The best meal I've had was just a couple of nights ago, the dinner I wrote of earlier with Ren's sister and her husband and seven others from KIB. We ordered many dishes, but my favorite was the rice noodles. It was my first time eating with a big group of people, and, while I often felt lost as the majority of conversation was in Chinese, I did also feel welcome and part of the group. A couple who sat next to me spoke very good English. Apparently one of them, the husband, had spent a year in Chicago working at the field museum. Their girl, Jessica, was actually born in Chicago. When I asked about the food in Chicago, the wife was unable to find a place in her heart for it, including the pizza! They made a big deal that the food in America is boneless (for the most part), compared to here in China where the meat is simply cut into chunks with the bone in. It is difficult for me to get used to putting a piece of meat and bone in my mouth and then spitting the bone out, so I can imagine where having something "boneless" is interesting. At the start of the meal we all clinked glasses and gave each other "cheers." Throughout the course of dinner, one person would randomly stand up, hold out his or her glass to another, and thank them or simply say "cheers." I was touched when Ren's sister's husband clinked my glass and told me "thank you for bringing my sister the phone from America." The meal did not officially end until we all stood up, said "cheers," and swallowed the remaining beer in our glasses. I never found out who paid for the meal, this was done very subtly, but I thank them all for making me feel welcome.
I am going to keep a running photostream of all of the food and meals I remember to take pictures of. I have posted the first set here (the first 4 photos of this set were taken at the restaurant where I've had my best meal so far; you can see the diversity of foods that we had): http://www.flickr.com/photos/97422460@N08/sets/72157634169393403/