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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Restaurants In Beijing 2008

Ni hao!
There are some 60.000 restaurants in Beijing! I have only dined at a smaller number of them and try to eat different food from the 8 main chinese cuisines. I like korean food too!
Cuisines from many different cultures permeate the Beijing dining scene. With literally thousands of restaurants available, dining choices are practically unlimited. And the best part is that you can splurge at a fancy restaurant or dine supremely well (any much more cheaply) at any of the smaller family-run operations located all over the city.

Beijing cuisine (Chinese: 北京菜; pinyin: Běijīng cài), also known as Jing cuisine (Chinese: 京菜; pinyin: jīng cài; literally "cuisine of the capital") and Mandarin cuisine, is the cuisine of Beijing.

As Beijing has been the capital of China for centuries, its cuisine is influenced by culinary traditions from all over China, but the style that has the greatest influence on Beijing cuisine is that of the eastern coastal province of Shandong. Beijing cuisine has itself, in turn, also greatly influenced other Chinese cuisines, particularly the cuisine of Liaoning, the Chinese imperial cuisine, and the Chinese aristocrat cuisine.

Another tradition that influenced Beijing cuisine (as well as influenced by the latter itself) is the Chinese imperial cuisine that originated from the "Emperor's Kitchen" (Chinese: 御膳房; pinyin: yùshànfáng), which referred to the cooking facilities inside the Forbidden City, where thousands of cooks from different parts of China showed their best culinary skills to please the imperial family and officials.

Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to determine the actual origin of a dish as the term "Mandarin" is generalised and refers not only to Beijing, but other provinces as well.

However, some generalisation of Beijing cuisine can be characterised as follows: Foods that originated in Beijing are often snacks rather than main courses, and they are typically sold by small shops or street vendors.

There is emphasis on dark soy paste, sesame paste, sesame oil, and scallions, and fermented tofu is often served as a condiment. In terms of cooking techniques, methods relating to different ways of frying are often used. There is less emphasis on rice as an accompaniment as compared to many other regions in China, as local rice production in Beijing is limited by the relatively dry climate.
Dishes in Beijing cuisine that are served as main courses are mostly from other Chinese cuisines, and some of the following in particular have been central to the formation of Beijing cuisine.

Huaiyang cuisine has been praised since ancient times in China, and it was a general practice for an official travelling to Beijing to take up a new post to bring along with him a chef specialising in Huaiyang cuisine. When these officials had completed their terms in the capital and returned to their native provinces, most of the chefs they brought along often remained in Beijing. They opened their own restaurants or were hired by wealthy locals.

The imperial clan of the Ming Dynasty, the House of Zhu, who had ancestry from Jiangsu, also contributed greatly in introducing Huaiyang cuisine to Beijing when the capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing in the 15th century, because the imperial kitchen was mainly Huaiyang style.

The element of traditional Beijing culinary and gastronomical cultures of enjoying artistic performances such as Beijing opera while dining directly developed from the similar practice in the culture of Jiangsu and Huaiyang cuisines. Chinese Islamic cuisine is another important component of Beijing cuisine, and was first prominently introduced when Beijing became the capital of the Yuan Dynasty.

However, the most significant contribution to the formation of Beijing cuisine came from Shandong cuisine, as most chefs from Shandong came to Beijing en masse during the Qing Dynasty.

Unlike the earlier two cuisines, which were brought by the ruling class such as nobles, aristocrats and bureaucrats, and then spread to the general populace, the introduction of Shandong cuisine begun with serving the general populace, with much wider market segment, from wealthy merchants to the working class.

The red lanterns that line Dongzhimen Nei Dajie turn on each night about an hour before sun down, marking the rebirth of Beijing's most celebrated dining experience: Gui Jie.

