berlin dinner club | past events


Year of the Turtle Dinner, 27th June 2003

It's a little known fact that there are other annual cycles in the Chinese calendar. Everyone knows about the usual animal series which, according to legend, are named and sequenced after a whole bunch of animals who wanted to visit Buddha for a chat. That's why the first year in the sequence is named after the Rat, which hitched a ride on the back of another animal and sneaked up in front of everyone else. It just goes to show that, sometimes, it isn't the effort you make, it's who you can hitch a ride from. OK, that's enough Chinese folklore about that, and lots of people know about this anyway.

There is another Chinese annual calendar based on sea creatures, based along the same lines; ie. fishes and sea creatures racing to meet the Water Goddess. Strangely enough, the first animal in this series is the Turtle which won because a Shark whacked it out of the water so hard that it landed in front of everyone else. I think the moral is that a thick skin (or shell) helps sometimes. Another moral maybe is that sometimes it doesn't matter what other people do to you as long as you have your target in sight. Maybe that's where this weird saying about the meek inheriting the earth came from, although I don't think so. Chinese people would never say anything like that as there's no point being meek for no good reason and somehow thinking that the rest of the world owes you anything.

But, never mind. All this preamble is leading up to the fact that we've organised a 5-6 course mini-banquet dinner on the 27th June 2003 to honour the start of the Year of the Turtle, If it works out, we might do another dinner next year to celebrate the Year of the Squid. I've talked to a large Chinese restaurant about the menu and they'll be doing some traditional Chinese and some "normal" dishes for everyone for a fixed price of 20 EUR per person, excluding drinks. That's a fantastic deal as each course alone can cost over 15 EUR from the menu. And trust me, no-one, and I mean, no-one, will leave this dinner to search for a doner kebab imbiss. You have been warned. Oh, and it's not vegetarian. Lots of meat and fish as the Chinese don't tend to do vegetarian banquets. So now it's your chance to sample some traditional Chinese cooking, although, to be honest,  it's still not Chinese haute cuisine but that's almost impossible to organise here in Europe.

Dinner places for this mini-banquet to celebrate the Year of the Turtle are extremely limited, so crack your knuckles and start sending your emails now to book your place. At the moment, I've only allowed for 10 places, but I *might* increase that number if you can convince me in writing that you really need to eat Chinese food that day. The email address, as usual, is And PLEASE note that we have to know that you WILL come as the restaurant will charge us for people even if they do not attend. So please consider very carefully before you send in your email to book your place, OK? It would be much appreciated, else we know where you live.

As usual, we'll meet up at a bar first around 19:00 before we head off to the Aroma Restaurant in Kantstrasse. The location is very convenient and very central and everyone who gets on the dinner list will get a further email (with a map) confirming where we will gather before going to the dinner. Again, please do not request for a place at this dinner if you are not sure that you can make it as we will have to charge you for it.