Tea time in GuangDong

Everyone knows that at 4 in the afternoon English people are having the traditional tea time. But did you know that Chinese people have their own traditional “tea time”? Well, the Chinese tea time has nothing to do with the English one, and in fact you could only “drink tea” in you travel to Guangzhou. […]

Everyone knows that at 4 in the afternoon English people are having the traditional tea time. But did you know that Chinese people have their own traditional “tea time”? Well, the Chinese tea time has nothing to do with the English one, and in fact you could only “drink tea” in you travel to Guangzhou. You certainly must be wondering : “sure you can drink tea everywhere, but what does she mean by drinking tea in GuangDong ?”. Let me introduce you my favorite moment of the day of my Guangzhou tour.

When a Cantonese person asks you if you want to “drink” some tea, it means that he wants to take you for a kind of brunch. In Cantonese they call it going to yum cha (饮茶) at restaurants called cha lou (茶楼) between 5 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. In general the elderly likes to gather in one of these restaurants after their daily morning exercises and for many in southern China, yum cha is considered as a weekend family day. You can go there alone, with friends or family members for a simple brunch or big occasions.

Of course, during the brunch they drink tea too, and on every table you can always find some teapots, tea is a very important part of the brunch, it accompanies the food. And here we are, what I prefer the most is the FOOD ! Do you know what Dim Sum is ? I’m pretty sure you know what is it, because in Chinese western restaurant you always eat it. Dim Sum (点心), refers to Cantonese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. In addition the way you order and the way you got Dim Sum served is unique : waiters are just carting around cooked and ready-to-serve dishes around the restaurant, customers just pick some dishes up to their table, and for each plate the waiter checks the dishes grid.

The most popular Dim Sum :

  • Siu Mai 燒賣: Small steamed dumplings with either pork, prawns or both inside a thin wheat flour wrapper.
  • Ha Gau 蝦餃: A delicate steamed dumpling with whole or chopped-up shrimp filling and thin wheat starch skin.
  • Cha Siu Bau 叉燒包: the most popular bun with a Cantonese barbecued pork filling
  • Lo Mai Gai 糯米雞: Glutinous rice wrapped in a lotus leaf into a triangular or rectangular shape. It contains egg, dried scallop, mushroom, water chestnut and meat. The leaf cannot be eaten !
  • Spring Rolls 春捲: a roll consisting of various types of vegetables
  • Egg tart 蛋撻: composed of a base made from either a flaky puff pastry type dough or a type of non-flaky cookie dough with an egg custard filling baked
  • Braised chicken feet 凤抓

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Sichuan Style

On May 25, 2012, in Ethnic Group Flavors, Restaurants & Food, Sichuan, by Jack Li

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet […]

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet zing to the cooking whilst the chilli, garlic and, of course, the special ingredient, the Sichuan peppercorn, enhances the cooking to give a distinct appeal. Anybody who loves to experiment with different foods, then taking a trip one of the many China flights to the country would definitely be a treat for the taste buds.

One particular aspect of the cooking which I noticed when eating Sichuan cuisine is the amount of oil. On a couple of occasions, my friends and I have ordered a huge bowl with a typically Ming-dynasty design. Simply peering in the bowl will allow the imagination to run wild with bold colors and textures presented before you. Specifically, two examples which come to mind include one large whole fish waiting to be dissected in the depths of the bowl. The other, is that of some pieces of white meat which looked like chicken fillets; however, on inspection these turned out to be bullfrog! Even though there were quite a few bones to chew around, I actually rather liked the taste of frog which, although many people who go to France said it ‘tastes like chicken’; I found it to be a mixture of yes chicken, but also fish.

If unusual ingredients don’t take your fancy, then there are plenty of other dishes to select. Beef, for example, is a very common ingredient used in Sichuan cooking. Furthermore, within the Sichuan, there are different styles ranging from a vegetarian Buddhist style to Chongqing, Chengdu, and Zigong styles. While some of the most well-known Chinese dishes the world-over have Sichuan origins. Kung pao chicken (Gongbao), for instance, is an extremely popular dish of nuts, diced chicken and mixed together topped off with a rich, sticky flavor. Paradoxically, in spite of being famous for its fiery flavors, much of Sichuan cuisine is not necessarily spicy such as teas smoked duck. Nevertheless, if you want to embrace the spicy stuff, then consider complementing your meal with rice, beer or milk to combat the heat.

Sometimes you may see the ‘Szechuan’ or ‘Szechwan’ on a menu; but rested assured that despite the spelling variation, the food should still be under the Sichuan cuisine. The Sichuan style of cooking is so valued that in 2011, the city of Chengdu was declared by UNESCO as ‘a city of Gastronomy’. Thus, the popularity of Sichuan cuisine means that finding a restaurant in any major Chinese city should not be a problem; there may even be one near your China hotels.

 

 

 

Eating out in Sanlitun

On October 26, 2010, in China Travel Gossip, Cool Places, Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

When looking at Beijing Tours, remember that a trip to the capital is not complete without visiting the Sanlitun area for its great restaurants and nightlife – see my earlier blog for tips on bars and clubs in the area… Whether you are looking for local or international cuisine, Sanlitun has a great range of restaurants to choose […]

When looking at Beijing Tours, remember that a trip to the capital is not complete without visiting the Sanlitun area for its great restaurants and nightlife – see my earlier blog for tips on bars and clubs in the area…

Whether you are looking for local or international cuisine, Sanlitun has a great range of restaurants to choose from so you won”t be disappointed!

