What the 54,000 won actually paid for

I’ve returned from dinner at Chee Hong, which a card left on the work desk in the hotel room advertises as: ‘Chee Hong: The Art of Chinese Cuisine.’

It’s in the hotel, the Ritz Carlton, which is where I’m staying. (A strongly related fact is that I, myself, am not paying for anything on this particular trip. The hotel was booked for me.)

I ordered cashew chicken — what you ordinarily get in a white box with a wire handle or maybe a plastic container with a black bottom and a clear top — for $8 or $9. The Chee Hong menu calls it: ‘Chicken, Wok Fried – Cashew Nut, Red Pepper.’

In taste, the cashew chicken was the same as, or maybe slightly worse than, the other decent cashew chickens that I’ve had it my lifetime. Portion size: exactly standard.

Here’s what really made the price 54,000 won ($46.44US) (which was reduced by 10% because of the credit card I have):

This floral arrangement on the table,



These bottles of liquor and urns on the shelves behind me as I ate,


This warm cloth brought to me before I ate so that I could clean my hands off,


This just-completely-orange artwork on the wall,


This coat rack near the entrance to the room,

coat rack

Having this room completely to myself, maybe,


This shrimp with lettuce appetizer (or, as the waitress put it, my ‘welcome dish’) that I didn’t order that just automatically comes with it,


The music of a violin that I got to listen to as I ate and that was being piped in as it was actually being played live by this violinist two floors up in the lobby:


This wall of water that I got to pass as I went back upstairs,


These escalators I used to get back upstairs that sit at an unusual angle to each other, therefore making them somehow far more aesthetically appealing than escalators situated at traditional angles to each other:


Not pictured: lychee in mango sauce that I didn’t order that came as dessert.

Have a good day.


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