Because I have heard that Wujin has reopened, I set out in search of a reservation. What I find is a surprise—Wujin is not only bustling behind large glass windows, but has expanded. It looks like a Hong Kong noodle shop, brightly lit white tile walls and formica booths filled with customers, as waiters rush around in long white aprons. I go in and ask to make a reservation. For lunch or dinner? comes the response. I am surprised that there is dinner, and ask to see the menu. The menu is like a gallery pamphlet, and on its back I learn that the diner is now sponsored by K11. I leaf through the thick pages and notice that bread is 35 RMB. But I am more focused on the list of whole live fish now served after 5 pm. One is a Cantonese-style fish, another a Hangzhou vinegar fish. Now I can see that these fish, flayed in half through their skulls, are being carried through the dining room in reddish-black oily pools of sauce that congeal on white oval platters.
The whole fishes intimidate me, so I leave. A waitress follows me out. Any customer who wishes to make a reservation, she says, needs to demonstrate that they have $14,500 USD in an account verified by the Castle Rock department store. Suddenly I realize Wujin is in the alleyway next to a looming steel and glass shopping complex. I don’t have a card, I say. She tells me that I cannot eat anywhere in the city. Regulations keep Wujin open, she says, disappearing.
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