Beijing Day 2: Tiananmen Square

Note: This post is written by Suanne. Ben’s comments are in quotes.

It was a wet morning when I woke up the next morning. What is better for breakfast than a hot bowl of sour and spicy noodle soup?

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We had breakfast at Ben’s favourite noodle shop. It is a 24-hour noodle shop. We ventured out early to beat the crowd in Tiananmen Square. The noodle is handmade and we can see the chef at work. The sour and spicy soup is very appetizing.

A combo which comes with a soft drink and a marinated egg is RMB22 (about $3.70). One thing for sure, the noodle here tastes better than those in Vancouver. Not sure why? Perhaps, the flour or the seasoning in the flour, or because it’s freshly hand-made.

The noodle shop is called Malan. It is really nothing fancy and is one of the many chain noodle restaurants around. What I like most about the restaurant was that they pull the noodle only when you order it. So it takes a while to get it made even.

I agree with Suanne. The noodles in China is much much better than the ones we had in Vancouver. I still don’t know why. For me, in Vancouver, I normally notice the broth and the ingredients. The noodles are just, well, noodles. But here in Beijing, I find that I take note of the noodles more than I do everything else.

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My first glimpse of the red wall of the Forbidden City. After breakfast, we took a slow walk to the Donganmen; one of the entrance to the Forbidden City.

The suite that I had been staying in for the past few months are just minutes walk away from the Forbidden City.

I wanted to not to show Suanne the Forbidden City. I want to leave it on for a day when she is not too tired. I mean, she just got to Beijing yesterday. I know she is tired and despite her excitement, she is dealing with jet lag.  She does look tired, isn’t she? 🙂

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The above are some of the scenes outside the Forbidden City which is separated by a moat and tall wall.

I wanted to bring Suanne to walk by the walls of the Forbidden City through the side entrance. It is a lot more beautiful here and a lot more quieter. The Forbidden City has four entrances. This eastern entrance is called Donghuamen.

Too bad we did not have a picture of the Donghuamen gate. This is the gate where the concubines of the Emperor enters the Forbidden City for live long servitude. Once the concubines enters the Donghuamen Gate, they will forever stay and never leave the Forbidden City.

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The above is Wu Men or the Meridian Gate. It is the first entrance to the Forbidden City. I remembered it’s name because … (more…)

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Beijing Day 1: Wangfujing

Ben’s suite is just around the corner from Wangfujing Street. Location wise, this is perhaps a great place to stay as it is very central in Beijing.

Wangfujing Street is Beijing’s popular shopping street. It’s like Robson Street in Vancouver or Times Square in New York.

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The name Wangfujing means the Well of the Prince’s Mansion. During the Qing Dynasty, this street is where a number of residences of princes were located. Right in the middle of Wangfujing is a well famous for the sweetness of the water.

That well is no longer there. All that is left today is the marker above.

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Wangfujing Street is lined with malls and plazas. Many of the famous departmental stores were first opened on this street. The more famous of which is the Dongan Department Store and the Wangfujing Department Store.

Part of the street is pedestrian only. It’s very wide and spacious. It is bustling with people most of the time. So it was exciting to walk the street everyday.

The street is not long. Maybe it is about 300 meters or so.

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Wangfujing  Snack Street is almost famous for it’s night food market. You’ll find all sorts of street food there. But it is mostly a tourist trap.

You can even catch a live …  (more…)

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Beijing Day 1: Fish Tray and Dessert

After a nap in the afternoon from a long tiring flight, I was refreshed and ready for more food adventures. Ben wanted me to rest some more but I was just too excited. I did not come all the way to Beijing to just sleep!

Ben brought me to the Oriental Mall at the south end of Wangfujing for dinner. It was a good idea going there because there are so many restaurants and all of them look so good to me. And they were all packed with customers which tells me that the food must be good.

It was so hard to decide … Sichuanese? Mala Pot? Hairy Crabs? Macau? Cantonese? Ben wanted me to choose one but I don’t know. I want to try every single one!

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Ben actually knows what he wants me to try but he wanted to bring me around the mall and the section called Gourmet Street. The mall is huge. The length of the building spans two subway stations.

The restaurant that we went to specializes in food served in a tray. It’s all in one tray kind of food.

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I like that they serve sunflower seeds for customer to snack on while you wait for your dishes. It takes a while for the food to be prepared and so it is quite common for these sort of restaurants to serve snacks like these.

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We opted for a Fish Tray. The fish tray is pricier than the other meat. It was RMB210 (about $35) which was expensive for Beijing’s standards. BTW, what do you call this type of dish/restaurant in Chinese? Anyone know?

The fish is charged by weight while other meat like frog leg is fixed price. A fish is at least 2 kg. There were lots of stuff in the tray like seaweed, mushrooms, peppers, wood ears, tofu, etc. These are cheap extras that you can add to the fish tray.

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It was spicy and numbing hot. For those who loves Sichuanese Cuisine, this is something they will love. The tray was heated with some charcoal at the bottom. So, the food is always hot.

This is something you need at least two people to eat, sharing style.

We had tried this before. The only place in Vancouver that serves a similar dish is at the … (more…)

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Going To Beijing

The much anticipated moment has arrived. It had been almost two months since I saw Ben and now I am visiting him in Beijing.

It was time to go to the airport. The flights to Asia are mostly red eye flights. I am not sure why it is almost always red eye flights. Anyone knows why?

My flight departed at 2:50 AM. So, I had to be in the airport before midnight. I took a cab from home to the airport. Although the distance is just about 10 km, the trip costs $30, including tips. Anyway, just remember this $30. I went to the airport early just to make sure I did not miss anything and in case I need to rush home to get anything. Every thing did go smoothly!.

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There were two meals on the direct flight to Beijing on Air China. The first meal is a breakfast. I opted for western breakfast which the main item is an omelet. The other option was Chinese and it’s main item was porridge. The meal was ok.

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The second meal I had was beef with noodles. I did not finish the food because Ben reminded me to save some room for Beijing breakfast. Yeah, he was telling me all of the places that he wanted to bring me to eat. I was excited to say the least.

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I arrived very early at 5:30 AM. The airport was not busy at that time. It was the first time … (more…)

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