14 May 2006

Moz does Beijing

Hehe ... must have been a long, long, time since I last blogged anything. Sorry to guys who've been dropping in to check on me from time to time. I'm back and blogging will be more regular from now on.

Warning ahead ... lots and lots of pictures. So brace if you use Streamyx or dialup. And you can click on the pictures to view a larger pic.

Yours truly was in Beijing was a very short period, on work, and managed to squeeze in some time to take in some of the sights of the ancient city as well. Basically, I have always planned my Beijing trip, but due to my resignation, the management thought it was a bad idea to send me to Beijing. But the customer kicked up a fuss, and I was sent back there, even thought it was like, just before my leaving the company (I have left the company now - I start my new job tomorrow). Read this to get some context.

So, how was Beijing?

Fun. Of course, there was the work, and I arrived in the middle of a sandstorm (which had lasting effects for my entire stay) and very little time, but heck, I was there on business. Sightseeing is a bonus.

Let's see what I did ...

I had fast food Peking duck. Mickey (the customer), who is from Hong Kong and had been to Beijing many times before suggested this famous duck restaurant, so we hopped onto a taxi, and was driven to this place. We saw a long queue and police vans outside the place - which told me it was the right place. So we queued, got our seats - you share table here - no such thing as your own personal table. And here's what we got.

For RMB70 (RM 35), you get duck soup in a cup, condiments, the 'popiah' to wrap the duck slices in, pre packed sauce and of course, the duck itself. The serving is generous - most girls would finish only around 1/3 of the duck. Chinese Stout Beer is extra ... around RMB15. Not cheap, ok?

Tasted good, although it was just the fast food version. After we finished, we realised there is actually a proper restaurant right behind the fast food one (still the same restaurant, just different shop lot) where we could have eaten the proper thing.

That night, we went to Lotus Market, a place full of pubs and had a few drinks before retiring to zzzzzz.

Next day was all work, but for lunch, the customer took me to ... Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant. It's a very small, nondescript place tucked in some quiet street, but it's an absolute must go place if you're into food.

This place has the most famous Peking duck in Beijing, and only serves limited Peking duck dishes daily. Normally, you had to book a week ahead, but it was holiday time in Beijing, so we got ourselves seats with ease.

Great food - what did I have here ?

Yummy. Makes me drool just thinking about that Peking duck ... we had some other little dishes, such as a Szechuan Sweet and Sour soup, long beans cooked in some funny sauce and rice. But the highlight was definately the Peking duck ....

After work the same night, Jason (one of the customers) took Mickey and me for Hangzhou cuisine. The idea was to get some Beggar's Chicken. However, it was all sold out, so we ordered the next best thing ...

All of those dishes were really delicious. What's striking about this meal is that Hangzhou cuisine has cold and hot dishes, so you order them in balanced portions. Here the drunken chicken and the cow stomach were the cold dishes. We later ordered some noodles to go with the food.

The next day was all work - we worked till late night, and dinner was nothing but Pizza Hut delivery. Oh well, work comes first.

On Sunday, I still had to go into the office in the morning, but before work, I decided to get a sneak preview of some of Beijing's best known sights ...

The famous Tiananmen square, and the gardens at South Nanchizi Road were some of the sights I managed in the morning before I had to go to the office. Then I dashed off to the office, and got out only after lunch ...

So, I rushed down to ....

The Forbidden City. Also called the Imperial Palace Museum, since it is now a museum. I had only 3 hours to see everything, so I walked like a mad-man on a mission. It's quite big - walking from one end of the other takes about 20 minutes of brisk walking (not the shopping walking, which is slower and more relaxing - that would have taken 40 minutes, I guess).

And I actually covered the whole place in that time, but I really didn't get to really enjoy it. It was part Amazing Race, part National Geographic. Half the time I would be walking real quick from one part to another, snap a picture and leave. I wish I had more time so I can do the place justice. I'm so going back there again.

Some of the palaces I was looking forward to seeing, such as the Taihe Dian was closed for restoration. *Sigh* .. this is that palace you see in the movies where all these officials would be kowtowing to the Emporer. I so wanted to take a picture from up there. I guess I'll need to come back another time.

But I did get to rub those knobs on the doors. I don't know what that's all about, but everyone does that, so I did it too.

And at night, Mickey and I went to Wangfujing. This place is like Petaling Street + Sungei Wang of Beijing - all the shops are here, and all the hawker food as well.

Well, I didn't try any of those, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Apart from the sand and dust, and the work too, Beijing was a blast. There were so many other places I didn't get to see, but I'll be back, I'm sure, and next time, I'll take some time off to see more.


Che-Cheh said...

Ohhhh I miss Beijing too. Wish I can speak Mandarin then at least I dare to go there without following any tour agency.

So how's your new job ? :P

Inevitable said...

woah! i surely want to try the duck...

moz monster said...

che-cheh: Hehe ... I passed the Beijing cab drivers test - can carry a conversation with the cab drivers there - they understood me and I understood them. SooooOOooOOoo happy.

New job is ok, still getting used, but definately getting the hang of things. Thanks for asking !

inevitable: Take the best roast duck in Malaysia, multiply the deliciousness factor by 100 - that's Peking duck !!!

The chef did speak to us - you need to use cherry wood when roasting, you must produce exactly 108 slices from each duck, the duck must be from only 1 area - Hubei, the roasting time must be precise and you need to learn at least 10 years before they even make you a chef - it had better be good !!