It seems when times are bad, people still spend lavishly on food; rather it is a kind of madness that makes them spend even more. Maybe it is too strong a word to use, but it seems to me that they are obscenely unconcerned about how bad the economy is, that they should spend judiciously.
A couple of nights ago, I went there for some crab porridge (by invitation obviously, as I couldn't afford to feast on crabs, oysters and cray fish on my inadequate pension) and I can tell the bill came to be pretty heavy on the wallet.
Anyway, it was not only dining, but the wining too, as we had a 12 year one litre Old Parr whiskey to go with the food in addition to some beer which one of our friends preferred . I have made it a point not to step out of the house for the next few days just to avoid being invited. How long can you continue to eat without paying? It has become embarrassing to say the least although they keep assuring me that companionship is most important. I would sometimes go late explaining that I have to accompany my mom for dinner; thus skipping the food although being good friends that they are, they would continue to press me to eat something, which I would "reluctantly" do just to give them face. As far as the Chinese are concerned, 'face' is one commodity that cannot be compromised.