Beijing stuff - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


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karasu99
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"Beijing stuff" , posted Wed 16 Nov 01:45:post reply

So after everyone here gave me some great (if pornographic) options on what to do in Budapest a few years back, I thought I would seek the same wisdom about Beijing. I'm leaving in just a few days for a very brief week long trip to just Beijing (wanted to see Shanghai as well but there's no time at the moment). Of course I'm already aware of the obvious things (Tiananmen Square/Mao Mausoleum/Forbidden City/Summer Palace/Great Wall) but I was hoping someone from the cafe might suggest something out of the ordinary. Perhaps even game related? It was my one friend's suggestion that might encounter some Famiclones and bootleg carts but that's about all I've got. I've also read that many malls have upstairs arcades as well, but from what I've seen on Youtube and so on, it looks like they mostly have UFO Catchers equipped with video screens.

So... yeah, any suggestions would be great!

EDIT: KOF XIII will ship in the US while I'm away? NOOOOOOOOOO!






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[this message was edited by karasu99 on Wed 16 Nov 02:10]

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Maou
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"ruins explorers" , posted Wed 16 Nov 03:06post reply

My intel on Beijing is literally a decade old, I can at least offer an alternate take on the Great Wall if it's still allowed: the place is swarming with vendors trying to sell you dumb things, but if you forge ahead and make your way far along the wall, there are parts that (unsurprisingly after centuries) have crumbled away, leaving you at a dead end. Just hop down the pile of rubble and walk through to the inaccessible-to-the-less-intrepid-visitor sections of the wall. It's China, so nothing's blocked off and no one cares...unless the tone has changed! Or maybe we were just lucky.





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karasu99
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"Re(1):ruins explorers" , posted Wed 16 Nov 03:38post reply

quote:
It's China, so nothing's blocked off and no one cares...unless the tone has changed! Or maybe we were just lucky.


I'll definitely give it a shot! I've been a little down after hearing just how touristy the most touristy things are-- from what I've heard, MUCH worse than the worst tourist crap in Europe-- so your suggestion gives me some hope.

Also, someone else has pointed me to a few weird old temples here and there that should be interesting to visit, like the Dongyue Temple.






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nobinobita
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"Re(2):ruins explorers" , posted Wed 16 Nov 11:42:post reply

quote:
It's China, so nothing's blocked off and no one cares...unless the tone has changed! Or maybe we were just lucky.

I'll definitely give it a shot! I've been a little down after hearing just how touristy the most touristy things are-- from what I've heard, MUCH worse than the worst tourist crap in Europe-- so your suggestion gives me some hope.

Also, someone else has pointed me to a few weird old temples here and there that should be interesting to visit, like the Dongyue Temple.



Dude, Beijing is awesome! I was about to recommend some restaurants to ya, but then I remembered you're a vegetarian, so no Peking Duck, Donkey Stew, Lamb Skewers or Pissing Shrimp (Mantis Shrimp) for you! Fortunately there's literally thousands of other non meat dishes you can enjoy in China. I recommend getting some veggie Jiao-Tz (pot stickers) and Bao Tse. They should be all over the place every morning. Fresh soy milk and Youtiao is also one of the greatest joys in life:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5103/5621413560_69885508f4_z.jpg

If you're in a bind you can get it every morning at KFC!

I also recommend Dou Miao (snow pea leaves):
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_h4WhRR9lU8E/S9vuGOQqMpI/AAAAAAAAC48/nUDfnp4YdUQ/s400/IMG_1604.jpg

It's pronounced "doe" as in deer and "meow" like Meow Mix. It is the most delicious leafy green on earth, all you need is a little salt oil and garlic with it.

Eat as much tofu as you can too. Tofu is as complex and varied as Cheese.

Also keep an eye out for tea eggs (do you eat eggs?):
http://kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/upload/upfiles/2009-01/15/culturalchinafb86c11523e6686df5c1.jpg

Also watch out for the muslim noodle shops. They usually have a green sign and the workers wear hats and you can see them hand pulling noodles before serving. I got to know my local noodle chef when I was in China a while back and he told me that it took him a month of practice to learn the proper pulling technique. Can you imagine a minimum wage food service job in the US that requires a month of intense training?? It's pretty nuts. Really great and really cheap.

