Archive for the ‘beijing’ Category


Beijing in the Winter is COLD.  I went to visit a few friends and my cousin in December and got to cram all the sights into just a few days.  In addition to sights, I also had to try everything that Beijing was known for in the food world.  I made sure I went junk food shopping to grab all the different snacks they have there but aren’t offered in the US.  Lays chips company has a bajillion flavors there and many of the same flavors like their bbq flavored chips seem to taste better.  There was a green tea one that I tried a few months ago, but they’ve long since discontinued it. 

There was a huge selection of jelly candies that one can buy by the pound so I decided to get one of all the ones that looked good and try them before deciding on which flavors/types to buy in bulk.  There are yogurt flavored ones, ones that are filled with fruit, and ones that have two different flavor layers.  If you’ve seen the selection at your local Ichiban, it doesn’t come close to comparing to the selection in Beijing. 


I don’t know why but I’m a really big fan of ramen noodles.  My cousins are always going on and on about how much more flavorful the ones in China are compared to the ones we get imported here.  I’ve tried some the previous time I went and admit they are good.  Thus, I was on a hunt to find some to bring back with me to the states.  Sadly, I was informed that the good ramen only exists in the Southern part of China- Beijing ramen is actually a disappointment.  Though, upon my cousin’s recommendation, I did try a ramen bowl.  This one comes with a package of dry ingredients and another with wet ingredients and meat!  Preserved meat!  This definitely isn’t from Nissin!  So the meat tasted weird and fake, but the noodles and broth were actually very good and flavorful. 

ramen  ramen

Beijingers are known for hot potting or shabu shabu.  The long cold winters are perfect for people to huddle over a boiling pot of water for hours at a time.  I had hotpot about two – three times on this trip alone.  It was great.  There are places where each person gets an individual hot pot, which is great for people like me with food allergies.  There are others, like the one below, which are more upscale and presentation, ambience, and quality of ingredients are key.   

hot pot hot pot's pot
meat hot pot

I also had a spicy hot pot at Chamate (cha = tea in Chinese).  It’s a leisurely tea saloon with tons of magazines for patrons and a pretty comprehensive fooding menu.  I went with the vegetarian hot pot with spicy broth- yes, like the well known Korean dish, but in hot pot form.  I wanted to taste flower tea so I had sunflower with some type of bitter tea leaves.  Flowers used in flower teas are mostly just for show, they are pretty flavorless so it is always recommended to brew a flower tea with some regular tea.

chamate flower tea
hot pot noods close up hot pot noods

 Of course, no trip to Beijing is ever complete without some Peking duck.  I visited the only peking duck place worth mentioning; QuanJuDe.  The peking duck is centered on the skin and not the meat.  The skin is usually crispy and the layer of fat between the skin and the meat is turned into an almost glutinous form, transforming the taste and texture.  One wraps the skin in rice paper, dresses it up with cucumber, sugar, onions and hoisin sauce and roll it up like a fajita and eats it.  I knew the duck wouldn’t be enough so we ordered a spicy chicken dish and some asparagus and mushroom.  They also have a selection of fresh fruit juices- I had the apple.

quanjude quanjude inside
asparagus and mushrooms chicken
apple juice condiments for duck
peking duck peking duck skin

I tried a few other Beijing specialities.  I had my cousin go on a field trip and gather me up some of Beijing’s famous eats.  The chrysallis silkworm is one of them.  Yes, I did physically eat a worm.  It’s gross, I know.  Talk about exotic foods, eh?  These things are really popular and expensive in Japan because they’re rumored to be really good for one’s health.  Anyways, this was a stuffed fried crysallis – I forget with what, but it wasn’t good.  There’s really no way to describe it.. the skin was just salty and crunchy, but the stuffing was a bit bitter and overly salty.  The inside was also kind of soggy, which put me off.  The fried eggs that accompany it were good though, if a bit over salty.  I also tried the Beijing style Shanghainese noodles.  It’s basically noodles with a meat satay [ja-jern] sauce.  Very yummy even if the sauce is unidentifiable to me.  There were lettuce and veggies on the bottom, which isn’t usually included in the Shanghai style.

silk crysalis noods with satay sauce

Before I left to catch my flight, I ordered in some breakfast.  I got some congee and roast pork wrapped in noodles.  I love roast pork and noodles like that, but they rarely offer this in the states.  Usually, it’s either beef or shrimp. 

congee cha siew churn

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