Although it's known as "Ghost Street" because of the ghostly spectacle of the grocery and produce night market formerly located here, Gui Jie is now one of the most alive places you can find in the city.
Stretching over one kilometer from Dongzhimen Bridge to Jiaodaokou Dongdajie, this is the only street in Beijing that truly never sleeps.
Guijie is a 24-hour celebration of Chinese cuisine, with hungry patrons arriving anytime from noon to 4am to chow down on the street where some of Beijing's best loved specialties were created. Home to more than 200 restaurants, you can sample almost anything here, from Sichuan shuizhuyu and malatang to the rich taste of grilled seafood chuan'er and Peking duck. City Weekend helps you navigate some of the street's best tasting treats. Nice treats!
Zai jian!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Drum And Bell Tower 2008

Ni hao!
Drum And Bell Tower was also one of my visits in Beijing 2008.
Gulou (Chinese: 鼓楼; pinyin: Gǔlóu), the drum tower of Beijing, is situated at the northern end of the central axis of the Inner City to the north of Di'anmen Street. Originally built for musical reasons, it was later used to announce the time and is now a tourist attraction.
Zhonglou (Chinese: 钟楼; pinyin: Zhōnglóu), the bell tower of Beijing, stands closely behind the drum tower.
Together with the drum tower, they provide an overview of central Beijing and before the modern era, they both dominated Beijing's ancient skyline.

Bells and drums were musical instruments in ancient China. Later they were used by government and common people as timepieces. The Bell and Drum towers were central to official timekeeping in China in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
The Bell and Drum Towers continued to function as the official timepiece of Beijing until 1924, when the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty was forced to leave the Forbidden City and western-style clockwork was made the official means of time-keeping.
The Drum Tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan, at which time it stood at the very heart of the Yuan capital Dadu.
At that time it was known as the Tower of Orderly Administration (Qizhenglou). In 1420, under the Ming Emperor Yongle, the building was reconstructed to the east of the original site and in 1800 under the Qing Emperor Jiaqing, large-scale renovations were carried out. In 1924, Feng Yuxiang removed the official status of the towers, replacing them with western time-keeping methods, and renamed the building "Mingchilou", or the "tower of clarifying shame".
Objects related to the Eight-Power Allied Forces' invasion of Beijing and later the May 30 Massacre of 1925 were put on display, turning the towers into a museum.
Nowadays, the upper story of the building serves as the People's Cultural Hall of the East City District. The Drum tower is a two-story building made of wood with a height of 47 meters. In ancient times the upper story of the building housed 24 drums, of which only one survives.
Nearby stands the Bell Tower, a 33-meter-high edifice with gray walls and a green glazed roof. In the 1980s, after much repair, the Bell and Drum Towers were opened to tourists.
This happened after my visit, but is added later. On August 9, 2008 in the People's Republic of China, two American tourists and their Chinese tour guide were stabbed at the historic Beijing Drum Tower; one of the tourists was killed.

The assailant then committed suicide by jumping from the tower. The incident occurred during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The incident has been described as isolated since attacks on foreigners while visiting China are rare.

Three people were stabbed in Beijing, China, on August 9, 2008, by 47-year-old Tang Yongming of Hangzhou, while visiting the 13th-century Drum Tower in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The victims were Todd Bachman, a prominent horticulturalist from Lakeville, Minnesota, his wife Barbara, and their female Chinese national tour guide.

Todd Bachman, who died in the attack, was the father of American athlete Elisabeth Bachman and the father-in-law of Team USA men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon. Barbara Bachman was severely wounded but survived the attack. The attacker then leaped to his death from a 40-metre (130 ft) high balcony on the Drum Tower. US Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth and US President George W. Bush both offered their condolences.

Tang Yongming spent most of his life in the outskirts of Hangzhou, and was a metal presser at the Hangzhou Meter Factory for more than twenty years. He had no previous criminal record, according to investigators.

Investigators reported that Tang was distraught over family problems. A colleague who knew Tang said that he had "an unyielding mouth", "grumbled a great deal", and was "very cynical". Another former co-worker said Tang 'had a quick temper and was always complaining about society". Police report that Tang went through his second divorce in 2006 and grew increasingly despondent when his 21-year-old son started getting into trouble. The son was detained in May 2007 on suspicion of fraud, then received a suspended prison sentence in March 2008 for theft.

Zai Jian!