Oh! And drink lots of tea! And get a foot massage! And if you have time, get some clothes tailored!

As for sight seeing, avoid tour groups. See if you can hook up with a hip back packer. If you can find a part of the great wall that's more remote, it's really really worth traversing. It's beautiful. Makes you feel like you're in Shadow of the Colossus.

Also, if you're into the arts (and I know you are) you absolutely can't miss the 798 Art Zone:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/798_Art_Zone

It's a huge art district converted from the remains of old factories. There are tons of amazing artists out there. Often times you'll get to see them working right in their studios.

Haha, I hope my ramblings will be of some use to you.

You're in for an awesome treat!

take care! (and take lots of pictures!)






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[this message was edited by nobinobita on Wed 16 Nov 11:58]

karasu99
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"Re(3):ruins explorers" , posted Thu 17 Nov 08:04post reply

quote:

Dude, Beijing is awesome!

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions! I really appreciate the wealth of info! In looking at everything I found I'll have to try and find some Douzhi as well-- it sounds fantastically strange! I'm glad to see that there are some pretty amazing sounding breakfast options too.

This sounds more than anything else like it will be an eating extravaganza, despite my being vegetarian!






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Spoon
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"Re(3):ruins explorers" , posted Thu 17 Nov 10:15post reply

Comments about food:

Be aware that a variety of dried sea creatures, most often scallops, are considered ok for vegetarians in a lot of Chinese cuisine. This makes roughly as much sense as vegetarians in north america that are ok with eating fish, but whatever. Dried scallop is also considered a replacement for dried shark fin. Dried shrimp is an extremely common flavouring in Chinese cuisine, and many dishes contain fish sauce (which is a soy sauce like condiment that is derived from fish)... in short, be really careful if you have a shellfish allergy, or if you are strict vegetarian. However, in Cantonese, there is a word "sou" which is used to denote vegetarian cuisine, and so is also used to describe food which is ok for Buddhists to eat. I don't know the exact equivalent in Mandarin, but should you find it out it may be a useful word for you.

quote:
Fresh soy milk and Youtiao is also one of the greatest joys in life:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5103/5621413560_69885508f4_z.jpg


That particular deep-fried goody is also known in Cantonese by a name that literally means "oil fried ghost", and the name comes from a story about some treacherous nobles. There is quite a bit of variation in how it is, some being much breadier, and some being barely anything at all but crispiness. It is basically the single greatest most favourite thing to accompany congee (rice porridge) along with green onions and toasted peanuts. In various shops in America it is sometimes sold as "Chinese doughnut". It is dramatically less good to eat if it is even 1 day old.


quote:
I also recommend Dou Miao (snow pea leaves):
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_h4WhRR9lU8E/S9vuGOQqMpI/AAAAAAAAC48/nUDfnp4YdUQ/s400/IMG_1604.jpg



Make sure that you actually get Dou Miao when you ask for it; sometimes a place can run out and offer Choy Miao instead, which can be any other baby leafy green but isn't Dou Miao. Dou Miao has a slight bitterness to it that is very charming.

There is an enormous amount of bean curd and tofu derived stuff you can find in China. Some of it you might like, some of it you really, really won't. There are a variety of interesting funguses in Chinese cuisine that might look weird when you first see them in food, but are assuredly good to eat.
Stuff like "snow ear":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremella_fuciformis
(snow ear can be found in both savoury and dessert items)

"cloud ear":
http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/2007/10/treewood-ear-fungusmushroom.html

king oyster mushrooms:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleurotus_eryngii
(when served, these are typically sliced into pieces that really quite resemble savoury Nian Gao).

Nian Gao is another thing that comes in both savoury and dessert varieties. The name means "year cake", and it is made from glutinous rice. The savory version is usually pan fried with meats and vegetables and is like 2x more filling than regular noodles, while the sweet version is typically very brown, and can come pan fried with egg (which makes it WAY TASTY).

