My first evening meal was a hasty one as I had left it till the sun was just setting before walking down the hill. I was planning on walking along the promenade to a restaurant about half a mile away but was startled to find that the promenade and green was covered by thousands of folk all getting ready to sit and have a picnic. They were part of the local Muslim community who had come to the area to watch the sun go down as it was the last day of Ramadan. It unnerved me somewhat as darkness was falling and back home in Somerset 10 people constitute a crowd. I hastily changed plans and retreated back to the main shopping area below my guest house.
The Xiang Yuan Chinese restaurant seemed the busiest out of the four of five in a row so this was the chosen meal for the evening. Tucked into a bank of shops the place is unassuming as restaurants go. An open frontage and outside seating give smokers the opportunity to eat and smoke at the same time; a choice long gone in the UK. Sushi seems to be the national dish over here, nearly every restaurant I see has some form of sushi on offer and although this looked to be a down home Chinese restaurant with only 30 or less seats, there was the sushi bar at the back with the chef busily creating his wares. The menu was handed to me by a pleasant and attentive young Asian lady who explained the menu and what was on offer. There was regular Chinese, more authentic Chinese, (chicken feet anyone?) dim sum and of course the sushi. I love dim sum and I love sushi so a combination of dishes was ordered........in hindsight it was too much: Steamed roast pork buns, a crispy rice cake, steamed pork won tons and prawn California roll. The meal was rapidly devoured with my waitress returning to the table to check I was enjoying everything.
I guess the standard of service was good enough to warrant a 15% tip which is what was automatically put on my bill; however I am sure all will agree that we would prefer to make our own decisions about what to tip and not be told! Shame as it leaves a downbeat memory to what was otherwise a pretty good meal which in these times where the customer is King could be risky.