The Drexel University men's basketball team got a crash course in Chinese food and etiquette on Monday. Credit: Charles Mostoller, Metro
Han Chiang, owner and founder of Han Dynasty, repeatedly referred to a creased and scribbled list of what members of the Drexel University men's basketball team shouldn't do while visiting China.
Included: Don't put your wallet in your back pocket, don't get scammed by small store owners and never hold a door open for someone, "because there are so many people you'll never get through."
Drexel's team is traveling to China at the end of August to play some exhibition games.
So Chiang, who studied engineering at Drexel in the late 1990s but was "kicked out" before he graduated, gave the team a crash course Monday in Chinese cuisine as well as the country's customs and etiquette.
Chiang, who was born in Taiwan and has toured most of Asia, opened Han Dynasty first in Exton and now operates seven restaurants.
To the student-athletes, he emphasized that "Chinese food Americans eat in America is not Chinese food," he said. "So don't ask for General Tso's chicken."
"And over there, it's just food," he added.
So what healthy options are available for athletes?
"I don't think Chinese food is good for athletes," he deadpanned.
Nyree Dardarian, Drexel's sports nutritionist, said the athletes would need foods that are are "Rich in carbohydrates that will give them all of the energy they need to get through games."
Chiang also told the players to always be humble when it comes to compliments, and to always cheers a companion before taking a sip of alcohol.
And for god's sake, "Don't ask for fortune cookies," he said. "They're from San Francisco."