Thanksgiving Dinner in Shanghai
22 Nov 2005
It has always been my policy in China that if I can’t be with my family for Thanksgiving, I should at least try to get in some good Thanksgiving eating. Last year I had my Thanksgiving dinner with Brad at a Sofitel Hotel in Pudong. At around 200 rmb, it was pretty expensive, and not fantastic. This year I made some more phone calls to find out which American hotel chains in Shanghai were having Thanksgiving dinners. Most of the calls went something like this (in English):
> Staff: Hello, [hotel name].
> Me: Hi, is your hotel having a Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday?
> Staff: Let me transfer you to the restaurant.
> Me: OK.
> Staff: The Chinese restaurant or the Western restaurant?
> Me: Uhhh… Western.
> Restaurant Staff: Hello, [hotel restaurant name].
> Me: Hi, is your restuarant having a Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday?
> Restaurant Staff: Yes, we have a buffet dinner.
> Me: A Thanksgiving buffet dinner?
> Restaurant Staff: Thanksgiving?
> Me: Yes, Thanksgiving. 感恩节.
> Restaurant Staff: 感恩节? Oh, no. It’s Italian food.
> Me: OK, thank you.
I don’t think that the Chinese should all recognize and celebrate Thanksgiving or anything ridiculous like that. I just expected most of the nicer international hotels in Shanghai to offer some kind of Thanksgiving meal. I guess that’s just not always done.
After about 5 or 6 unsuccessful hotel calls, I did what I should have done in the first place. I Googled
Shanghai Thanksgiving dinner. I found the following pages helpful:
I found two deals at reasonable prices: the Holiday Inn Vista Shanghai Thanksgiving Dinner for 149 rmb per person (I had called the Pudong Holiday Inn, and they were oblivious to Thanksgiving over there), and the Moon River Diner Thanksgiving for 150 rmb per person.
I chose the Moon River Diner dinner (the menu looks awesome!), but the Gubei restaurant’s Thursday night was already full, so I had to make a reservation at the Pudong location. I actually talked to the chef on the phone! He’s a guy named Micahel from New Mexico, and he assured me it would be authentic. As he pointed out, the few hotels putting on the super expensive Thanksgiving banquets hire European gourmet chefs, so they present distorted fancy-pants interpretations of Thanksgiving dinner. Totally not like mom used to.
So I’m looking forward to this dinner. If you’re in Shanghai and you want to seize your once-a-year chance for a Thanksgiving dinner, you better hurry up and make a reservation.