Thursday, December 4, 2008

J Is For....

Jade and Jin Asian Restaurant!

On my most recent trip back from Humarock I was with my Grandmother and the Music Man. It was around lunch time and we decided it would be best if we found some food, so we headed up route 1 outside of Boston. I was going over the various restaurants that I could remember that we drove past trying to come up with the perfect place to stop. Nothing was inspiring me to make a suggestion, until I remember that Chinese restaurant up on the hill. My Mother had told me that she had seen them on the Food Network and I had always wanted to try it. I gave the suggestion and everyone in the car agreed that it was worth a shot.

From the outside this is a very impressive building, huge, and Asian inspired. Upon entering it was even more impressive, large carvings, water falls, and banquet rooms. We were shown to our table and proceeded to look over the menu. My Grandmother defaulted to the Music Man and I to rder since we are more familiar with Asian cuisine than she is. We order several of our favorite dishes and anxiously awaited our food. First came the hot and sour soup (this is how the Music Man rates a Chinese restaurant). One sip of the amazing soup and we were all waiting for the rest of the food to arrive. Next came the dumplings (this is how SJ rates a Chinese restaurant). One bit of the amazing dumplings and we were all waiting for more of the food to arrive. The main courses were just as impressive as the soup and dumplings. The Music Man and I agreed that we hadn't had such great Chinese food since we left China several years ago. The Jin Asian restaurant has now become a new favorite place to stop.

Aside from the amazing food, the restaurant also had several very large jade carvings. I wouldn't do them justice with my camera since they are three-dimensional. Again, haven't seen anything that impressive since leaving China.

I recently did a little research on Jade and the Chinese culture, here is what I found at
"Jade (Yu in Chinese pinyin) was defined as beautiful stones by Xu Zhen (about 58-147) in Shuo Wen Jie Zi, the first Chinese dictionary. Jade is generally classified into soft jade (nephrite) and hard jade (jadeite). Since China only had the soft jade until jadeite was imported from Burma during the Qing dynasty (1271-1368), jade traditionally refers to the soft jade so it is also called traditional jade. Jadeite is called Feicui in Chinese. Feicui is now more popular and valuable than the soft jade in China.

The history of jade is as long as the Chinese civilization. Archaeologists have found jade objects from the early Neolithic period (about 5000 BC), represented by the Hemudu culture in Zhejian Province, and from the middle and late Neolithic period, represented by the Hongshan culture along the Lao River, the Longshan culture along the Yellow River, and the Liangzhu culture in the Tai Lake region. Jade has been ever more popular till today.

The Chinese love jade because of not only its beauty, but also more importantly its culture, meaning and humanity, as Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC) said there are 11 De (virtue) in jade. The following is the translation (don't know the translator):

'The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth. To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'

Thus jade is really special in Chinese culture, also as the Chinese saying goes "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable."

Enjoy ~SJ


Weather Boy said...

On OUR way down to Thanksgiving, we gave in and visited another Route 1, Saugus landmark, Frank Giuffria's Hilltop Steakhouse. The cattle statuary (all resplendent in their seasonal Santa hats) tell you pretty much all you need to know: this is a straightforward, from the '50s, cheesy American cuisine steakhouse.

It sounds like your culinary experience was a little more enlightening.

Gretchen said...

It's beautiful! We love going to authentic Chinese restaurants.

KL said...

My new favorite Chinese restaurant!!

Try the hot and sour soup..........