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Beijing, your trip to food heaven

by Ilona Chin  from Germany

Beijing, craving for snacks by Ilona Chin

To all the food dare devils, who are willing to try anything, Beijing is the answer to all prayers. I always say that Chinese people eat everything that fits on a stick. When you walk down Wang Fu Jing food street and you gaze into all the little stands that are filled with scorpions, cow stomach, BBQ gizzards, snake skin and much more you will discover that there isn’t anything that doesn’t fit on a stick, even the inedible. Before you fall in total shock by “the horror to your eyes, the killer for your stomach” story I must reassure you that this city is a food diamond in the price range for all. I have nibbled on a scorpion or two myself, but I am not adventurous when it comes to food at all. You don’t have to be! When it comes to good quality food in Beijing it’s present and deliciously affordable.

Beijing, early rise for breakfast  by Ilona Chin
The early rise for breakfast 
When in Beijing do what the Beijingers do. Eat! Set your alarm clock for an early morning rise, wipe the Beijing dust out of your eyes and head towards one of the small stands around the corner to order your Jian Bing, a panfried pancake with egg that can be ordered spicy or non spicy (La or bu la, if you use an exclamation mark to pronounce it they will probably understand you just fine). A vast range of street food, that can be found everywhere in the city, is the dream to everyone’s stomach. While chewing on that 50 cents of deliciousness walk towards Bei Hai park to watch the older Chinese people practising tai chi, a true feast to your early zen eyes. If you are staying within the first ring road, where you will find most of the historical tourist attractions such as the Forbidden City, Drum-and Bell tower and Tian An Men Square, you will soon discover that walking from one cultural site to another is not really an option, unless you are training for a marathon. When you are not afraid of some challenging traffic rules I would strongly recommend renting a bike and start exploring. After watching Tai chi at Bei Hai park go to the Forbidden city early to avoid the massive Chinese tourist crowds.
Beijing, Wang Fu Jing snackstreet  by Ilona Chin
Craving for snacks
This city is not your classical beauty, and if you are looking to get swept of your feed by romantic clean fresh breathtaking sites you are looking in all the wrong places.
Beijing is not the city of love, but better known as the city you’ll love and hate at the same time. Nevertheless classical beauty can be boring and once you’ve fallen in love, and that will happen, her hidden beauty will reveal itself. One of the great things about this city is its richness in historical sites and the food that can be found around these places. Eating while exploring is the best way to go isn’t it? Most of the time your snack of choice looks like an art piece itself. Don’t be hesitant to try Tanghulu, candied fruit on a stick, that demands some careful chewing to preserve ones teeth. In Beijing’s city centre you will find many street food stands at Wang Fu Jing snack street and the small old style streets around Houhai. Allow yourself the pleasure to wander and get lost in Hutongs, the typical endless Chinese style alleys.
Craving for snacks, Hutong by Ilona Chin
Only have lunch if fits inside a bowl
Beijing, China’s capital city, is not only rich in history and known for its palaces and temples, but it’s also the place to go wild on your bowl of noodles. Visit the Lama temple, also known as Yong He Gong, to have your sniff of culture and serenity. The building work of this temple started during the Qing dynasty and it’s the place to find the world largest Buddha. End your tour at Xian Lan Man, a place where the locals eat to have your tasty bowl of noodles. If you are brave enough to eat amongst the locals, be prepared to sit closely to your loudly slurping neighbour who has most likely picked up food noises as a form of art. The noodle culture in this city presents noodles in all sizes, with many spices, hot or cold, spicy or sweet and sour. Seek it and you will find it.
 Only if it fits inside a bowl in Lama temple by Ilona Chin
Dinner tastes better with chopsticks
The huge variety of dishes in the Chinese kitchen makes dinner in Beijing truly the gift that keeps on giving. If you are a meat lover, it would be a crime leaving without tasting the famous Peking duck at Da Dong Kao Ya. If you are a vegetarian it would even be a bigger crime leaving the city without having diner at Pure Lotus, a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant that raises your mind and stomach to a higher state of consciousness. These pieces of food art look so real that in my mind I started to question if I wasn’t actually chewing on meat. There is a chance that all these mouthwatering dishes put you in a food coma right away, but if you still have some energy left to explore Beijing night life you can have a toast to the city at the bars around San Li Tun, go to workers stadium to dance the night away at Mix or its competitive brother Vics, or enjoy Beijing’s stunning night view at Xiu bar.
Beijing by Ilona Chin
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