My sister-in-law JJ is from Hebei, near Beijing. She came to live here with her husband, my wife's brother, after they married and had a lovely daughter, Cindy.
She used to work in restaurants in Beijing and was good at it so she quickly became a head waitress in a mid-sized Italian restaurant in the capital. Of course, she had to look for a new job in Guiyang, and so she started to walk around our neighborhood and ask the growing number of restaurants if they had a job for her. In just one day she landed a position as a waitress in a Korean restaurant, and after a few weeks, she was promoted to head waitress.
It is amazing how fast one can find a job here. If one wants a job that is. Many such positions as a waiter in a restaurant come and go fast, people move up, move out, change cities. China is more and more a mobile economy. Of course, many employers get away with low salaries, very few days off for their staff (sometimes no days off at all), and no insurance, pension payments, and such amenities as we are used to taking for granted. Of course, it is changing, larger enterprises do have regular contracts and arrangements for sick-leave and all, but it will take some time. It does remind me of the stories I heard from my parents of what the economy was like in Italy right after the war.
Today she invited the whole family to dine at her restaurant. She had reserved the best table for us, at the end of the dining hall, in a quiet corner. We took our seats and then she began suggesting Korean specialties and taking orders on her smartphone app.
The signature dish is hearty strips of pork meat grilled at the table. We ordered a couple of different variations and they were all quite tasty! I especially liked the strips that were marinated with black pepper and Korean curry.
All of this was brilliantly paired with Korean sake, served slightly chilled, though I thought it might be even better if it had been warmed up.
The "dessert" was a kind of omelet with veggies, a flat "frittata" in fact, cut in triangles like a pizza. Followed by a piping hot vegetable soup. And some fresh fruits, which looked more like an end-of-meal for me.
I am pretty sure the staff was all Chinese, the staff in the dining room with JJ and the cooks whom I could see at work all spoke Mandarin and the local dialect.
That such a restaurant exists is a good thing for me. For one, it means enough people in Guiyang can afford to splurge in what is still considered a luxury. A growing middle class in China is a promising prospect.
Also, in a country that is justifiably proud of its cuisine, it's reassuring to see a degree of internationalization in the culinary offer, it is a sign of open-mindedness. We'll have to see if it takes root. I do see foreign foods at the local supermarket, but not many people buying.