Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow…
Beijing is such a historical and cultural city, there is so much to do here and I’m so grateful to have enjoyed a good four weeks of sight seeing and exploring.
Along with the countless Temples and top sights including Tían’anmen Square, The Forbidden City and the Summer Palace I’ve really enjoyed getting stuck in and learning about some of the many traditions of old Beijing.
Xiaolongbao Cookery Class…
In many of my previous blogs I’ve gone on (and on 😜) about Xiaolongbao, the delicious soup dumplings that I am so obsessed with. Xiaolongbao is a type of steamed dumpling traditionally prepared in a xiaolong (a small bamboo steaming basket) and they are like a little burst of heaven in your mouth.
After trying soup dumplings for the first time in Hong Kong, I have tried various Xiaolongbao restaurants in both Shanghai and Beijing. A great one is Din Tai Fung, a little chain of restaurants throughout China. I’m really hoping they branch out to the UK… but just incase they don’t, I looked for a cookery class in Beijing on how to make Xiaolongbao… and I found one! Now I can truly take a taste of China home with me…
I found the class at The Hutong (link below) and a little group of us went along and we all had such a brilliant afternoon, I felt like a contestant on the Great British Bake off… minus the bunting!
Making the dough was all sorts of fun, obviously there were some Paul Hollywood impressions being thrown around the table… It crossed my mind that if this were a technical challenge, I don’t think I would have made star baker. (Unless of course you take into consideration the tasting part and who ate the most dumplings… in which case I was the solid winner.)
Sophia our teacher taught us the recipe for the dipping sauce, the pork filling, how to make the soup and of course the art of rolling and folding the dumpling. It was actually a lot more difficult and fiddly than I thought and I will definitely have to practice a lot before I achieve the perfect Xiaolongbao… I have a feeling the Shaw Clan won’t mind a bit! 😋
- The Hutong
- 2.5 Hour class – 300 RMB
A Hutong is a type of narrow alley (a bit like the shambles in York, but bigger.) There are loads in Beijing and northern China. Hutongs are little neighbourhoods and some of them are very trendy and have what I would describe as an “East London” kind of vibe with quirky coffee shops, vintage stores and one off boutiques.
We found this amazing brunch restaurant, Toast, in a hotel called The Orchid. Not only do they serve brunch until 2.30pm (👍) but they have an amazing menu- including chocolate chip pancakes with cinnamon maple syrup butter… need I say more?
The owners of Toast were so friendly and recommended a great walk for us to take that led us to Wudaoying Hutong. On the way we stumbled across an incredible vintage store called Miss Eliza Vintage, you can have a bash at haggling in here and pick up some real gems.
Traditional Hotpot & Dancing noodles!
Hot pot is a variety of East Asian food, prepared with a simmering pot of stock at the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table.
Sharing food is a traditional part of dining in China. I’ve noticed, upon eating out over here, that one person is given a menu and orders for the whole table, then everyone shares.
Haidilao Hotpot is an authentic Sichuan hotpot restaurant famous not only for it’s delicious hotpots and great service (you can actually get a complimentary manicure while you wait in the queue for a table) but for their dancing noodles…
The Chefs come out and noodlefy (new technical term) your noodles before adding them to your hotpot.
If you are looking for a bit of a dining experience whilst in Beijing, then I highly recommend Haidilao Hotpot.
- Open 24 hours
- Address: 8/F, In 88 Shopping Mall, No.88 Wangfujing Main Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
If you get the opportunity to visit Beijing, then I recommend getting yourself a Lonely Planet guide, a map, a metro card (they are 20 RMB – 25p) and get stuck into the culture, try new things… thats the true Beijing… and the best bit.
Huge thanks to all staff at the JW Marriott, Tianqiao Art Theatre and all the lovely audiences that came by to support us 😊
Each time I have written a blog over the past year it’s been one step further along the tour, one step closer to the finish line. Never has that been more apparent than right now. I’m sat in my hotel room in Guangzhou, our final destination on this International touring adventure. Twelve weeks in China seemed like such a long period of time, but my goodness how it’s flown! In just two weeks I’ll be going into my last weekend of performances before heading off on that long journey back home. But first… Guangzhou, let’s be having you!
Until next time,
Love Emily xxx