Anniversary dinner of the People’s Republic of China
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - October 25, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — It was a privilege and honor to be included in the guest list in the celebration of the 70th Founding Anniversary of the PROC at the Marco Polo Plaza. Consul General Jia Li of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu, representing the country with the second largest economy in the world, stood tall to host the National Day Reception andwelcomed guests to formal banquet.

It was a buffet dinner with an international array of dishes in six food stations: Salad, Soup, Roast Meats, Whole Tuna (Sashimi & Maki Roll), Main Dishes and Dessert. Salads were Waldorf Salad (fruits and nuts), Nicoise Salad with Quail Egg (tomatoes, Nicoise olives & anchovies) and Smoked Chicken Pasta with Cheddar.

Soup was Pork Ribs in Herbal Soup (Bak Kut Teh), popular in Malaysia and Singapore. The soup had pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of spices and herbs. It was paired with a strong tea, like Oolong, and youtiao, a kind of twisted fried bread like our “siakoy.”

Wine was served and I was surprised on the wine selected, Baron Philippe de Rothschild-Vins de Bordeaux Mouton Cadet Festival de Cannes 70 ème Anniversaire. This was the same wine exclusively produced for the Cannes Film Festival for its 70th anniversary in 2017. Coincidence?

While savoring the drink, I remembered a quote attributed to Deng Xiaoping: “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” He was the advocate of the idea that ‘combined socialist ideology with free enterprise’ and opened China to foreign investment and the global market. This socialist market economy had raised the standard of living of, excuse me, 770 million poor people.

The Roast Food Station at the anniversary banquet had two entries – Cebu Lechon and USDA Roast Beef with Red Wine Sauce. (Lechon is a requisite for celebrations in Cebu while roast beef is served at dinners of the elite.) A whole Tuna was prepared for the Sashimi and Maki Roll Station, and Tuna together with the roasts were the most popular dishes.

The Main Dishes Station served Baked Macaroni with Ham & Cheese, Steamed Fish Hong Kong Style, Chicken Cordon Bleu with Garlic Mayonnaise, BBQ Pork Ribs with Chipotle BBQ Sauce (smoked jalapeño pepper) and Beef Coq Au Vin with Shallots. (Coq au vin is a French chicken dish but the Marco Polo Chefs substituted beef for the chicken, and it was delicious.)

Desserts at the conclusion of the formal dinner were Fresh Fruits Platters, Mango Cheese Cake, Chilled Almond with Pomegranate & Pink Guava, and Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream. I ate a slice of the lava cake and remembered a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte: “When China wakes up, the world will shake.” China now has 5G cellular technology, high-speed rail and propagating the single bulb garlic. China is indeed wide awake!

GENERAL JIA LI MARCO POLO PLAZA.
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