Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tea in Asia: Day 10 - Beijing, China

The tenth day of my trip to Asia was filled with more touristy activities.

We began the day with a humbling visit to the Lama Temple. But while walking around, I noticed a few signs around the grounds that were pretty amusing.

Exhibit A: You’d probably think that this was the smoking area of the temple, but no, the smoke weren’t coming from cigarettes. They were actually from all the incense being burned.

Exhibit B: That guy threw a coin behind the “do not throw incenses or coins” sign. The guy beside him was looking for a coin to throw. Tsk tsk tsk…

Anyway, we took a rickshaw tour of the hutong after we left the Lama Temple. Just like the day before, there were hawkers – but on bikes! It was crazy!

We stopped at a really old house to have lunch. Everything was obviously homemade. It wasn’t anything too fancy, but it was still good. We started with a plate of deep fried wonton-like skins.

There was a small plate of pickled cabbage and carrots.

Slices of fresh tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt.

Toasted and salted peanuts.

There were meatballs in oyster sauce.

Stir fried onions.

Stir fried bamboo, cabbage and carrots.

And since our group arrived a bit earlier than they had anticipated, the ladies quickly held a small dumpling making class. It was a great idea! Here’s one of the ladies rolling the small pieces of dough.

This was the bowl of the veggie filling (chives, cabbage, a bit of onions and sesame oil).

She taught everyone the super quick way of making the dumplings. After she rolled out the small balls of dough, she added a bit of the filling and closed the dumplings by squishing the edges. I don’t know how to explain it.

This picture was taken at the jade market the previous day, but they looked the same as the ones we made for lunch. You can see how she just squished the dumpling edges.

After lunch and the tour of the hutongs, we began to walk towards our bus when it began to snow. It was the weirdest feeling ever, because it was hot and humid, yet it looked like it was snowing all around us.

It felt like we were caught in the middle of a blizzard. Our guide told us that it was some cotton seeds.

We got onto the bus and then visited the Temple of Heaven. Afterwards, we hopped back on the bus and went to enjoy our Peking duck dinner at the well-known restaurant called Quan Ju De.

There were a few appetizers, like this plate of pickled veggies.

This was a plate of lightly stir-fried parboiled walnuts. I was amazed at how good this tasted. The slightly salted nuts had a smokiness flavour from the scorching hot wok and the walnuts weren’t mushy either. They still had a bit of a bite to them. Nom nom nom!

I can’t remember what this plate was, but it looks like an egg stuffed duck. I don’t know.

These super healthy red dates were pretty good.

Sweet and sour pork. Bleh…

Duck with bamboo and beans.

Shrimp chips with duck.

Stir fried pork with oyster sauce.

Deep fried fish with a sweet and sour sauce.

And for the main event… Peking duck and the accompaniments: flour pancakes, sesame seed topped buns, green onions, and, hoisin sauce). I ate way too much and I didn’t drink enough tea. My parents always told us that tea helps break down the grease we eat (like during dim sum).

The chef sliced 2 or 3 plates of skin, with another plate of meat.

We had so much food! Everything was packed to go. I ended up eating another wrap for a late night snack. Yum!

Our dessert, like most of the desserts we were given on our trip to China, was a plate of fruits. We got grapes, cantaloupe, and watermelon this time.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I definitely waddled back to the bus after dinner.

Read about my last full day in Beijing here.

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