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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beijing Food Review

After my quick tour of the Forbidden City, in which I spent half of the time looking for my favorite glove...boohoo, I have small paws, so hard to find good glove... anyway, since I was freezing with only one glove in hand, I walked over to the neighborhood next the FC to get some warm hearty food... See the traditional hutong neighborhood to the left? Oh yeah, the Royal Archive is on the same street.

I stopped by a mom and pop shop and had some Wuxi little buns and a bowl of wonton soup for a whopping one dollar! Simple, tasty, everyday fare.

Here is mom and here is pop...

Next up, at the urging of D, I went to the famous Ghost Street in Beijing. It is so nicknamed because for a while workers with late shifts would go there to grab a bite after work... lots of restaurants on Ghost Street have these red lanterns hanging in front...very festive atmosphere...

Here is the inside of the restaurant we went to: the concept is traditional Beijing courtyard dining. I know it's hard to see. But in the summer, it is an open air restaurant. The main dining area is the courtyard, surrounded by private dining rooms, just like a Sihe Yuan, the traditional Beijing dwelling. Since it's winter time, the courtyard is enclosed by a high tin roof with heating lamps (like the ones we have in California) to keep diners warm.

BTW, menus in China are way better than the US, they are almost always laminated with pretty pictures of each dish...

There was even performance for the diners... here this guy is making knife shaved noodle while pedaling a unicycle and the guy standing is catching the shaved noodles... the dough is on his head.

Fooood... Mala Crayfish... lamb shanks... Mao Shue Wong (a spicy dish kind of like water boiled fish but with congealed blood and various innards instead of fish, so good I had it three times in Beijing)... and you get free plastic gloves for the super spicy crayfish.

Close up of Mala Crayfish and appetizers. The marinated bamboo shoot was surprisingly tender and refreshing... had a slightly sour taste to it.

I finished the meal with one of my favorite desserts: ice sugar hu lu... a traditional northern Chinese street sweet. Sort of like candied apples but with haw berries (a type of sour Chinese berries) coated with caramelized ice sugar, it has a perfect sweet and sour taste.

Here is another pictures of lots of Bin Tang Hu Lu, nowadays, they sometimes use strawberries and other types of fruits to make BTHL. When I was little, I remember seeing street peddlers carrying broom shaped sticks full of BTHL on their shoulders... I don't see them anymore.

....arrghh, it's getting late... Beijing food review to be continued tomorrow...