With all the eating I have been doing on my Beijing holiday, I’ve been trying to squeeze in a couple runs a week to burn off excess calories.
The Sanlitun neighborhood that my sister lives in is not only known for its restaurants and bars but also for its embassies. Running around the tree-lined embassy streets is really nice since it’s not crowded with people nor congested with cars, cabs, and buses. The service roads are nice and wide and fairly shaded.
There’s also a nearby river bank that’s lush with greenery and spring bulbs like daffodils. Both sides of the river provides a nice running trail. Lots of fishermen can be seen casting their lines. I was told some people even swim in this river!
Unlike some of my more detailed restaurant and dining posts from Vietnam, I’m going to be brief with most of the places Wee Scotch and I ate at in Beijing because I have a feeling that if I don’t blog about them as soon as we visit them, they’ll never get posted and end up lost in the sea of draft posts.
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This week, here are some of the places we dined at:
One of the first restaurants we ate out at was a Yunnan restaurant called Middle 8. Yunnan is a province in southwestern China that borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.
I don’t know much about Yunnan cuisine (not to be confused with Hunan which is a different Chinese province) except that it can be quite spicy and, as you can see in the photos, all but one of the dishes that were ordered came with a good kick of spicy red pepper.
Middle 8th Restaurant: Bldg 8, Dong Sanlitun (in alley running east from 3.3 Mall), Zhongba Lou, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District, China. Tel: +86 10 6417 9395.
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My sister and I also went to a popular restaurant called Din Tai Fung for Shanghainese food where I experienced eating Xiao long bao for the first time and they are now my new favorite snack food.
These little morsels of steamed dumplings are not just filled with meat and veg but also broth so you have to be careful not to eat them steaming hot less you risk burning your mouth. Always served with thinly sliced fresh ginger and a sauce of black vinegar.
We ordered pork filled ones, crabmeat ones, and also mushroom filled ones. The meat ones were much tastier than the veg but I loved them all and so did Wee Scotch.
Craving noodles, I also ordered this bowl of shrimp and pork won ton with noodle soup:
And to balance out our meal with some vegetables, we ordered sauteed bean shoots and braised bean curd with black mushroom:
Din Tai Fung have a couple locations in Beijing. We went to the one inside the Parkview Green mall but there are a few others in Beijing.
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I love Chinese hot pot and we went one weekend and ordered a ying yang broth of half spicy and half non-spicy.
The Szechuan peppercorn that was used in the spicy broth was not just spicy but also mouth numbing – when the sensation of spiciness subsided, my mouth was still left with this tingling feeling that lasted for minutes as if someone held a mini vibrating machine to the top of my mouth.
Some of the more unusual items on the menu (for me) that could be ordered for self-cooking in the hot pot included pork brains (organic), yak livers and yak skewers.
I’m not exactly sure of the location but it was by the Workers’ Gymnasium close to Sanlitun.
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And two kind of food-related things that gave me great amusement whenever I saw them in Beijing:
(1) Alcohol being sold and served everywhere like supermarkets and bars on street corner.
Now this may be a normality for most people not living in Muslim countries like the UAE but every time I leave Dubai for a short holiday, it’s something that strikes me immediately as unusual until I get used to it again.
(2) This cute little kid-sized urinal and sink in the ladies bathroom. Perfect for Wee Scotch because he’s still too small to reach the adult sinks and he’s getting too heavy for me to hold up.
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*All photos take with iPhone 4S.