making balloon animals.

Glass Centerpiece and Orchestra on Balcony

Glass Centerpiece and Orchestra on Balcony

The gymnastic display

The gymnastic/acrobatic display

More entertainment - the Clown made Isabelle a balloon heart

More entertainment – the Clown made Isabelle a balloon heart

We didn’t find out until half way through our Brunch that the Westin offers a Kids Club.  We checked it out after our Brunch and it looked like fun if you wanted to drop your kids off for more of an adult experience (especially good if there is a large group).  This clown was visiting all the tables with kids and making balloon sculptures.  Isabelle got a heart with a teddy bear and Oliver got a sword.  Even Owen got into the action:

No words needed!

No words needed!

Oliver got a sword

Oliver got a sword

There are food stations galore – lobster, crab, steak, salad, caviar, oysters, pasta, carvery meats, sushi.  The cuisine is from all around the world and is all delicious.  It all comes with free flowing Veuve Clicquot Champagne.  The cocktail options are also very varied – I particularly liked the Bloody Mary bar – pour your own vodka and then mix with whatever you fancy!  I stuck with the Champagne – it was my birthday!   The dessert options are out of this world with a chocolate lovers paradise, crepe station, many unusual flavoured ice cream, sorbet and gelato, plus the chef’s creations of the day.

Our reservation was for 12 noon and we did not leave until after 3.00pm.  The kids were not bored and I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday treat.  We will definitely be back here again!

Just 1 of the Dessert Stations (ice cream, sorbets and specialities)

Just 1 of the Dessert Stations (ice cream, sorbets and specialities)

The Crepe Station

The Crepe Station

A beautiful display of fruit

A beautiful display of fruit

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate :-)

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate 🙂

My 2 gorgeous children and me.

My 2 gorgeous children and me.

Getting a smackeroo from my lovely little boy!

Getting a smackeroo from my lovely little boy!

Silly faces from my lovely little girl

Silly faces from my lovely little girl

A perfect day out.  :-)

A perfect day out. 🙂

Sunday Brunch at Shangri-La

The Sunday before we were to be separated for the summer, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch at another popular spot in Shanghai – the Yi Cafe at the Shangri-La hotel on the Bund.

What a treat!  10 different food stations with open kitchens, chocolate fountains, noodles and sashimi in a rainbow of colours.  Flavours from all over the world that is all freshly prepared and in many cases you can see them cooking in front of you.   We had a great table by the sushi station – the only thing separating us was a huge fish tank filled with colourful tropical fish and of course, the kids thought that was great!

This is one of the few places in Shanghai that serves Mexican, so it was a real treat to see a chef from Mexico City that made fresh, yummy guacamole.   Isabelle thought it was yummy and went back for 2nd’s of that!  There was also a fabulous Indian station with an authentic tandoor oven, fresh naan and chicken tikka.  Both kids loved the noodles that were being made by hand in front of our eyes and in the blink of an eye – what a skill to be able to do that at lightening speed!

The food was fantastic, the service was fantastic and the whole experience was fantastic!  It was great to have attentive servers that ensured our glasses were always full, without being intrusive.  They all spoke excellent English and made a fuss over the kids – a guarantee of a tip!

Saving the best for last – the Dessert Station was AWESOME!  All of us were over-whelmed with the choice, but had to go back for 2nd’s here.  At the end of the meal, Owen filled little boxes with sweeties at the candy station.  There was a lady hand-making marzipan figures – again, another skill.  The only down side here was the amount of people being so greedy and filling so many boxes with the free candy.

This is one place that we will be returning to.  A 3 hour brunch experience that we all enjoyed.

Fab table by the Fish Tank!

Fab table by the Fish Tank!

All of the beautiful coloured noodles are made by hand......

All of the beautiful coloured noodles are made by hand……

The Tandoor Oven in the Indian Section

The Tandoor Oven in the Indian Section

One side of the the Seafood Station

One side of the the Seafood Station

Another view of the Seafood Station

Another view of the Seafood Station

The kids were mesmerized by the dry ice at the Seafood station

The kids were mesmerized by the dry ice at the Seafood station

The Marzipan Lady - wonderful creations.....

The Marzipan Lady – wonderful creations…..

Isabelle & Oliver LOVED the Candy Station!

Isabelle & Oliver LOVED the Candy Station!

Kids (!!) at the Dessert Station!  Chocolate Fountain, here we come.....

Kids (!!) at the Dessert Station! Chocolate Fountain, here we come…..

Chocolate Fountain - milk and white, with marshmallows and fruit to dip with.

Chocolate Fountain – milk and white, with marshmallows and fruit to dip with.

"I can squash your nose, Daddy"

“I can squash your nose, Daddy”

We Love you Daddy - You are the Best!!

We Love you Daddy – You are the Best!!

More interesting shopping

Owen took this photo on a recent shopping trip.  The children’s paddling pool is in the middle of the fish section, filled with fresh fish, turtles and frogs.  The woman sitting next to the pool was catching fish with her bare hands.  Fresh fish for dinner has a different meaning here!

Fish, frog or turtle for dinner?

Fish, frog or turtle for dinner?

Stupid and stupider

A loud scream from the kitchen had me running in to see that Owen needed ice for his hand.  He had been cooking some meat by starting it in the frying pan, then putting it in the oven to finish off.  Of course, it was now back on hob and what do you usually do when you want to move a frying pan?  You pick it up!

I quickly filled the bowl with ice to cool his burning hand down and then take over preparing dinner.  Owen had just finished telling me what he had done with the extremely hot frying pan and handle.  I am thinking that this was a really stupid thing he had done as he had just used the oven glove to take it out of the oven.

He tells me that the meat is ready (his hand is still in the bowl).  What do I do?  I pick up the frying pan and burn MY hand!!!!  What a pair.  Stupid and stupider for sure.  We both spend the evening clutching ice wrapped in kitchen towel and then spraying after-sun lotion to cool our burning palms.  I cannot believe that we both did exactly the same idiotic action – I am even more amazed at my own stupidity after just seeing Owen do it.