For Chinese food, try the alley by City Hotel and Hooters – first up on the right is “Uama”, a great teppanyaki place which does an all you can eat and drink deal for £16 and this really does mean all! The chefs will cook you anything you want from noodles to steak to sushi to banana fritters, definitely worth the cost and the best food I”ve had in Beijing so far! Further down this alley are a range of much cheaper Chinese and Korean restaurants, they may not look like much from the outside but the food more than makes up for the decor. You can get a filling dinner for as little as £1, I recommend going in a group so you can share lots of different dishes and try everything – the menu normally includes egg fried rice, vegetable or meat dishes, noodles, kebabs, naan bread, hot pot (a typical Sichuan dish) and much much more.

Typical local cuisine

My friends eating Noodles in a local Chinese restaurant

Second stop on the tour is the ultra modern Village  at Sanlitun, my personal favourite, located by Yashow market. It is one of the poshest malls in Beijing with colourful glass buildings, a landscaped piazza, a small luxury hotel and luxury retail stores like the Adidas flagship store, the Apple Store and Versace. It is also home to an eight-screen cinema and many different restaurants, ranging in price and cuisine.

Sanlitun Village

For the more upmarket affair, try upstairs in the Village South. You will find plenty of restaurants on Floors 3 – 5  although beware the prices are more than what you may be used to in China. Try “Blue Frog” for great burgers and an american brunch, a great option if you are looking to satisfy your Western food cravings. If it is too pricey for you, make sure you go on a Monday to enjoy the “2 for 1 Burgers” deal.  You could also chill out at “Stumble Inn” for bar snacks and drinks (happy hour casino spiele deals from 3 to 9pm) with fussball and pool tables to keep you amused. Or try “Hatsune” for a great setting (waterfall glass door, underwater theme and an outdoor terrace) and amazing sushi worth the hefty price tag. There are many casino online other restaurants in this area so take a wander around and decide what you are in the mood for!

Inside Hatsune Sushi Restaurant

Also in the Village South on the ground floor you will be pleased to know that there is a Starbucks to satisfy your coffee cravings! And for those of you with a sweet tooth like me, you can”t miss out on a “Cold Stone” experience, the best ice cream parlour you will ever go to! Located on the edge of the Village complex, here you can choose your flavour and toppings and watch it being sculpted like dough and tossed into the waffle containers  – well worth name) To insert R matrix hard drive recovery into the existing hard drive recovery table in MySQL, use the following command: # defining hard drive recovery matrix online slots datamatrix matrix(1:4, 2, 2) # defining query to insert the hard drive recovery query paste(“INSERT INTO names VALUES(“,datamatrix [1,1], “,”, datamatrix [1,2], “)”) # command for submitting the defined SQL query dbGetQuery(con, query) Sometimes we need to delete a MySQL table when it is no longer of use. the £3. My personal favourite is mint chocolate chip ice cream with oreo cookies and fudge sauce in a chocolate covered waffle container – pure heaven for any chocolate lover! Finally on the lower ground floor, there is a great takeaway crepe stall called Jaya which does amazing sweet and savoury crepes for around £2 – I recommend cream cheese casino online and bacon or cream cheese and jam! There is also a cute bakery called Ibrown bakery and cafe which sells loaves of breads as well as delicious pastry snacks. And if you are really missing home, head to the Market Place also on the ground floor, a Western supermarket which stocks Lindt chocolate, Heinz baked beans, Kelloggs cereal and Haagan Dazz ice cream to name a few!

Amazing ice cream from Cold Stone

Venturing out of the Village towards bar street, you will find lots of great places to eat in amongst the bars. If you are in the mood for Lebanese, you have to try “Bite-a-Pitta” which does everything from kebabs to humous to pitta sandwiches to salads and is very reasonable – I recommend the humous and falafel pitta sandwich which is both delicious and filling for £2.80. It is also a great place to meet other Westerners and the owner is very friendly and helpful. Next door is Hercules, a recently opened cafe which does great salads and sandwiches – a healthy option if you are getting sick of rice and noodles in Beijing!

Further down bar street on the right hand side is a small courtyard called Nali Patio east which is home to a great selection of pricier restaurants. There”s an italian called “Gino”s” which would be perfect for a splash-out dinner, a posh seafood cafe called “Letts” and the “Saddle Cantina”, one of the best Mexican restaurant in Beijing ( or so I believe!) This place is always buzzing and serves up great Mexican cuisine as well as amazing cocktails – I recommend the chilaquiles to start, the chicken quesadillas and the Mojito Diablo cocktail – the added cassis makes this Mojito extra special and even more delicious – make sure you come before 8pm to enjoy the happy hour deals!

The Saddle Cantina Mexican Restaurant

If you walk to the other end of this patio you will find yourself  on Sanlitun north road, another street of bars and restaurants. On the corner there is “Crepanini”, another french crepe place but this time with a seating area, and further down the road on the right hand side is “Bocata”, a friendly cafe serving sandwiches and salads as well as pasta dishes in the evening. It has a large patio with parasols for outdoor dining in the summer months and is a cosy venue inside during the winter- I recommend any of the pasta dishes or the marinated chicken and cheese sandwich – make sure you ask for extra garlic mayonnaise to make the experience even better!

I could go on and on as there are so many places to try in the Sanlitun area but I will leave it up to you to explore… All I will say is if you are looking for good Western food in Beijing, this is the place to go and if you get really desperate, there is always Mcdonalds, Subway and KFC!

Don”t forget to check out china travel and China Tours to plan the rest of your trip in China…

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