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Nanjing gives me a slice of China, but…

Chinese food: always simple, straight and sweet.

That was the dry and spiced mixed vegetable dinner at Nanjing restaurant of Nanjing hotel along Lugogo bypass.

It is the ultimate vegan’s meal; composed of the crunchy broccoli and sweet Chinese cabbage (that can easily be mistaken for jackfruit both in taste and looks), green bean (bean pods), the tender baby-corn, the green pepper, carrot, and giant onions.

All these are half-cooked. The prices are quite high but that seems not to be a deterrent for the many Asian families that frequent the place. The vegetable mix is priced at Shs 24,800. It is among the cheapest meals on the hotel’s menu.

I had to part with an extra Shs 14,800 for the humdrum mashed potatoes that were harder to chew than posho. They tasted more like dough.

On inquiry, I was told it was because they had added margarine. At the end of the meal, every diner is served with a very well-plated fresh fruit dessert (never mind that the choice of fruit is made for you).

Mine was pineapple; my neighbours were served what looked like watermelon.


Remember that report that branded Ugandan labourers as the laziest in East Africa? That six Ugandans are needed to do a job of one Kenyan…

Well, at Nanjing you will bear true testimony to that stereotype. Only that this time, Ugandans are helped by their Chinese supervisors.

For such prices, the service was extremely slow – from the time of taking orders, to delivery of food, clearing the table, delivery of bills or even the change. Not that the restaurant is short of staff as almost every half a minute a waitress/waiter or supervisor/manager is passing by. 

But clearly, only the person who attended to you in the first place must attend to you until you are done. 

At first I thought I was being an impatient diner until my neighbours called out the waiter to first clear the table and then bring the bill.

After several minutes of waiting without the bill, they got up and paid on their way out of the restaurant. As it approached 10:15pm, the supervisor came to remind us to place our last orders, as the kitchen was about to close.

“But we are still even waiting for the first orders,” complained the diners behind me.

The hotel management also found it easier to write ‘wrong picture’ on several meal pictures than actually print new menu booklets with actual representations. Some prices on the menu are also whitewashed and handwritten to reflect the price changes.

Cheap, for a not-quite-cheap place.


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