One of the things you are bound to run into are gluten... well, puffs? It goes by the name "mian jin" or in Cantonese something more like "mian gan", and in both cases the name means "noodle tendon". There are packaged flavoured versions that are snack foods, you can find it as an item in soups/hot pots...





nobinobita
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"Re(4):ruins explorers" , posted Thu 17 Nov 12:31post reply

quote:
Comments about food:

Be aware that a variety of dried sea creatures, most often scallops, are considered ok for vegetarians in a lot of Chinese cuisine. This makes roughly as much sense as vegetarians in north america that are ok with eating fish, but whatever. Dried scallop is also considered a replacement for dried shark fin. Dried shrimp is an extremely common flavouring in Chinese cuisine, and many dishes contain fish sauce (which is a soy sauce like condiment that is derived from fish)... in short, be really careful if you have a shellfish allergy, or if you are strict vegetarian. However, in Cantonese, there is a word "sou" which is used to denote vegetarian cuisine, and so is also used to describe food which is ok for Buddhists to eat. I don't know the exact equivalent in Mandarin, but should you find it out it may be a useful word for you.


It's the same in Mandarin. Found this video that should be quite handy!

http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Say--I-am-a-Vegetarian-in-Chinese-156095588

Spoon, if you're ever in SF we need to go pig out together. I'm a fungus fanatic. I love every mushroom you named there. I even have an oyster mushroom growing kit at home!

And man, China is the place to be if you love mushrooms (I've had this confirmed by a friend of mine who is a microbiologist)! So many different kinds!

My grandmother used to make this preserved mushroom dish called "Ji Zhong" (literally chicken mushrooms). They were these really long, stringy mushrooms preserved in oil. They turned black and had the texture of boiled chicken breast, but with the deep deep umami flavor of mushrooms. So good with fresh steamed Mantou. I haven't eaten it in two decades, but I still remember the taste like it was yesterday! TT___TT






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karasu99
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"Re(5):ruins explorers" , posted Tue 29 Nov 09:40post reply

So, for anyone who was following along and has even the slightest amount of interest, this turned into a really great trip where I got to eat piles of food, including just about everything everyone mentioned that I should try. I did, however, learn that while I might be saying things that I know for sure to mean one thing in Mandarin, my accent/face/pronunciation/??? prevented me from being understood well at all, so fortunately some kind strangers who had a bit of English, along with the marvel of showing phrases to people on the screen of my phone, allowed me to try lots of good stuff. I found, for instance, a great vegetarian buffet restaurant down the street from the Yonghe Temple that had I'm guessing at least 150 items! It's possible I encountered some fish sauce or egg, but it didn't seem like I did. Also, Beijing 7-11's follow the Japanese model, which was pretty cool.

I saw nothing relating to games whatsoever. I friend I spoke to while there promised to direct me to an arcade at a local mall, as well as a place that sold Chinese Famicom paraphernalia, but we got sidetracked.






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nobinobita
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"Re(6):ruins explorers" , posted Wed 30 Nov 05:50post reply

quote:

I saw nothing relating to games whatsoever. I friend I spoke to while there promised to direct me to an arcade at a local mall, as well as a place that sold Chinese Famicom paraphernalia, but we got sidetracked.



Glad you got to experience real Chinese food! I always tell my vegetarian friends how awesome it is, but they never really get a chance to experience it in the states.






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"Re(6):ruins explorers" , posted Mon 12 Dec 05:10post reply

I'm just reading this now, but I was in beijing at the same time. how curious!

I rode a toboggan down from the great wall. that was pretty good.





karasu99
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"Re(7):ruins explorers" , posted Mon 12 Dec 15:22post reply

quote:
I'm just reading this now, but I was in beijing at the same time. how curious!

I rode a toboggan down from the great wall. that was pretty good.


Hum, that is a crazy coincidence! I'm sure I would not have recognized you but I find it amusing to think that we somehow crossed paths while we were there in some odd cafe-relevant way.

Which section of the wall were you at? I was at Badaling and I saw a toboggan there but didn't ride it, preferring to hike out and back quite some way. Where were you?






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"Re(8):ruins explorers" , posted Tue 13 Dec 17:48post reply

hmm, I forget. somewhere!! there was... a wall. haha. man, I have no idea.