Forbidden City – “Taste The Rainbow”

Friday, January 04, 2013 - by Willie Mae

Call me old-fashioned or just call me old, but I like knowing what it is that I am eating. I think for an opinionated ol’ stick in the mud that I am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying something unfamiliar; but when things don’t look natural, I question it.

When I came to Forbidden City on Gunbarrel Road, I was not sure what it was. It was an ornate building that looked Asian, so I assumed it would be a Chinese or Japanese restaurant. When I was seated, the server asked what I wanted to drink.

She was Asian, sweet and slight with very little knowledge of English. That’s okay; I have learned how to communicate at Chinese restaurants fairly well, but after she took my drink order she said, “You can go to bar.”

I didn’t know I wanted the “bar.” I was never asked. I looked around and I saw several “bars” full of buffet food. Land sakes! I walked into a buffet place and not a ‘menu restaurant’.

Since I apparently had no choice but to eat from the bar, I walked around to each one to see what was offered. One counter had sushi so I decided on that. I went to get me a plate and when I came back, the chef had disappeared. I waited.

When it didn’t look as though he would return to his station, I asked a staff person passing by, “Do we serve ourselves?” He nodded his head yes. I picked up the tongs and selected different sorts of sushi that I had never tried before. None of the trays had the names of what it was. I always wanted to try seaweed salad and they had it in some sort of a ‘food envelope’. There was also a green cone with imitation crab in it and something with tempura batter.

I took my assortments to my booth table to try each one. I had my wasabi so I was set! I had never seen yellow sushi …but with sushi there is a lot I haven’t seen and I am willing to try anything once. It was simple enough with crab, a cucumber-rice mixture and a yellow food-paper wrapped around it (I assumed it was some sort of rice paper concoction, but I wasn’t sure). It was not bad, but it also was nothing special to make me yell, “I love yellow sushi!”

The next piece I tried had a silvery skin on the fish. It was a bit too fishy for me. The skin just sort of slithered its way down my throat. The next color I picked up was pink with seaweed wrapped around it.

It tasted pink.

I don’t know how to describe what pink tastes like, but I tasted pink. I tried the seaweed salad and I liked that part, but the brown food-envelope that it came in was soggy.

When I tried the cone thing I couldn’t chew it. The food paper it was wrapped in was too much like paper. Maybe it was paper, I don’t know. It looked like the rest of their rice or seaweed-based food wrappings, but it tasted and felt like paper. I pretended that I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat ‘the paper’ and stuck my chopsticks down into the cone to dig out the edible part, but it wouldn’t come out. I think maybe I was supposed to eat the paper, but my dentures just wouldn’t do it.

Lastly, I picked up the fried piece of sushi. After eating all of those colors and papers I decided that I needed to know what was inside. I took my chopsticks and opened it up. It had rice inside and in the center it looked like a ball of tar! As I examined it further and realized it had that seaweed wrapping, but it was wrapped around a mushy meat that looked like cat food (or maybe it was the cat). I said that I would try anything once but I decided to leave that one alone.

These smidgen bites of trying sushi left me feeling as if I hadn’t even eaten, so I went to the bar and found mushrooms in brown sauce and I got me an eggroll with spicy mustard.

The mustard was the hottest that I have ever tried at a Chinese place and I liked that! My eyes watered and my nose was running; it did its job! The mushrooms were good and I am sure this place is just as good as the other buffets if you like Chinese buffet food.

When the sweet girl brought me my check, she also had a tiny wrapped mint on the card folder. How nice - I liked the idea of a mint after eating all that paper, but I kind of wanted the expected fortune cookie.

When I looked at the wrapper, it was not a mint. It had a picture of some sort of fruit on it that was green. Hoo boy… more colors. I couldn’t make out the picture because this wrapped piece of hard something was so very tiny. I asked the server what it was and she said, “Is Gwawa”.

 I know the look on my face must have been all wrinkled up with a confused snarl because she repeated herself, “Gwawa… Gwawa” as if that made it better. I thanked her and, after I got to my car, I had to open it up to see what was inside. It was a hard candy shaped bright green pea. No, thank you.

If you are a buffet eater who enjoys the Chinese bars of food, you will probably like it. It was very clean and spacious with many bars of food, but I just left there feeling like I had eaten a bag of skittles… with the bag.


Grow Your Business Training Offered To Help Farmers Make Direct Sales To Restaurants

Crabtree Farms, in partnership with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Profitable Agriculture (CPA) will host a day-long intensive training for farmers titled “Grow Your Business: Seeds For Successful Direct Marketing Of Fruits And Vegetables” on  Dec. 12, in Chattanooga. Grow Your Business is targeted at small and medium-scale producers of fruit, vegetable, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Farmer’s Market Is Saturday

A special Soddy Daisy Farmer’s Market  is planned for Saturday.  There will be a focus on local arts and crafts in addition to regular vendors and the Poe’s Tavern cabin will be open for viewing. Soddy Daisy is encouraging visitors to get out and enjoy the crisp, fall days and to “Come on up and see us.! This is the first year for the Farmer’s Market. Established ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Tom Dugan Was A Good Man

Tom was my boss for most of my 36 years at Carta.  At the ceremony where I was awarded my 30-year service award, Tom said, "Don disagrees with 85% of my decisions, but I wish I had 80 more employees just like him." This kind of indicates our relationship. When I asked him to help with my plans for a reunion for the group of Veterans that I served with in Vietnam, he quickly ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Veterinarian’s Horse Sense

I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus. Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and ... (click for more)