Beijing treats - Crosstalk to rolling donkey (2)

15:22, July 11, 2011      

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Apart from crosstalk, there are many other ways to enjoy Beijing's culture and charm.

It is said that Beijing's hutongs are a microcosm of daily life and culture.

In recent years, a rickshaw hutong tour has become popular with tourists as a way to experience the tranquillity and flavor of life in old Beijing.

Once there were vast tracts of hutongs and traditional courtyard dwellings behind walls, but almost all are gone, making way for modern Beijing, just as almost all of Shanghai's shikumen (stone-gated) buildings were razed.

You can find a lot of surprising restaurants tucked away in hutongs. Liqun Roast Duck is one of them, located in a siheyuan (traditional four-sided courtyard) residence east of Tian'anmen Square. It offers a warm and authentic experience.

Guests can see how ducks are roasted in the brick oven and then devour one - virtually everything but the bones are edible.

The crispy, fatty, aromatic duck meat is usually eaten with pancakes, spring onions and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. Other parts of the duck - liver, eggs, tongue, feet - are also served. Bones are boiled and made into soup with Chinese watermelon and cabbage.

Owing to its family-like atmosphere, the restaurant has attracted many Chinese celebrities, foreign tourists and diplomats. The chef used to work for the famous restaurant Quan Ju De. To ensure that the taste is authentic and the quality high, only around 50 ducks are served every day. Reservations are required.

Many other Beijing dishes and tasty treats are available on Qianmen Street and at the Donghuamen Snack Night Market.

Beijing has more than 200 kinds of snacks, usually combining flavors of various nationalities, such as Han, Meng, Man, Hui as well as court snacks from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

For instance, the "rolling donkey" (lu da gun) is a kind of cake made with steamed glutinous millet or steamed sticky rice, filled with red beans and then drizzled with fried bean flour.

After it is cut into blocks, the cake is rolled in soybean flour - like a donkey rolling in the ground and raising dust.

Mung bean milk (dou zhi) is another famous snack, made with the fluid remaining in the process of making mung bean noodles. It tastes sour with a tinge of sweetness. It's commonly accompanied by a few Chinese-style pickles.

Tips

>The crosstalk performance schedule, theater address and ticketing information are available at www.guodegang.org. Tickets are very popular and need to be booked in advance.

>Reservations are required at Liqun Roast Duck.

>Both Qianmen Street and Donghuamen Snack Night Market are pedestrian-only streets. Shops close at 10pm.

How to get there

By air:

China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines fly daily nonstop from Shanghai to Beijing. The flight is around two hours.

By train:

The Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway has started operation. Tickets for trains running at 300kph are 555 yuan for second-class and 1,750 yuan for top class. Tickets for 250kph trains are 410 yuan for second-class seats to 650 yuan for first-class.

There will be 63 pairs of trains running at 300kph every day, cutting travel time to around four hours and 50 minutes. Another 27 pairs of trains running at 250kph make the trip in around eight hours.Source: Shanghai Daily
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(Editor:张茜)

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