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Wandering about Nanluoguxiang
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09:56, July 08, 2009

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It's quite possible that Nanluoguxiang is one of the most famous Hutong districts in Beijing, and this is where my friend and I visited one bright Saturday this Summer.

Hutongs refer to the old style alleyways where large number of one-story courtyard houses are located in Beijing. Many of these areas are now protected in order to preserve their unique architecture.

Nanluoguxiang is one of these places, which has proved to be a mix of history, fashion and shops. No wonder it's a big hit with tourists �C especially the younger generation.

There are many bars in Nanluoguxiang. It's said that this area is the third most popular bar street in Beijing behind Sanlitun and Houhai. Some of the bars were not open when we visited since we came in the morning, but it's easy to imagine the scenes of singing, drinking and talking that must happen here every night. The smallest bar in Beijing is located here, covering an area of 12 square meters. Its name is "12 Square Meters".

Several shops in the area caught my attention with many selling unique gifts such as plates and coasters featuring artistic designs. There were also many other ornaments for sale including bottles, enamel cups and a selection of ornaments displaying Chairman Mao's image. All this contributed to the nostalgic atmosphere of the alley.

The old gate of Nan Luoguxiang is designed in the Qing Dynasty style. (CRI online Photo)

Nanluoguxiang is also an ideal place to eat with plenty of different establishments offering western food such as pizza and coffee. Chinese meals are also available. I had spicy grilled fish and chicken wings for lunch. Delicious!

If you visit Nanluoguxiang, make sure you don't miss the Wenyu Cheese Shop. Many people come here just for this reason. At 11:30 I saw about 10 people queuing up outside the door, thirty minutes before opening time. When I returned at 12:30, the line had increased to about 50 people. Red bean double-cream milk, cheese plain, and milk steamed roll are among their specialties -- and they are really tasty!

There are also many shops selling creatively designed T-shirts, displaying humorous designs. Many of these are designed by foreigners and wearing one makes you feel like a special person.

Nanluoguxiang is an alley of amazement and happiness. I fell in love with it at first sight, and love it even more after writing this report. If you came to Beijing, make sure you don't miss it.

Source: CRI online

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