Forbidden City – “Taste The Rainbow”

Friday, January 4, 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.



National Cornbread Cook-Off Seeks New Champion

It’s time to submit a National Cornbread Cook-off recipe. Lodge Cast Iron and Martha White are searching the nation for the best original main dish cornbread recipes in the 22nd Annual Lodge National Cornbread Cook-Off.   Now through Jan. 15, 2018, Cook-Off applicants can submit an original main dish/entree recipe prepared with at least one package of Martha White Cornbread ... (click for more)

Rodizio Grill Opens New Location At Hamilton Place

Rodizio Grill, The Brazilian Steakhouse celebrates the grand opening of their newest location at Hamilton Place Mall. Rodizio Grill will be open for both lunch and dinner with a large selection of authentic Brazilian menu offerings and family friendly atmosphere. Rodizio Grill is also open at 439 Broad St.  (click for more)

Overflow Crowd Attends Latest Signal Mountain Meeting On Leaving County Schools

The December meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council was for the most part devoted to giving citizens another chance to voice their opinions and ask questions about forming a new school district separate from Hamilton County. More people interested in the subject came than could be admitted to the council room because of fire capacity and the crowd overflowed into the lobby. ... (click for more)

Haslam Appoints Kyle Hedrick Circuit Court Judge

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday appointed Kyle E. Hedrick of Chattanooga as Circuit Court Judge for the 11th Judicial District.  He replaces Judge W. Neil Thomas III, who has retired. The 11th Judicial District serves Hamilton County.   Mr. Hedrick and attorney Glenna Ramer have practiced together since 1994 and formed the law firm Ramer & Hedrick in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018 - And Response

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Top Of My Desk

I am always pleasantly amused when people ask me how I can come up with something different to write about each day. The truth is that it is a rare day indeed when there isn’t something I want to share. As I sat down at my desk yesterday and looked about, I laughed at myself because there were several stacks each worthy of a story so please allow me to present “the best of” the ... (click for more)