Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, dining and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Beijing.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Beijing airport is an “oh wow”. The International entrance is breathtaking as is your journey through immigration and customs and both are very efficient.
The train to baggage and the baggage area and garage areas are back to the realities of moving large numbers of people. But, that entrance prepares the soul for flight. We were told the architect was Chinese.
Transportation: Check out this site for the subway and train guides for Beijing: (chinatouristmaps.com/china-subway-maps.html)
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (http://export.gov/china/)
U.S. Embassy: (http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/) – No. 55 An Jia Lou Lu 100600, Tel: (86-10) 8531-3000, Emergency Contact Number: 8531-4000
Day One: Beijing is big. It’s the third largest city in China. (We missed the first day’s tour, but our Program Director met with us before dinner to bring us up to date and give us the lay of land. He also told me where the nearest wine shop was and the Local wines to look for were:)
(I found a bottle of Great Wall in the above food market and it was pretty good.)
Jeannie Cho Lee offers the following advice on pairing wine with Chinese cuisine. “For Asian cuisine wine needs the ability to adapt to a wildly diverse array of flavors.”
“Lighter bodied wines with greater acidity and lower alcohol work with most Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai food. A cool climate Pinot Noir works well because of its high tannins and high acidity. (We like a Zinfandel)
Many white wines work for the same reasons. Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio and Albarino are good choices.
Avoid highly aromatic varieties like Gewurztraminer and lightly sweet Rieslings.”
Cousin Ho suggests starting your China experience by visiting the Temple of Heaven (located in the Chongwen District) which is a tribute to a successful harvest.
“The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which illustrates the importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations and its influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries.”
Lunch is at Quanjude – L: M-F, D: Nightly, #14 Qiannan West St, 86 10 6304 8987
The reason you’re here is to have the Peking Duck. They have been cooking and serving Peking duck here for 144 years.
For starters you should consider: the hot and sour soup, the half shell scallops with garlic ginger and shallots, the oysters or the crispy deep fried bean curd.
After lunch head for Tianamen Square (Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City.
Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world. It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
Consider this: The Chinese massacre of their own people in 1989 on Tianamen Square was unknown to the Chinese people until 10 years ago. How can that be? Our Cousin tells the story of his uncle who was a Doctor in a hospital near Tianamen Square. He was off duty on the day of the massacre.
The next day when he went in the cafeteria was filled with the bodies of young people. He ran to his office and never mentioned it “even to his family” for more than 20 years. Everyone in the Tianamen Square area was visited and was told that nothing had happened. This lie holds until this day for most of the Chinese people.
Our Cousin suggests dinner at the Temple Restaurant Beijing – L & D: Daily, #23, Shatan Beijie, off WuSi DaJie, Dongcheng , 86 10 8400 2232
The menu is loaded with tempting choices such as: olive oil poached black cod with a Bagna Cauda sauce,black truffle crust and shallot confit or a seared crispy boneless chicken thigh with snails, frog, porcini and an organic egg yolk dressing with porcini oil.
An ’05 Grand Cru Goldert Riesling by Paul Zinck was be a nice match.
After dinner we went to Beijing Opera known as the Peking Opera.
Our Cousin had acquired seats four feet from the stage, and our tables were provided with tea and snacks (cookies, nuts fruits, etc.) We really enjoyed and recommend this experience.
Day Two: Breakfast is not a terribly important meal in China, however, if you’re staying in a three star hotel or better, the buffet breakfast will be a fantastic spread with all the typical Chinese breakfast staples.
Your hotel breakfast buffet might also include fried eggs (good with soy!), all sorts of rice variants including fried rice and rice with beans, some basic chow mein, millet, and a few hot dishes like stir-fried pork or pak choi.
Following breakfast our adventure was the Great Wall known locally as the Long Wall. The drive to the Great Wall passes through mountains, and it is visible for many miles.
You will visit the section of the Great Wall where all of our Presidents since Nixon have been. It was built to keep people out, and now it attracts hordes. You can climb the Great Wall and walk along it.
(Along the way Dee and I stopped for a Tsingow beer at an outdoor café.)
Our Cousin suggests Najia Xiaoguan L & D: Daily, 29 Xiangshan Yikesong, Haidian District, for lunch today
You will want to start with the Huangtanzi, a 200 year old recipe that was a favorite of Chinese royalty. Then you will have to decide between the crunchy-skinned prawns or the spring water spareribs. Wash it all down with local beers.
After lunch you should visit the burial ground of emperors of 13 Ming tombs. It was rather shabby but interesting. (A seven kilometer road named the “Spirit Way” (Shéndào) leads into the complex, lined with statues of guardian animals and officials, with a front gate consisting of a three-arches, painted red, and called the “Great Red Gate”.
The Spirit Way, or Sacred Way, starts with a huge stone memorial archway lying at the front of the area. Constructed in 1540, during the Ming Dynasty, this archway is one of the biggest stone archways in China today.)
Da Dong – L & D: Daily, 1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao, near Dongmencang Hutong, 86-(0)10-5169-0329 is the choice for dinner tonight.
Da Dong is consistently voted as the “Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year”. There is little need to go through the 140 page menu because this is the place for Peking Duck.
Is this beginning to sound familiar? You might want to add an order of the braised sea cucumber or the “noodles” made of lobster meat.
Day Three: Breakfast is at Huguosi Xiaochi - B,L,D: Daily, 68 Huguosi Street, Xicheng District
Here you’ll find more than 80 varieties of Beijing snacks to try. There is a thick brown soup called mian cha, a sesame bun filled with beef and cilantro or a plate of crisp fried dough rings.
After this you can visit The Forbidden City which was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the centre of Beijing, and now houses the Palace Museum.
For almost 500 years it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. Built between 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings is so named because it was off limits to visitors (Chinese) for 500 years.
It didn’t exist. Each Emperor who reigned there had as few as 160 concubines and as many as 3,000. The last Ming/Qing emperor and his dynasty fell in 1911.
Next we suggest a visit to The Kung Fu Academy where children from age 3 to 18 study Kung Fu – Martial Arts, even girls.
There was lots of activity and we were treated to a special show featuring students and a professor. Students are from many backgrounds some of whose parents think they need more discipline than they can provide.
This school is similar to US military schools with more discipline in the martial arts. We enjoyed very entertaining performances.
Your last meal in Beijing is at a fun and interesting restaurant 3 Guizhou Men – 1-2 F, Building 7, Iian wai SOHO, 86 10 5869 0598
Start with the sour soup, eggplant 2 ways, mint salad, fried ribs and their famous “beef on fire” which is chunks of beef placed on a layer of chives and fried.
We suggest a Great Wall Cabernet as a wine pairing.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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