Rocky Barker in China: Bird's nest luncheon; big turnout for reception

rbarker@idahostatesman.comJune 7, 2010 

Bird's nest luncheon

Weng Zuliang, the mayor of Luwan District in central Shanghai hosted a 12 course luncheon for Gov. and Lori Otter and part of the Idaho delegation. The event was held at a private club on the Huaihai Zhong Road, one of Shanghai's most prized high end retail area.

The meal was capped off with the Chinese delicacy, bird's nest soup. It is made from the saliva nests of swallows and is rich in nutrients and considered to provide a host of health benefits from aiding digestion to improving brain function.

But at least a couple of the Idaho delegation were not so thrilled about it once they were told what it is made from. The sweet fruity soup came inside a carved out papaya fruit and was a tasty treat.

Big turnout for Idaho Appreciation Reception

Finally, the day ended with a Idaho-hosted reception for customers and friends of Idaho in Shanghai. More than 220 people came to the party where Otter joined the Communist Party secretaries Xu Yibo of the Luwan District and Sha Hailin of the Shanghai municipal government in celebrating Idaho's growing ties to Shanghai area businesses. Otter also handed out Idaho Valued Partner Awards to Chinese businesses that Idaho businesses wanted to honor.

Idaho is the only state that hands out such awards, said Christopher Beebe, the acting counsel general of the U.S. in Shanghai. He praised the state program and said it fits well into the Chinese concept of developing relationships called Guanxi, (guan she) between business customers and partners.

What a wonderful way to build that relationship and build face, Beebe said.

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