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A Good Chinese Meal is Like a Symphony

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Music to my Ears

A Good Chinese Meal is Like a Symphony, the Chef, the Conductor.

I was inspired to write this post after attending the New York Philharmonic over the weekend at Avery Fisher Hall (Side Note:  I didn’t pass any Chinese restaurants that I felt were worthy of our review.  If I overlooked one in midtown Manhattan, please let Mee know).

Hearing the way that the Orchestra plays together melding the various different instruments and passages in to one harmonious symphony whet my appetite for a sumptuous Chinese feast.

A symphony is a long composition for orchestra, usually with three or four movements (read courses) or sections, which differ in style, mood and tempo or the speed or music pace.  Just as each course of a meal should differ in taste, presentation, color, and aroma.

The overture is like an appetizer… giving subtle hints as to what is to follow.

A modern orchestra consists of four sections or families of instruments. The string section is the most important part of a symphony orchestra. It has more than half of the musicians and consists of violins, violas , cellos and string basses.  I relate the string section to the underlying style to the symphony or the meal.   Like whether you’re eating Szechuan, Cantonese, or Shanghai.

The woodwind section consists of flutes, bassoons , oboes and clarinets.  I think of these like the seafood dishes… light… tasty… flighty… like a fish darting through the ocean… Scintillating in their motion; and tickling your taste buds with the subtle nuances.

The brass section has several trumpets, French horns, trombones and one tuba . These instruments are especially important in the loud, exciting parts of the music.  These are the sauces.  Just the right amount and right time, makes or breaks your meal.

The percussion section has all sorts of instruments, especially those that you can hit, rattle or shake . The drums are the best known among these instruments. In a symphony orchestra, kettledrums or timpani make the music more exciting.  The meats.  The beef.  The Chicken.  And the pork.  These are the ones that rock your belly.  They fill you with joy and stick to your ribs, and the sounds of the orchestra that move you with their vibrations on deep profound beating.  All making your heart race and pound with pleasure and joy.

The fitting crescendo to complete the symphony is like the sounds of a fortune cookie cracking open to reveal their inner secrets that are held within.

Lesson?  Never EVER go to a concert on an empty stomach!  And if you are going to an orchestral concert (or going out for a good meal), always go first class.  See a Philharmonic orchestra.  And not a fifth grade concert.  You’ll know the different.  Trust Mee.  Trust us to find you the best Chinese restaurants.

The end.  Check please!

Humbly submitted for your consumption.

–Mee Magnum (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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