Please forgive me while I take a trip down memory lane. Last night I was talking to my friend Joan, who still lives in Hangzhou and works at Zhejiang University of Technology. She’s a former Princeton-in-Asia fellow who decided to stay and make her life in China.
Last night, Joan had some devastating news. Our favorite neighborhood restaurant — nicknamed “the Standby” — closed. I can’t tell you how many delightful meals I ate at the Standby in one year in Hangzhou. I have so many memories of dinner at the standby with the other foreign teachers — laughing about our students, whining about our crappy love lives, daring each other to drink the “snake jiu” (an alcoholic beverage with a preserved snake inside), desperately trying to get the attention of one of the waitresses, who was usually looking in the exact opposite direction of our table any time we needed anything.
Here’s Joan’s standby “obituary”:
I am writing with some bad news – – “The Standby” restaurant has closed it’s doors. As most of you know, this restaurant has served as my favorite source of delicious meals for over 5 years – through thick and thin – SARS -great reunions – visiting friends – lots of laughing – many wonderful PiA-ers, free dishes from the owner (Man Man Chi)- the hard-working waitresses who always treated me like a special friend – the memories are sweet and savory. Even the tables full of smokers seem appealing today.Lazi Ji, Suanmiao Liji, Danhua Nangua, Tieban Niuliu, Suanni Bocai, ShuizhuRoupian – ah – I will miss all of these. Those of you who have spent time with me here will understand the depth of my sadness. It is a great loss for me and all fine dining fans in Zhaohui Liuqu! I’ve attached a couple photos – one taken today and one from a special lunchon a snowy day last year. A final toast to great food in an environment that only enhanced the