Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beijing: has too many pictures edition

oh hello. what are you doing there?
Just messin' around yo!

Now Stop messin' around!
next time you are in Beijing and you want to get Beijing Roasted Duck, do NOT listen to your local yahoo whoever. Stay far away from the "original Beijing Duck" place. Being first has no bearing in culinary enterprise. You want to go to the best and the best is at the Ya Yuan. Call one day in advance to order your ducks. That's how serious this shit is, son. They know that if you are gonna do it right, you make your ducks to order. I would guess one duck is good for three people or one line backer.

I'm so serious that I made a comprehensive guide for finding this place.
Step 1 - get your ass to Hooters. Why? Because for whatever reason, Hooters is on like every tourist map of Beijing so it's an easy landmark to locate, find, and reach. You want to go past Hooters (aka American Owl Cafeteria) and on your left...

...is the Beijing City Hotel.

Inside the lobby, go to the back left.

Pass through the gates of Roast Duck Heaven.

I don't know if you have to be special or something but the head chef always greets us when we go (I've been 3 times!) and invites us to go into the kitchen to take pictures and check stuff out in general. It's nice to see. The cooks are usually just sitting around waiting for the duck to finish.

What else should you order besides duck? Hopefully you have someone who can speak Chinese. If not, my so-called comprehensive guide may fall a little short. You could print out these photos and bring them and learn the phrase "Wo yao je ge" where je ge is more like juuh guuh. Meaning "I want this." Above is a cold dish, traditionally served at the beginning of a Chinese meal.

Duck liver.

We were trying new things. Radishes? ok. Nothing spectacular but good radishes if I had to compare it to radishes in general which I do not eat a whole lot of.

Pickled? celery. For celery, this was not very much like celery which made it interest but still not a dish big on flavor or strong in recommendation.

oh my friggin' lord - delicious. trust me. I thought these were boneless duck feet but looking back at pictures from the first time, I have these labeled as something else and the duck feet appear to have not made it onto the camera this time around.

not sure... there are a bunch of mushroom/fungi types in there. I'm not sure if there is duck involved.

another JUST ORDER IT dish. Think of them like Buffalo Wings cause you eat them like you would a wing - off the bone, except they are not spicy (not here, you can find spicy versions elsewhere). Are you mentally resolved to have these awesome Duck "Buffalo Wings?" Then I will now tell you they are in fact duck tongues. Maybe you are like "ese, I eat the lengua all the time." Cool. And if you don't, it's nothing like Lengua. Or rather it's much more like Buffalo Wings.

Fresh Bamboo mushroom duck string bean dish?

mushroom bok choy. Man, we ordered a lot of mushrooms but I love mushrooms so no complaints here!

This is the mystery vegetable we love. I think the translated Chinese name is something like Dragon Vegetable. maybe? Long Cai? something like that. Perhaps we will get a friendly comment to clarify.

um... not really sure! duck something?

I call this Duck Chicharones. So what I've learned about duck is that they glaze the skin and blow up the duck with air so that the skin and meat are separated. What this does is it lets all the fat melt off the duck while it's roasting. The fat might also vaporize and create a wonderful steam/roasting effect but in the end you get nice healthy meat. In the States, you usually get really fatty duck. They drain out all that fat. The skin bubbles into this crispy wonder that is like Chicharones. It literally melts in your mouth. So amazing! I gotta figure out a way to make these at home.

Bulkier duck meat.

You can skip this part. These are supposed to be two special cuts of the duck but they are kinda dry. Maybe we let them sit out on the table too long.

Duck head has some meat on it but I don't think the head is as infused with all those duck flavors as the rest of the duck. That doesn't entirely make sense...

Duck soup. End of guide. Back to regular blog comments. Also, refer to here and here for other duck photos you might decide to print out for your interlingual grunt exchanges. You may see some dishes twice. Probably because they were good!

Family + Mom's sisters + Mom's uncle and aunt.

The men (grunt grunt grunt) went to a military museum in China to take in the grandeur of Chinese military might and propaganda.

I saw one of these in the latest call of duty black ops trailer.


Badass Glove Gun.

Statue of Chinese Virtue and Victory and Basketry

my Dad greets Chairman Mao.

oh heavens. that's quite the sack you've got there!

Neat-o-dioramas of Japanese vs Chinese. Here we see the vile, vicious, and ruthless Japanese poisoning the courageous freedom fighters of China. Maybe just their drinking water which I would imagine if they were to win this siege would then be their drinking water but foresight was not invented in that time. Note: vile, vicious, and ruthless are part of the Chinese point of view. In fact, the Japanese were only vicious and ruthless. Vile is still hotly contested.

Here the "clever, resourceful, and brave" Chinese rebel ambushes a series of Japanese soldiers. From his ladder bunker.

I do my part. Take that Japan!

I was casted into a leading role in the new Chinese Resident Evil knock-off movie. It's called Comrade Evil.

I think? this is an American spy plane the Chinese shot down. Here it lays proudly on display. Look Uncle Sam! We caught your fancy kite!

We got into this museum for free by flashing our passports (yes, please take in all the propa-history you can, free of charge) but if you weren't absolutely cheap, you could pay the whole 10RMB (not even $2) and gain access to tank simulator games and photo ops inside an old jet or it's replica equivalent.

Dinner was uneventful. This was the only thing deemed worthy of photographing.

Qian Men - or front gate/door of the Forbidden City / Tian An Men Sq area.

They've remodeled this historical site...

...into a shopping mall! Can't say exactly what is remodeled and what is entirely new but I scored a nice hoody from Uni-qlo, why this store is not in San Francisco (along with MUJI) is beyond me.

Xing Ba Ke - sounds like Chew Ba Ke. Xing means Star. Star Ba Ke. Can you guess what great Chinese institution this is? There is a clue in the upper left corner of the picture.

@Laoshe Tea House for a "traditional" Chinese culture show. There is a scary wax George Bush senior on display to commemorate his historic visit to China - maybe when he was the official liaison in the 70s?

My mom kept saying "hey, they used to do this better!"

These women would sing with these strange candle holders in their mouths. Why? Am I on the Gong show? What part of Chinese history and culture does this cover? There was a duo that came on next that were amusing. They were really good at making bird sounds and then used the intonation of the Chinese language to get the crowd to understand what they were saying even though they were just making bird noises. I didn't quite get it all but got the gist of it. I guess a video would have been appropriate.

Spinning dish girls. Yay?

Weird opera singers. I couldn't understand a word and the story seemed like it was in the back seat.

Kung Fu tea pouring. Another one of my mom's "Hey, they used to"s Apparently the waiters serving tea would all pour your tea for you like this. We just had a bunch of untrained "regular" tea pourers while the kung fu tea pouring stayed on the stage.

In the spectrum of jobs, you could be a lot worse. A whole lot worse. You could even not have a job or be poor and sick in a ditch so even having a job is a good thing, but can you imagine the conversation?
Person: So what do you do?
This dude: I balance pots.
Person: Like weighing stuff?
This dude: No, on my head.
Person: you mean in your head? Without a calculator?
This dude: I balance vases on my forehead like a circus monkey, ok?
Person: Oh.
This dude: Yes.
Person: why?

They say that Québécois French sounds like Ducks. Beijing Mandarin sounds like they have marbles and/or gum in their mouth or at extremes, like Kermit the Frog. I find it hard to understand them.

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