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Beijing dining


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#61 jo-mel

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 09:47 AM

Pan -- While in Beijing, see if you can find JianBing, on the streets. I mean -- it is not on the street ---it is street food. The vendor will have his own cart with a big griddle on which he pours a batter, covers it with egg, scallions, hot stuff, then rolls it up. Wonderful!! (cheap!)

#62 Gary Soup

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 10:09 AM

Pan -- While in Beijing, see if you can find JianBing, on the streets. I mean -- it is not on the street ---it is street food. The vendor will have his own cart with a big griddle on which he pours a batter, covers it with egg, scallions, hot stuff, then rolls it up. Wonderful!! (cheap!)

Here's a mini-tutorial/demonstration of jian bing-making in Beijing:

"Chinese Crepes"

#63 Pan

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for the info, Lucy, Joanne, and Gary!

I suspect we're likely to stick to Chinese food while in Beijing, but it wouldn't surprise me if we have some Korean food when we're in Jilin province.

My brother has apparently taken care of the hotel, or so I hear.

What is the whey that's served from carts on the streets of Beijing called in Mandarin? (I'm guessing the whey is still served from carts there?)

#64 jo-mel

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 08:10 PM

Pan -- While in Beijing, see if you can find JianBing, on the streets. I mean -- it is not on the street ---it is street food. The vendor will have his own cart with a big griddle on which he pours a batter, covers it with egg, scallions, hot stuff, then rolls it up. Wonderful!! (cheap!)

Here's a mini-tutorial/demonstration of jian bing-making in Beijing:

"Chinese Crepes"

Thanks for that, Gary! Is that Ditty Deamer's site? It's been a long time since I visited her pages. They are wonderful!

I never had the you tiao on the jian bing, but just the plain with egg, scallions, & chili was wonderful. (wrapped in paper, of course)

#65 Gary Soup

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for that, Gary! Is that Ditty Deamer's site?  It's been a long time since I visited her pages. They are wonderful!

It sure is.

It's been a long time since she updated any of her pages. I have no idea what she's up to these days.

#66 bleudauvergne

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 07:44 AM

Pan, if you ask your brother what hotel you;re staying in in Beijing, I can think about the places we used to go in the vicinity of the hotel, if I know the area.

L

#67 Pan

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 10:43 PM

Thanks, Lucy. Would you believe he booked the Novotel Peace Beijing at 3 Jinyu Hutong
WANGFUJING? We're staying in a French hotel in Beijing! :wacko: Not my choice, but if that's what they want...

#68 Boris_A

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 11:29 PM

Early in the trip, try to get to Ritan park which is near the Embassies, where in the park there's a fine little restaurant that serves traditional dishes.

I strongly second that. It's at the NE corner of the Ritan park: the Xihe Yaju restaurant.
I was invited there by a Chinese/Spanish couple living for 10 years now in Beijing.
Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

#69 Pan

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 11:44 PM

Thanks, Boris. When were you last in Beijing? Have you ever been to the Northeast of China?

#70 Boris_A

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 12:44 AM

1997, sigh. But when I saw Lucys recommendation, I couldn't resist. I liked this place very much, not only for food, but for atmosphere as well. And Beijing aside, I visited the southwest :smile:
Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

#71 bleudauvergne

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 06:42 AM

Wangfujing is a nice place to be, Pan, centrally located. It's historically a marketplace, and they've recently done a lot of development in the area. You'll be between Tian Tan, The Temple of Heaven (where I used to walk a lot and one of my favorite parks in Beijing - I lived in Fang Zhuang just on the south side of the inner canal south of Tian Tan) and the Ancient south gate of the Emperor's palace, located in Wangfujing itself. To the north of the "gate" is Tiananmen Square. You'll be right in the middle of everything, very nice.

I have fond memories of exploring dirty little hutongs in Wangfujing and small alleyways within which are located many little shops and places to find bargains. From what I can see in some of the recent pictures, they may have razed the area and rebuilt - because a few years agon it was not the modern shopping area it's being showcased as now. Oh well. :unsure:

I've been thinking that you'll want to visit the Lao She teahouse. It's a place where you can get classic chinese tea snacks and see a Chinese opera performance. I liked it very much.

Lao She Teahouse
Address: Qianmen Xi Dajie, Bldg 3, 3rd Floor
Phone: 63036830, 63046334

I'll post more as I think of it. :smile:

#72 Gary Soup

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 09:12 AM

I've been thinking that you'll want to visit the Lao She teahouse.  It's a place where you can get classic chinese tea snacks and see a Chinese opera performance.  I liked it very much. 

It's somewhat ironic that the teahouse is a tribute to Lao She, who was driven to drown himself in a nearby pond by the Red Guards.

#73 Pan

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 04:42 PM

Thanks, Lucy! We very much plan on attending a performance of real traditional Beijing Opera. I was unable to find any in 1987...

