Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Fun Ti.

Keep in mind to visit the "A Fun Ti" restaurant when in Beijing. If within a few weeks of your stay you get tired of trying most of the cuisine available in the city, and have started thinking about going to one of the American chains, you definitely need to go there. Postpone that visit to TGI Fridays as much as you can because you will regret it as soon as you sit down to order something! Yes, the food in American chain restaurants is as bad as back home.

A fun Ti serves food from the Xinjiang province which is predominantly Uyghur. Uyghur are a Turkic nation that live in a number of Middle Asian countries. Their cuisine is very similar to our cuisine - it's got a lot of kebabs. And since it's in China, the pieces are cut small so that you can eat with chopsticks. Basically, it's the best of both worlds.

The beer is served in giant glasses that look more like an alchemists chemistry set. They have a wide mouth, narrow neck and a large round bottom. So when you have drunk the beer in the neck, a large gulp of beer then descends towards you from the bottom of the glass. You have to be ready for it. After the third glass you'll be a pro!

Then there is the entertainment portion. The Uyghurs look very much like the Armenians. The music is similar, and you can even understand what they are singing about. Surprisingly, an Indian friend of mine could understand them as well. (UPDATE 10302007: After watching some of the videos I now don't think they look like Armenians. I guess I had been in China for too long that's why they looked like us).

It's an interactive experience. The dancers come down to the audience and engage them in their dances. There's a lady with a snake that she wraps around the necks of Western guests. There are games on the stage with the diners, and they teach them to dance Uyghur style. An Armenian learns these moves much quicker than say a Canadian. But obviously at that point nobody cares (It's probably after the 5-th pint). There is even Chinese acrobatics.

After the entertainment part is done, and the audience starts to leave, some of the tables are cleared and dance music is turned on. At that point you will be done with your 7-th beer so jump up on the table and enjoy the dance.

After all is done, you'll need to get a cab to your place. The cab ride will not be as scary as usual.

I guess the morale of the story is that the Armenians and the Turkic nations are culturally similar. The physical appearances, cuisine and language definitely are.

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