Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Night Singalong


I just came back from my first Beijing KTV experience.

And it was quite posh... well sort of.

Near our office on the Fourth Ring Road is a spanking new building called Party World. Once you walk into the lobby it feels like a wannabe four-star hotel, with crystal chandeliers (complete with green trim), a reception desk with glittering tiles on the back wall, leather sofas, marble floors and uniformed staff.

After we "checked-in", we were escorted to the elevator to the fifth floor where our room was for the evening. And almost immediately, most of the group went either to the third or sixth floor to get food cafeteria style (all you can eat), while a few of us stayed behind and warmed up our vocal chords.

Each room has leather sofas, marble tables, a mini stage in the corner with padded leather and three microphones. There's also a private washroom next to your room (complete with urinal and sit-down toilet), and all these controls to either call wait staff or dim the lights. If you wander outside, you can easily get lost in the maze of rooms if you don't remember your room number.

Almost every song imaginable is available on the computer, from Japanese to English, Korean and of course Chinese. It's hard to think of something to sing when you're used to flipping through a song book. But it's neat to see many versions of a tune available and pick the one you're most familiar with.

I then wandered to the sixth floor and was horrified by what I saw. The buffet was basically a free-for-all, and most of the Chinese men were butting in front of me to grab a spoonful of curry or pasta even though I was there first.

There were also food stations and I stood there watching a woman fry eggs when a man came by and demanded, "Are they done yet?" She quickly put the half done over-easy eggs on his plate before he could complain.

What was most frightening was the noodle section. You could choose which raw ingredients you wanted with a selection of noodles in a broth. I was about to order when I watched the female staff put the raw ingredients, like fish balls, meat and noodles in the bowl before transferring them into the individualized hoppers in a boiling vat of stock.

Then when it was ready, she used the SAME bowl to put the cooked food in and handed it to the customer. I was so shocked I lost my appetite and only had a bowl of Chinese-style Russian Borscht and fried rice.

So what looks good on the outside, is not necessarily the same on the inside.

1 comment:

ks said...

yes the chinese should be more knowledgeable on cleanliness. that is why years ago there was an epidemic of hepatitis when eating clams. also every now and then you hear out breaks of food poisong involving a whole factory or school. they really have to learn public hygiene.