Monday, March 10, 2014

Food of Beijing, China

In 2007 we took a trip to Beijing, China with Rachael, Nate and our baby grandchild. Rachael and Nate were living at the time in Tokyo and they made arrangements for us to have a wonderful English speaking guide in Beijing named Mrs. Li, who also had a Chinese speaking driver to take us around on our sight-seeing.
Our Chinese guide, driver and van.
China is a gastronomic Disneyland for foodies, with wonderful, varied and crazy looking and tasting dishes. This post is a collection of some of the foods we ate and saw while we were there. Since it has been awhile, and because we were dealing in Chinese with a Chinese native speaking English, I can't name what many of the dishes are, but still retain the memory of amazing food. 

We visited a Szechuan restaurant for lunch that served some really hot food. Everywhere we went in Beijing, including this restaurant, the Chinese people were enamored with our grandchild's blond hair and blue eyes and couldn't leave her alone. 
Hot pork ribs.
Wonderful hot beans.

Squab, or baby pigeon.
The waitresses loved our grandchild.
We had an evening meal that included an unforgettable dish of sweet and sour camel. 
Sweet and sour camel.

We had another evening meal at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant which specializes in Peking Duck (Beijing was once named Peking). I was so looking forward to eating one of my favorite dishes in its hometown and came away disappointed that I like our American version better than the hometown version.
Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Carving up the Peking (or Beijing) duck
We visited a little village outside of Beijing and ate in a large cultural center. The pictures of our food are horrible as we were concerned that our taking pictures in that setting might offend someone. But it was an absolutely fabulous meal and was very inexpensive. 
Judy and Mrs. Li with youth dressed in Mao era garb.
With some people in cultural dress.
Surreptitious picture that turned out horribly.
Another horrible picture.
Near the Great Wall of China, outside of Beijing an hour or two, we found one of our most favorite dishes: a pancake made on a wheel with egg and spicy red pepper sauce. We liked it so much that we tracked down the sauce at a supermarket in Beijing, but were later unable to obtain any more when we returned to the U.S. 
Tourist shops lining the walk up to the Great Wall.
Batter on a wheel and spreading on some red chile sauce.
Folding the egg and pancake up.
An amazingly wonderful folded pancake with egg.
Finally, we found some very fun and colorful displays in stores.
Durian in the supermarket.
Dragon fruit in the supermarket.
Dragon fruit cut-into halves.
Sausages in the supermarket.
Ribs - just laid out to be picked over.
Fruits and vegetables
My tastes have expanded and changed quite a bit in the last seven years, in part because of experiences like those we had in Beijing. I would love to go back to China just to eat. Amazing, amazing food. 


  1. We have done a pretty good job of duplicating those Chinese pancakes with help from the local Asian store frozen food section and various Asian hot sauces, but nothing will compare to watching them being made and eating them with the Great Wall of China in view.

  2. We were in China and Hong Kong in 1983. Everywhere we went, we were served duck. I got so sick of it I couldn't eat it. It still makes me slightly queasy to think about the food, but that trip was one of our best.

    1. I've really grown to love duck. Duck and lamb are probably my two favorite meats. I could eat it every day. The saying is that the French are the cooks in heaven, but I think that the Chinese are there as well - except perhaps some fo the Szechuan stuff, that might be hell.

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