Friday, November 12, 2010

Authentic Cuisine and Conversation

Thursday was similar to our first day of business in Shanghai, with an Indiana Business Conference. Governor Daniels was able to make remarks, introducing business and government representatives to our state, followed by some specific meetings in breakout sessions. Agriculture shared the "Business grows here" message, celebrating our commitment and opportunities in the ag sector. There were also messages about Indiana Hardwoods (Dave Bramlage of Cole Hardwoods) and Indiana corn, soybeans, and meat (Mark Henderson Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Corn Growers Association). Questions and discussion included non-tariff trade barriers, investment opportunities, product variety, tax structure and trade issues. We were also able to meet with the Zhejiang Department of Agriculture and the Zhejiang Department of Commerce. An additional meeting to follow up on grocery stores and supply chain discussion was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. We are looking forward to this unexpected chance to explore Chinese systems further.

Thursday night some of us went out to a nearby restaurant, authentic Chinese.  It is clear that Hangzhou has fewer residents that speak English than Shanghai. Needless to say it was an experience ordering our food (we opted to try 5 different dishes) and then know how to properly consume them. The waitress even came over to show us how to prepare one dish, that is similar to a soft taco shell with vegetable and pork inside, all assembly required. Many laughs were had by the delegates, the wait staff, and the other restaurant patrons. We had “Cat Ear” (a soup with little dumplings, not really cat), West Lake Carp (great flavor, but full of small bones), brazed pork (that went on the roll ups), asparagus, some spicy meat with peppers, and chicken that appeared to be cooked in a plastic sack.

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