Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Different Chinese Invasion...

Today I was all excited to write a post about the Chinese in Angola that had nothing to do with shady government contracts, building stadiums and providing cheap goods. Then I came across this slideshow on the BBC website that I thought I should post. (There's even a Benguela railroad pic in there!) So post is not entirely different from all the others.

HOWEVER, yesterday I had the most exciting China-in-Angola experience to date: I ate in Benguela's first Chinese restaurant! Bernie, the new Fellow, and I went to Benguela for a partner meeting. We ran into Nancy the English teacher who confirmed that the restaurant was finally opened.

It was completely deserted when we walked in, but they were indeed open. It is one of the nicer restaurants I've been in in Angola (not hard considering that most restaurants in Lobito are open-air and on the beach, meaning lots of sand and cats running around), at least in terms of decor. The employees were both Chinese and Angolan and Chinese music was playing in the background.

We were both excited to see rice noodles on the menu, since that is a luxury not found outside the Chinese worker camps. When we ordered, the waiter asked if we really wanted to order the same dish, "You see," he explained, "You're not supposed to order Chinese food like that." We former-NYC residents and frequent visitors to Chinatown were miffed by that remark.

The simple noodles took over 45 minutes to arrive, but they weren't bad. I'd put them on the same level as a local Chinese take-out joint in Washington Heights. For Angola, it's great but mainly because it's our only option.

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