the completed exterior of the mobile banquet hall

Goodbye Food Trucks, Hello Mobile Banquet Halls

Looking to host a party in rural China, in an area with little infrastructure? If you answered ‘yes,’ then you are in need of a mobile banquet hall

3 0
8:14 AM HKT, Tue February 7, 2023 1 mins read

Chinese banquets are generally held to celebrate everything from weddings and holidays to business deals. What to do, then, if your village lacks a venue for these events? The enterprising Old Horse Restaurant (老马酒店) has an answer: a mobile banquet hall.

A short video about the mobile restaurant has gone viral on the Chinese internet. According to the online footage, on January 31, an unassuming semi-trailer arrived in a village outside the Inner Mongolian city of Chifeng.

Within half an hour, restaurant employees had unfolded it into a full-size banquet hall. They were there to host the reception for a local wedding.

lao ma jiu dian, or old horse restaurant, truck

The semi-trailer that houses Old Horse Restaurant

The one-of-a-kind mobile banquet hall isn’t just a venue, however. As shown in the aforementioned video, in an upgrade on typical rural banquet fare, Old Horse Restaurant offers delicacies like soft-shelled turtle and turbot, a type of prized European flatfish.

banquet hall food

An example of a banquet meal served by Old Horse Restaurant

The full banquet hall can host more than 20 tables and has floor heating and air conditioning.

Although no more information was revealed in the video, we searched online and found another mobile banquet hall operating in Anhui province, more than 1,000 kilometers away from Inner Mongolia. Interestingly enough, this banquet truck was made in and transported from Inner Mongolia.

mobile banquet hall, chinese banquets, rural China

The interior of the mobile banquet hall that was constructed in Inner Mongolia and is operated in Anhui province. Screengrab via Bilibili

A vlogger visited the mobile restaurant in Anhui, interviewed the owner, and released a video in November 2022. According to the owner, his mobile banquet hall measures 160 square meters and hosts an average of 8,000 tables of customers a month. At its busiest, it serves more than 280 tables a day.

He further disclosed that one table of food would set you back anywhere from 1,000 to 3,800 RMB (about 150 to 563 USD). There is no additional cost for banquet-goers who’ve already paid for the restaurant’s fare, although the venue is also available for rent without meal service at 6,000 RMB (889 USD) a pop.

interior of old horse restaurant mobile banquet hall

The colorfully decorated interior of Old Horse Restaurant

Many netizens were in awe of the slick, speedy way these mobile banquet halls turn from a truck into a veritable ballroom. A Weibo hashtag for the subject is literally called ‘This mobile restaurant is so advanced’ (#这个移动酒店太高级了#).

This fancy traveling dining room satisfies an important need in rural areas. A writer for who hails from rural Shandong province commented, “Rural consumption levels have gone up a lot… When [I was] a child, tables [for banquets] were set up outside or in neighbors’ empty houses.”

mobile banquet hall, chinese banquets, rural China

One of the first stages in transforming the truck into a banquet hall

The popularity of the mobile banquet hall is evidence of the ongoing modernization of China’s vast countryside, an effort that has led to other fascinating trends like a burgeoning rural cafe culture.

All images via Weibo, unless otherwise stated

Join the Conversation
Write comment

We assure you, this page will eventually load