#74 hzrt8w

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 02:29 AM

Guilin is famous for thin rice noodles (in soup). They are very close to Vietnamnese Pho. (I think it's because of the geographical proximity). Noodle soup vendors are everywhere along major streets, but some of them did not look as clean and tidy.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#75 hzrt8w

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 02:45 AM

I'm looking at possible day trips from Changchun to Jilin city, Shenyang, or/and Harbin. Any recommendations of eateries in those cities would be most welcome!

ShenYang: I was in ShenYang in January of 87, just once. ShenYang is a industrial city with many heavy machinery plants. Not much to tour and look at except the old Qing capital (before they settled in BeiJing). Air quality is terrible... comparable to Detroit.

I remember there was a major street near the train station where at night, all kinds of food vendors set up their kiosks selling their food. I bought some Braised Beef (dry). They sold them by whole pieces. I bought some (in 0F weather) and brought them back to my hotel and sliced them up and ate as snacks around midnight... hmmm, best thing in the world... along with some Snow Flake beer (sorry, no Tseng Tao that time)... The hotel didn't provide refrigerators, so I kept my bottles of beer just outside my window and let the real snow flakes chilled my Snow Flake beer!

Also, there was (hopefully it's still there) a big old hotel (forgot the name, ShenYang Hotel maybe), the one and only that had old Russian architecture, about 1 mile from the train station... I was very impressed with the hotel decoration. Ate at their restaurant on the ground floor. Very impressed with the food (Chinese, northern style).

Also ate a lamb hot pot at 0F weather in a small mom-and-pop restaurant (4 tables only) randomly chosen while walking on the street. Very nice.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#76 Hest88

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:18 AM

I've been following thread with great interest since my parents are taking us to Beijing next year.

Does anyone have any opinion on the area around the Marco Polo hotel, on the opposite side of Tiananmen Square from Wangfujing? I wanted to be on the Wangfujing side but I was told the area around the Marco Polo hotel is just as bustling and interesting.

#77 Gary Soup

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 09:44 AM

ShenYang:  I was in ShenYang in January of 87, just once.  ShenYang is a industrial city with many heavy machinery plants.  Not much to tour and look at except the old Qing capital (before they settled in BeiJing).  Air quality is terrible... comparable to Detroit.

If Shenyang's air quality is comparable to Detroit's, it's probably better than most big cities in China!

Actually, it's probably improved since then, if they've banned the use of coal stoves for cooking like they did in Shanghai.

Shenyang happens to be the home town of Gong Li. :wub:

#78 Laksa

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 10:15 AM

Thanks, Lucy! We very much plan on attending a performance of real traditional Beijing Opera. I was unable to find any in 1987...

Michael, have you experienced traditional Chinese opera before? If you haven't, it should be a real ear-opener. :biggrin:

IMHO, Chinese opera is less accessible to the modern day Chinese person than Italian opera is to the modern day American. I cannot stand Chinese opera myself. It hurts my ears! I like the costumes and make-up though...

#79 herbacidal

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 01:20 PM

Actually, it's probably improved since then, if they've banned the use of coal stoves for cooking like they did in Shanghai.

If they've banned it, that's all well and good, but are they enforcing it?

Back in 1997, Chongqing seemed very grimy and dirty too, but I've never been to Dongbei (Manchuria/Northeastern part of China) so I can't compare it.
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#80 Pan

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 01:24 PM

Michael, have you experienced traditional Chinese opera before?

Yes, I have. I like it a lot!

