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Foods and Culinary Utensils of the Ancients

Illustration A Chinese restaurant


In

the one public room, the traveler perforce mingles with cattle drovers and muleteers, but the private apartments are fairly comfortable.

The stables are usually attached to the building, with large compounds for sheep or cattle. Some of the larger establishments boast separate quadrangle stables, while some of the smaller have none at all, the animals being hitched to troughs or racks in the centre of the quadrangle.

[Illustration: A Chinese restaurant.]

The beds (_cangues_) are shaped like furnaces. The occupant, protected by a thick coverlet, reclines on the top of a stratum of chunam or asphalt, with an opening similar to the door of a furnace, in one of the perpendicular sides, by means of which a small fire is in cold weather built directly beneath the bed.

The poorer travelers sleep in the public hall.

In some cities are khans which act as depots for the goods of traveling merchants, who are boarded and lodged without charge until they have disposed of their stock, the landlord then receiving a small percentage of the sales.

The proprietor of a public inn is compelled to furnish the authorities each month with a list of the persons whom he has lodged or fed, and women are not received at all in the public hotels in the South.

The

restaurants in the cities are often quite large, running to two and three stories in height.

On the ground floor is the kitchen. On the first floor at the head of the first staircase is the public dining room where a good cheap meal can be obtained, and on the second and third floors are the private and more select chambers. In each room is a bill of fare.

An ordinary first class restaurant dinner comprises from ten to thirty dishes, and for any special occasion a hundred or more are often served.

Below is the menu of a dinner which, if served to eight or ten persons at a good public city restaurant, would cost about seventy-five cents per head.

Fried Ham Gizzards Grated meat Grilled Dried shrimps Preserved eggs

Four kinds of dried fruits Four kinds of fresh fruits

Fat duck Shark's fins Swallowsnest soup Meats

Salted chicken Shellfish Meats Oysters

Mushroom morels (called "Ears of the Forest"). Rice of Immortals (a species of mushrooms). Tender sprouts of bamboo

Fish Meats

The diners are usually seated at square tables in groups of eight.

Chinese whiskey or wine is served in small double-handled cups, which are constantly replenished by the attendants from vessels resembling silver coffee pots. Pipes of tobacco are also passed around at intervals.

Before eating, the host or most prominent guest pours out a libation. His table companions follow his example and all bow politely to each other.

[Illustration: Chinaman spearing fresh water turtles.]

Pastry is brought on between courses. If salt, a cup of chicken broth; if sweet, almond milk is furnished with it.

No napkins are provided, pieces of coarse brown paper being used in their stead.

The last is a sort of "trial of appetite" course. It consists of large dishes--sometimes eight or ten arranged in pyramid form--and the ever forthcoming refusal to partake of it announces the termination of the meal.


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