Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Best Thing about Beijing is...


 
Peking Duck of course!!!!! It's so amazing! I got to have it both times I visited Beijing and I stuffed myself until my stomach hurt. I literally had a belly for the rest of the trip.
 
Peking Duck (Peking was the old way to say Beijing) has been around since the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and is considered the national dish of China. That is not to say that people haven't been roasting duck in ovens since before then. Special ducks are bred to be cooked this way. What's special about this dish is that the skin is very thin and crispy and it's often eaten in a pancake with scallions and sauce.
 
In the restaurants the cooks will cut the duck in front of you as part of a show.
 
Here's the pancake with scallions and sauce. It looks like a crepe, yes...and my focus was way off.
 
Thankfully there are no pictures taken of me eating this, because I'm really fanatical about my Peking duck. If you ever get a chance to try it (even if it's not in China) please do!

What I think about Beijing, China





So I've been to Beijing two times...and quite a few years apart as you can tell by my hair. What I think of China is always going to be biased by my intrinsic quality of not being Asian- so a lot of the culture I don't understand quite yet. It's also going to be biased by my time in Taiwan where the culture is similar but manners are completely different.

My first impression of Beijing is always the buildings- big, short, stark rectangle shapes (Communist style architecture). The city is so spread out that you HAVE to take a taxi or subway everywhere. Hopefully the only places you want to go are near a subway station because taxis are few and hard to come by. Usually someone's already waiting for a taxi before you...or they take the taxi you're hailing. There's not very many patches of green- maybe the pollution destroyed all the vegetation. That's another big thing- pollution. When I went the second time I especially noticed the smog that seemed to hang everywhere and I felt a little like a smoker with the poor air quality. Of course it's a hard thing to combat: a large population needs transportation.

However, Beijing has a lot to offer tourists and a lot of history to explore. Every tourist spot is going to be crowded no matter where or what time you go so be prepared. I especially enjoyed Tian'an Men Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. I got to visit tons of other places too so I'll be writing about all of them in later entries.

So...what do I think about Beijing? Honestly, I can't be completely frank because I want to be able to go back to China again someday and it's not exactly fair to compare cultures when I'm obviously from a biased background. Let me just say, lots of things I like and lots of things I could care less for. Beijing is still definitely worth a visit and I would go again. (I didn't get to explore the buildings in Tian'an Men Square and see Mao's body)