Eating and Drinking, Beijing
Favorite thing: beijing has it's share of sweets and I could say that they are truly yummy but unfortunately i could not make out the translations since they have really bad chin-glish. some are very familiar like the moon cake and a caramel colored mullet cake (similar in taste to puto binan in the philippines) and crispy fried mullets (again similar to shing a ling in the Philippines). You have to taste and try them for yourself! most are priced at between 1 to 5 RMB and can be found anywhere.
China has been brewing beer for the past 9,000 years but it was mostly rural stuff and not into the mass produced market but things changed in the 19th century when european powers entered china and established mini colonies and introduced european style beers. Among the beers is Tsingtao Beer, the most popular Beer in China plus a host of other brands such as China Blue Ribbon, Yanjing, Sie-Tang Lio and Zhujiang. A Typical 500 ml beer in china costs 10 RMB and a 355 ml aluminum can will cost 8 RMB in convenience stores while in retaurants and bars triple that price. Chinese beers often contain rice, sorghum and sometimes rye in addition to barley and Alcohol content varies from 3.5% to the strong variety of 7.5%.
Chinese ofted drink beers during meals and are available everywhere! try one now!
Fondest memory: try the different kinds of chinese beer, their a ok!
Ok , a lesson, when you say chinese food, it just does mean chinese food but what Chinese Cuisine? ok! Chinese food is not monotonous as there are 16 Basic Chinese Styles of Cuisine like Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, Liaoning, Fujian, Hunan, Hainese and Beijing. A Tip, chinese food in Americas and Europe is just Cantonese Cuisine with a little spicy Sichuan in between ok!
Beijing cuisine is an amalgamation of other great chinese cuisines of china and among it's influence are Shandong, liaoning and Sichuan. Beijing Cuisine is basically less on rice and more on dark soy paste, sesame paste, sesame oil, and scallions, and fermented tofu and spices hence you get not stir fried as the cantonese but more Stewed and Spicy and also sour at times. Examples of Beijing Cuisine are Peking Duck, Hot and Sour SOup and Boiled Pork. Since your in Beijing you must try Beijing Cuisine besides the ubiquitous Peking Duck ok!
Ok I Admit, For me Cantonese and Fujian Cuisine are better ok hehehe.
Favorite thing: chines pork sasages are good! they taste sweet and slightly salty and is made up of pork fillings. they are ususally eaten bare, without sauce or hot dog bun and is available everwhere for 4 RMB a piece. eating 2 is very filling and again it is very good so why not buy one and eat it! also great with rice as a meal (well I'm a rice person you see). also good to pair it with lemon drinks.
Favorite thing: Steamed Buns are a Generic in Asia and every country has it like Banh Bao in Vietnam, Siopao in the Philippines, Kung Pao in Singapore, etc but thie original started here in china and since im more used to the cantonese variety of stewed pork and dumpling fillings that are sweet, i have to try the Beijing variety and it has more kinds of fillings like spicy vegetables, spicy dried fish and spicy pork fillings. delicious and it costs 1 RMB each (very cheap!) but i still prefer the sweet cantonese variety w/ is similar to the philippine siopao.
Favorite thing: like in other countries, Beijing has it's share of vending machines and they are everywhere. they sell mostly liquid stuff like bottled water, softdrinks, juices like peach or lemon or orange and others. Cost if stuff in vending machines are about 6 RMB for a 355 ml bottle of Soft drink, 7 RMB for a bottle of Lemon Juice, 6 RMB for a Bottle of Local Mineral Water and 8 RMB for an aluminum can of Local coffee. they only accept small bills like 1 RMB, 5 RMB and coins. Very convenient and sometimes more cheaper then convenience stores!
Favorite thing: like what I've said, buying softdrinks here is more cheaper than buying bottled water since prices of softdrinks like coke or sprite are equal or cheaper than bottled water, depending on where you buy. Usually a 355 ml aluminum can of softdrinks cost 2 RMB in Supermarkets and 5 RMB in Convenience Stores and 10-12 RMB in Tourist Areas or Restaurants while a 1.5 ml bottle costs 6 RMB in supermarkets, 12-14 RMB in Tourist Areas and 15-20 RMB in restaurants and Bars. but as everyone knows, softdrinks packs lots of calories!
Favorite thing: Off course, when touring other countries, it is best to buy bottled water whether it is mineral water, purified water or spring water and in beijing it is no different eh. A Bottle of Mineral water here varies on where you buy it. if from convenience stores, it's about 5 RMB and on Restaurants about 8-10 RMB and on Restaurants and tourist sites, About 1 RMB at Supermarkets for a 500 cc bottle. (note the price disparities). 1 liter or above is about 2 RMB in Supermarkets, 10 RMB in Tourist Areas and 8 RMB in Convenience stores and 15 RMB in Bars and Restaurants. Softdrinks are cheaper! since beijing imports it's water from nearby provinces since it has a limited supply.
Once only served to the Emperors, now the recipes of Imperial food can be served in restaurants in Beijing. We had ours on a tour at the Summer Palace.
The imperial yellow covered chairs beckoned us. Every dish was beautifully decorated. Some in the form of phoenix, fish, birds, etc. Quantity of each dish is small, it is the creativity and variety and pleasing of the eyes and the multitude of choices.
