Friday, May 25, 2012

Of the food of Beijing;

My main source of food in China was street food. It is delicious, cheap, and, if you can make the right choices, it won't leave you sick after eating. My hostel in Beijing was in the Sanlitun district of the city. The area had some big shopping malls, but best of all there was a street a block from my hostel filled with line of small restaurants. After it gets dark, the small charcoal grills come out and the streets are filled with the smell of all sorts of grilled meats. My favorite spot was where there were two tiny shops with two little tables out front. One shop was a bakery with all sorts of breads filled with peppers and greens. The other shop usually had a big stack of steam trays cooking away. I stopped a number to times to get a snack to eat. For less than a dollar I could get a tray of steamed meat dumplings or a pile of tasty baked goods.

This was my favorite place. You can seen the steam-trays, but the bakery is so small you can't even see it tucked away behind the other businesses.
What I would get from the bakery. The top thing is a packet of braised greens. The bottom one is a bread with hot peppers and seasonings folded into the dough.
From the steam place you could get the humbow or the dumplings filled with the usual unidentifiable ground meat mixture you find all over China. Then you put a scoop of hot chili slurry in your little dish and mix it up with the vinegar so you have a nice spicy mix to dip your steamed goods into.
I also heard that the dried fruits in China are good. They were tasty, but I couldn't figure out what any of them were.
One of the foods Beijing is best known for is its Peking duck. There are restaurants all over the city that sell whole ducks cooked-up with super crispy skin. After watching the sun set from a temple complex with pagodas and pavilions representing the five tastes, two other travelers and I went to find a place to enjoy this Beijing delicacy.

Our server chopping the duck up in front of us.
You put the duck on a small thin pancake, add a few pieces of green onion, and add a sweet sauce before rolling it up and eating it.
We also ordered up some duck liver pate and something called Monkey Head Mushroom Soup. We were all disappointed when we didn't get a big monkey head floating in a bowl. It was just like any other soup.

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