Traditional Host Family Dinner by Maggie Pan

Entering a 53-floor high-rise that resembled a five-star hotel, I along with two other students had dinner with Churonley, a Hong Kong Polytechnic University graduate, at her home on the 50th floor. When we arrived at the front door, we left our umbrellas and took off our shoes outside before going inside the apartment. We were welcomed by Churonley’s husband along with their two sons, Isaac and Hector. Their daughter, Chloe, was not there yet since she was still at school. The family lives in a small apartment with a kitchen, combined living and dining room, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. Since Churonley’s husband had to go pick up Chloe from school and the maid was finishing up cooking the rest of the food, we had to put off dinner for a while. Before dinner was ready, we were first served with tea, dumplings dipped in spicy sauce and red vinegar, as well as Asian snacks that included maltose crackers and seaweed.

While waiting for Churonley’s husband and daughter to come back, Churonley took us on a tour around the clubhouse within the apartment tower where there are many facilities accommodating various activities, including lounges, gym, swimming pool, and playrooms. After returning to the flat, we were then served with soup containing many different types of Chinese herbs that are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. When Churonley’s husband and daughter returned home, we got settled for dinner as the maid scooped white rice into everyone’s bowl along with bringing out the food for dinner. The delicious dishes consisted of beef-wrapped mushroom, garlic shrimp, pork-stuffed green peppers and tofu, curry chicken, steamed fish, soy sauce chicken wings, water spinach, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms.

Throughout dinner, Churonley had been a very kind and thoughtful host who constantly filled our bowls with more food as soon as she saw our bowls were almost left with only rice. We continued to eat until our stomachs felt satisfied from the yummy feast. After dinner was finished, Churonley asked the maid to bring out black sesame ball soup and honeydew for dessert.

As the fun day came to an end, Churonley borrowed her daughter’s school books to teach us more about Chinese culture, such as the holidays and history, before we left to go back to our dorm feeling contented.

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