Previously I have heard of two day banquet to complete the menu. We were there for only an hour before continuing our tour.
Do not miss having "Peking Roast Duck" while in Beijing.
Beijing ducks are specially bred and prepared and the north winds of Beijing is said to have a special finishing touch in the drying process.
Crispy duck skin with thin slices of meat is first served with Chinese shallots wrap with a pancake and dipped with a special sauce.
While "Peking Roast Duck" is available in Chinese restaurants worldwide, nothing matches having at the place of origin. Happy eating.
Fondest memory: Here is a list of the some of many Beijing restaurants serving Peking Roast Duck.
Better to ask your hotel staff or tour guide to recommend you the closest popular one.
Quan Ju De Restaurant at Qianmen
1/F to 3/F, Unit A, Tianchuang Shiyuan Dasha, 309, Huizhong Bei Li, Chaoyang District
Quan Ju De Restaurant at Hepingmen
9, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Wangfujing Da Jie, Dongcheng District
Quan Ju De Restaurant at Wangfujing
14, Xi Da Jie, Qianmen, Xuanwu District
Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant
Bldg. 3, Tuanjie Lake, Chaoyang District
Bianyifang Roast Duck Restaurant (Anhua Branch)
6, Bei Sanhuan Zhong Lu, Chaoyang District
Favorite thing: The food is great, however, the language barrier is really present. Don't expect people to have the facility of the english language. Your tour guide/interpreter is the most important person on the trip
Favorite thing: You can easily eat nine meals a day while discovering Beijing. Yet what is served will be quite unlike the Cashew Chicken, MooShoo or other General Tsos from home. Very little rice, actually. Lots of noodly soups. And lots of atmosphere, no matter what. Also, it often feels like there are four servers per customer, and if you speak a little Putonghua, they'll just buzz around you and giggle. Be ready for an odd slip which will be placed over your coat (on the back of your chair) to protect it from spills. Also, if there is a wet label on the side of your bowl, don't be alarmed. It's like the "Inspected by No 12" that we find in our pant pockets.
You must try the Yang Chun Mien with beef. A very large portion for a gal so you can try to share. But it is a very simple dish with excellent taste. You can get it anywhere--even roadside stalls have them.
Pekking Duck--You must go to the famous restaurant that just sell it...Let me recall then update again...Or you can ask around. The skin is so crispy and the spring onion is fresh. Coated with special sauce and wheat skin...it is just unforgettable
Fondest memory: The snow flakes.....My first sighting of snow....short, abt 5 mins...but unforgettable....I miss the Beef Noodle :(
It is, actually, beige!
At least that is what it looks like in the winter/fall.
Best advice for a good lunch deal -- follow the students at lunch time and have what they are having. Had my best meals sitting in the street with students eating some kind of noodle concoction out of styrofoam boxes.
If you like spicy food, as I do, tell them to heap on the stuff they try to leave out of your order (must look on closely to figure out what the spicy element is). They will laugh and talk with you if you make silly faces when you do eat the nuclear chili pepers.
Fondest memory: There was a bartender at the Shangri La, she was a sweet girl, maybe 21 years old. A friend and I asked her why she didn't have a boyfriend. She said that she could only "have boyfriend for marry." So, of course, we asked her why she wasn't married yet, she said "must have horse to marry in China."
I looked at my friend and said "I'm dying to see where this one goes." After a bit more talk on the subject:
What kind of horse? -- small is OK for a new couple, but you need bigger when you have children...
What color is common? -- White, sometimes with some red or green...
Do parents give the horse for the couple? -- No, too expensive...
After about 20 minutes of this baffling conversation (you would have seen SOMETHING on the Discovery channel about this. Right?) we found out that she was referring to a HOUSE. We all laughed a bit. Not at her imperfect pronounciation, but at our assumptions.
Truely, I found her conversation skills, for a young lady speaking her 2nd (I'm guessing that she can't speak others as fluently as English) language, quite impressive. She reminded me of royalty when she spoke.
Most people I met in China were naturally filled with dignity. They never placed themselves too high, but proved to be more than they believed themselves to be through manners, personality and inner beauty.
Dashanzi is a well-kept secret. Few taxi drivers even know of the place, yet it is less than a kilometre from the touruist hub of the Lido area.
Dashanzi is an old factory and power station area, which has become a focus for many new galleries, clubs, bars and restaurants.
It is centred around a former Bauhaus-style radio factory. An art gallery has been constructed in the shell, and a photo gallery (Beijing's best) in an annexe. In the collection of old brick buildings, huts and grimy industrial buildings a new arts complex is developing, unplanned, unstructured and unashamed.
So far, there are maybe 20 tenants, all at the cutting edge of the Beijing scene.
Getting there is very difficult unless you already have a good map.
From the Lido, complex turn right, then left at the lights bringing you to the Dashanzi roundabout, take the left turn onto Jiuxian Qiaolu (but not the road that takes you under the expressway to Wang Jing for those who know Wang Jing!), heading north. Immediately before the second pedestrian overbridge, turn down the lane to the right past some security guards (The lane is immediately before the tall Hong Yuan appartment complex) and head to the end of the road...maybe 300 metres.
Taxi drivers will know Jiuxian Qiaolu but it is a long road.