I hate Chinese wedding banquets.
Sitting with nine other strangers who are poor conversationalists for a long-drawn multi-course meal is no fun.
Meeting relatives you’d rather avoid is no fun.
Seeing that once-sexy cousin who was the wet dream of every boy in the family looking like a cow now is no fun.
Why do most lithe, slim women all reach bovine proportions eventually?
But life’s not all about fun is it?
Sometimes it’s about obligations.
Recently I felt obliged to attend a wedding banquet because the person getting married was not only my cousin; she was my flower girl when I myself got married in 1984.
The banquet was held at the Shang, and here’s the menu:
Vegetarian Cold Cuts Combination
Double-boiled Flower Mushrooms, King Mushrooms and Bird’s Nest with Gingko Nuts
Mock Suckling Pig served with Egg Crepes
Sautéed Hedgehog Hydnum Mushroom with Mock Chicken and Dried Chilli
Braised Duet Special Beancurd with Sweet and Sour Mock Pork
Braised Vegetarian Abalone with Black Mushrooms on Kai Lan
Braised Noodles with Deluxe Lo Han
Double-boiled Papaya with Bird’s Nest
Yes, you would have noticed by now that it was a vegetarian meal.
I heard each table cost S$1400/-.
But quite a few guests were clearly unhappy with the rather sub-standard food.
I heard the chef even came out to apologize.
But beyond all that, the vegetarian wedding banquet raised a few questions:
Question one: If you are a vegetarian aren’t you defeating the purpose by having “mock” dishes?
This reminded me of a young woman who once told me “I won’t have sex with you because I’m married but we can do dry humping or outercourse.” (Ok, call me crude, but bacteria’s the only culture I have.)
Question two: If you are a vegetarian what gives you the right to impose your diet on a ballroom full of your wedding guests?
Question three: Since you are serving Mock Suckling Pig and Mock Chicken and Mock Sweet and Sour Pork is it ok if I give you a Mock ang pow?