I’ve been going through some old notebooks, and found an account of a supper I had in 2005 at a crazy Chengdu restaurant called ‘The mess canteen ä¼™é£Ÿå›¢’. Its name was a reference to the mess canteens of the revolutionary era, and all the dishes on the menu were named after revolutionary slogans. So you could order ‘The fragrant grasslands èŠ³è‰åœ°’ (a lettuce stem salad), ‘Years and years of peace å²å²å¹³å®‰’ (stir-fried long beans with minced chicken), ‘Chaos ä¹±ä¸ƒå…«ç³Ÿ’ (stir-fried chicken offal), ‘Atom bombs åŽŸåå¼¹’ Â (meatballs), or – my favourites – ‘Fire-exploded embassy ç«çˆ†å¤§ä½¿é¦† or ‘Dry-fried embassy å¹²ç…¸å¤§ä½¿é¦†’.
All the waiters and waitresses were kitted out in army gear, and announced the arrival of new guests with a loudhailer. The boss (who you can see in the picture above, with me), was known as the ‘Village Chief’, and prefaced every sentence he uttered with a line from Mao’s little red book.
The restaurant originally occupied a sort of shack in an alley opposite the Sheraton Hotel, but later moved to a new location (pictured). Does anyone know if it’s still there, somewhere?