#81 jo-mel

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:17 PM

~~~~~~~~~ traditional Chinese opera before?  If you haven't, it should be a real ear-opener. 

LOLOL!

DaTong, NW of Beijing, on the Mongolian border has its grimy parts, too. But as in all Chinese cities, there are many memorable areas. They have a 9 Dragon Wall there. And the Hanging Temple that is a 'must see' if you are in the ares. It's an overnight train trip.

One other North of Beijing city -- Chengde, had no grimy areas that I could see. FULL of historic places, tho. Lovely place! That one is a few hours train trip. But there is so much to see there that it needs more than a day.

#82 Pan

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 07:27 PM

Joanne, based on your remarks, I Googled on Chengde. Looks beautiful! It looks like it might have worked as a stopover on the way to Changchun if I had taken the train, but I think my brother booked a round-trip flight from Beijing to Changchun.

#83 Gary Soup

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 08:14 PM

If they've banned it, that's all well and good, but are they enforcing it?

They certainly are. When the Shanghai Municipal Government decides to ban something, it gets banned. I'm talking about home cooking, using coal, which typically was kept burning all day. The few older households that haven't been relocated into new residences have been retrofitted for gas (bottled, where need be).

There are still street vendors using charcoal (this either isn't banned or the ban is not enforced) but it's a minor source of pollutants compared with a few million households cooking all their meals on coal.

#84 herbacidal

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:17 PM

If they've banned it, that's all well and good, but are they enforcing it?

They certainly are. When the Shanghai Municipal Government decides to ban something, it gets banned. I'm talking about home cooking, using coal, which typically was kept burning all day. The few older households that haven't been relocated into new residences have been retrofitted for gas (bottled, where need be).

There are still street vendors using charcoal (this either isn't banned or the ban is not enforced) but it's a minor source of pollutants compared with a few million households cooking all their meals on coal.

I was actually speaking about Shenyang, but it's interesting that Shanghai has decided to do that.
Polishing things up before the in case 2008 Olympic visitors decide to swing on down through town, I'd imagine.

So coal stoves are illegal in Shanghai, eh?
Anyone know if they're still used in the factories around China?

That huge natural resource has to be used somewhere.

Edited by herbacidal, 16 July 2004 - 11:19 PM.

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#85 chengb02

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 05:02 AM

Not sure where exactly the Marco Polo Hotel is, but the "bustling" area on the other side of Tiananmen (a bit further than Wangfujing) would be Xidan. The Novotel is a pretty good hotel in a very good location, facing the Peninsula Palace hotel. It is just a bit down the street from Xin Dong An, the shopping mall that ancors one end of the Wangfujing pedestrian area.
In Shenyang, the main tourist sights are (in no particular order): the 9/18 Memorial Museum (the date Japan invaded Manchuria), the Shenyang Forbidden City, the Zhang family mansion, and the 2 Shenyang Qing Tombs (Bei Ling-North Tomb: the most popular), and (Dong Ling-East Tomb). There are two marginal tourist sights, one being Shi Fu Guang Chang (City Government Square) and the other being the giant Mao statute. These all could be done in 2-3 days. The air in Shenyang isn't quite as bad anymore, but it isn't great either. The nicer western hotels can be had at around 400-500 RMB a night or less. A recommendation would be the Trader's Hotel which is relatively well located in the city center. A must hit is Laobian Dumplings as well as some of the little places around the Shenyang Forbidden City. I have a few more recommendations if interested.
One possibility might be instead of doing Shenyang, go four hours (by train) further east and hit Dalian. It is a lovely city with unbelievably clean air (a true rarity) and good beaches. It also has a great golf course (if you are so inclined).
Harbin is where my family is from and I wish I could say its a happening town where weeks could be spent, but thats not the case. However, there are some really interesting sites in the city (namely the old cathedral, the NE tiger park, and the old architecture in the city center).
There were some questions that I didn't get to (and some other comments I wish to add), but I just returned from Beijing tonight(well last night now) (the reason I haven't been online much lately) and have many things on my mind. If you haven't left yet, I would be glad to offer any more help I could, I am a "lao beijing ren" who was away for awhile, but over the past few years, have spent about half the year in Beijing.

#86 Pan

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 10:55 AM

Thank you, chengb02! I'd love to visit Dalian, but I think it'll be impossible on this trip, as we'll be based in Changchun for the 2nd half of it and Dalian is truly a long day's trip (7-8 hours) by any type of surface transport. No, I haven't yet left for Beijing. I'll be leaving next Wednesday (August 11) and coming back to New York on August 27. We're spending 9 nights in Beijing and then flying to Changchun on the 21st, flying back from Changchun to Beijing (and then back eventually to New York) on the 26th.

I don't know for sure whether we'll make it to Shenyang or not, though I'm definitely interested; a friend of my mother's recommended Harbin, in fact, so it seems very likely we'll visit there (perhaps staying overnight). Regardless, I'd love any further recommendations you'd like to give. Even if I can't use them, someone else might be able to, down the line.

#87 jo-mel

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 03:48 PM

Pan -- Please, please---- keep a food log!?

Chengbo -- I've never been to Harbin, but I was with some students from there. It was at Dartmouth, just a few days after Tian'An Men. We were all cooking together, and after we ate, some of the girls started to sing, or recite poetry. One girl sang "On the SongHua River". I get chills, even now, thinking of the emotion she poured into that beautiful, sad piece of music. I never think of Harbin without that memory coming back.

To keep this on a food theme. The dinner we had that night was, of course wonderful and included a shredded potato dish that I'd had in Beijing -- something you won't find in any take-out here. It had Sichuan Pepper it and is as easy as can be. Anyone know or want the recipe?.

#88 Pan

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 08:12 PM

Joanne, I doubt I'll keep a complete food log, but I'm sure I'll post about some of my meals.

#89 hzrt8w

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 12:29 AM

Joanne, I doubt I'll keep a complete food log, but I'm sure I'll post about some of my meals.

Maybe snap a few digitals and post for us to look at the real Beijing food.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#90 chengb02

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Posted 05 August 2004 - 02:18 AM

To keep this on a food theme. The dinner we had that night was, of course wonderful and included a shredded potato dish that I'd had in Beijing -- something you won't find in any take-out here. It had Sichuan Pepper it and is as easy as can be. Anyone know or want the recipe?.

the dish you mentioned is called "tu dou xie" and is an excellent and simple dish made of very thinly sliced potato (julienned?) and usually also some equally thin slices of green and/or red pepper. It then typically includes some soy sauce or Chinese vinegar and sometimes some Sichuan peppercorns, an excellent, simple Northern dish. As for recipes, I can't really help, I myself need to learn a lot more...