I wasn’t kidding when I wrote a few weeks ago that I’ve been eating my way through Europe. I’m what you might call a snacker and not good at long, drawn-out eating marathons. More of an eat-on-the-go kind of person, what with my short attention span applying to my appetite as well as everything else.
However, when I’m on the road, especially with days where I’m walking around for 8, 9 hours straight, I can pretty much eat nonstop. I feel like I can eat for four people. So when a reader asked yesterday for photos of food, I thought today might be a good day to show you one of my favorite Belgian dining experiences at Chez Chen. Ya, it’s Chinese, it’s waterfront,
and it’s in the town of Wépion that’s mostly famous for its strawberries. There’s even a strawberry museum here. I’ve not tried their strawberry beer though.
Anyway, I decide to clean up in my Chanel dress and bag (er, sorry to name drop but this is still a part-time fashion blog!) for this particular dinner, which begins innocuously enough just past 7pm with one apéritif (something Russian and fruity)…
OK, maybe two…this is a Pisang with fresh squeezed OJ:
Thank goodness the amuse-bouche comes quickly because the alcohol is already making me silly. I believe, from left to right, it includes: a seafood roll, pumpkin soup, and some kind of aubergine sauté. Which should I try first?
The fish spoon is too cute, so eggplant it is:
Then the first course starts with slightly seared scallops over a beansprout salad blended perfectly with a rice wine vinaigrette. Heck, it might have been something else but after more alcohol this is what my head thinks it is! God, the scallops are fantastic!
Next is shrimp wonton soup.
And yes, that’s an asparagus spear through the shrimp ball just to be different. MIAMMM. I die just thinking about it again.
Third–and my fingers tremble as I type this now–is a plate of heavenly yumminess. That’s seared shrimp dumpling, and the batter-dipped concoction in the shotglass is melt-in-your-mouth lotus root:
Earlier they had brought out a live lobster for our approval. So the fourth course is that poor sucker…mine, mine, mine!
Two hours and fifty minutes after I first sit down, the fifth course arrives and it’s fish in a tangy sauce, accompanied by stir-fried noodles. Nothing out of the ordinary except that the fish is cooked perfectly, its texture pure delight:
So at this point my eyes have rolled to the back of my head, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing i have a knit dress on that will stretch with my growing belly. But we’re not done yet! Course number 6 comes out. It’s fish and vegetables in a plum sauce inside a fried wonton bowl, complemented by fried rice. The chef has accommodated my no-meat request which explains the all-seafood bash.
I sortof want to die at this point. I’m so full. Bloated beyond recognition. I wonder what’s for dessert.
Finally I choose banana flambe (quite heavy on the rum, too, I might add), but it’s now well past 11pm so I forget to take a pic. Plus the bananas are anti-climactic in their presentation; the chef is probably too sleepy by now to wow me. I’m lucky if we get out of here by midnight, especially since I have a wake-up call at 4am for my next flight out.
What did I say earlier about not being one for marathon dinners? I take it all back. I can learn to eat like this. Just have to wear more knit clothes.