This phenomenon isn’t necessarily limited to Qingyang, but the pictures that follow are, sooo….

During previous visits here to the Jinjiang area, it was already possible to get a private dining room at some of the larger restaurants, but that’s all it was: A room. With plain white walls. With a table and chairs inside. With a door. Nothing fancy. Nothing to really set you apart from the people out in the main dining area. Except that you were in a room apart from people in the main dining area. WooHoo.

But now, in Qingyang, Anhai and other cities and towns in this region, getting a private dining room has become quite the gilded experience. Fancy tables and chairs, a private bathroom, large RTV and KTV setups, in-room karaoke, fancy, comfortable seating, waitstaff that stay in the room to refill your glasses as soon as they are empty, and so on. This is in contrast to “the good old days” when they would just show up, take the order, bring the food, and then bid you a perfunctory Hasta la Vista, Baby!

Many of the fancy private dining rooms are in hotels, and in more than one case, we found ourselves in private dining rooms that used to be hotel rooms. (That would explain why one of the private dining room bathrooms we encountered still has, uh, a bathtub and shower in it. Quite convenient. “Oh dear, I’ve spilled gravy on my tie. No matter. I’ll just go shower off…”.)

Anyway, without further ado, here are some photos from one of our dining out ventures in Qingyang, which included my Wife’s entire family, kids, my Mother-in-Law’s Younger Brother and his Wife, (deep breath) my Wife’s Younger Sister’s Husband’s Parents, and, and…Oh Yeah. The Waitresses.

As you look at these pictures, remember that the “cultural lesson” here is that just five years ago, getting a private dining room at a restaurant would more likely have meant a plain room with plain walls and so on.)

(Oh, and way down below, I’m also trying out that “YouTube” video service you see popping up everywhere these days….)

Our private dining room:

A close-up of the wallpaper behind the TV:

No, my Wife isn’t slapping her Older Sister; she’s just a very “animated” talker:

A waitress refills the kids’ glasses:

My Wife modeling the hand-carved “lounge” furniture at the back of the room:

My Wife’s Younger Sister finalizes our order with the head waitress:

A video view around the table from my chair: