Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bustling Beijing - shopping and food!

 It's our last full day in Beijing! We could have spent the day rushing around, trying to fit in more sightseeing, but we had had enough. So we let the kids have a sleep-in and went for a little walk to Wangfujing St - the main shopping district of central Beijing. It was kind of empty at 9am! Nothing much opened until 10am, so we had plenty of time for a coffee, where we met another lovely Australian couple who had also been on the Diamond Princess! We also sussed out where all the "good" shops were:

Yet another Apple store!

Pedestrian mall
We brought the kids back MacDonalds for breakfast - it was fun trying to decipher the Chinese menu into something familiar. The kids were pretty grateful! We then too them out for a stroll around the local streets and shops.

We found a great archaeological site just one block from the hotel! We also found a street vendor selling sugar-coated fruit on a stick - you can see Wombat Girl enjoying that:

This is the original road

We headed down to "snack street", which is located in the "hutongs" or back alleys to the west of the main pedestrian mall. There were also lots of souvenirs shops which we spent a bit of time in, picking up a chess set and the iconic waving cat:

Hubby is the King of Haggling! He gets haggled every day in our shop, so he has no compunction in returning the skill. It is expected in China, but I'm hopeless at it and Video Boy feels decidedly uncomfortable with the whole process:

Then it was lunchtime! One of my big wish list items was Peking Duck in Beijing. We took forever to find it, but finally made our way up to Quanjude - one of Beijing's oldest Peking Duck restaurants (opened in 1864!). It was later in the afternoon (around 2pm), so we had no trouble getting a table. They wanted us to buy the set menu, but Peking Duck was what we wanted! Before long, out came a beautifully roasted whole duck, and the very skilled guy to carve it up:

The skin was DIVINE!

Soy bean paste and shallots to go in the...

...beautifully thin pancakes/crepes

The kids got pretty skilled at using chopsticks this trip!

And yep, they give you everthing

The kids were still pretty tired after our Big Day yesterday, so we dumped them in the room with their electronic entertainment for a bit of chill out time, with strict instructions to NOT answer the door to anyone!
View from the room - you could see more in real life as you moved around

We went back into shopping fray - and came back with very little! I got a beautiful green silk top, but we struggled to find the dressing gown and watch we wanted for my mother-in-law. We wandered around looking at suitcases, jewellery, and chatted to an employee at the Apple store who was a qualified journalist in his home city, but moved to Beijing to work as a shop assistant, because he sees that as a better career move. He asked us "what city" we lived in back in Australia - I don't think they can comprehend anything else except high rise city living in China!

Later that afternoon/night, we checked out the Donghuamen Night Markets - on our street, just a block down was the BEST street food you could possibly imagine! I actually didn't bring my camera with us when we went back with the kids to eat (can you believe it??), but luckily we snapped a couple of shots before then:

Every food you could possibly imagine - most of it on a stick!

Eel on a stick? Maybe with a little starfish or sea urchin appetiser?

Every kind of dim sim you can think of - we ate one of everything!

Perhaps you would prefer bull testicles?

Kids enjoyed these - what a shock.

Mud crabs. We didn't get a photo (kicking myself),
but the best thing I ate there was spicy soft-shell crab
on a stick. I'm still drooling...
So after absolutely stuffing our faces with as much food as we could eat with whatever Yuan we had left, it was time to go back to the hotel to pack. It was a fitting last night meal!!! Stay tuned for one last holiday blog post before I resume normal programming :-)


  1. I'm guessing you didn't eat the silk cocoon. I've always been reluctant, myself. Butterflies in the stomach and all that. That stall looks wonderful!

    1. Nup - couldn't do it. The stall was brilliant - I would be happy eating there every night!

  2. All the fruit stuff looked nice, as did the dim sims. But yes, some of the other stuff kind of sounds 'cringeworthy' (eg 'pissing beef ball'). Again, I've found more stuff to be amused about :)


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