Food glorious food …

July 16th, 2010 — 6:33pm, 1 comment »

The noodle guy

Now it’s all about food – in China.

Apart from the predictably poor meal at the western restaurant at our hotel in Xi’an, only visited because we were too exhausted to leave the premises, our culinary experiences were fabulous, if not memorable.  (I’m not including Macca’s for breakfast here. And I’m quite sure that David would want me to make it very clear that he never ate at the big M – he only ate street food for breakfast, and, by the way, he is the only one of us who didn’t get a tummy bug. He does have an iron stomach though).

One of the best meals we ate was at a little restaurant our wonderful guide Erma (is that a Chinese name?) took us to when we visited the truly amazing Terracotta Warriors.  (They warrant a post of their own but I’ll let you look them up yourself.)

My favourite dish was the wild mushrooms with water spinach – or was it the shredded pork with spring onion – the tofu with schezuan pepper – or the chicken with pomegranate? Sorry, I was so hungry I forgot to take photos.

In the memorable catagory would be the night food market where silkworm,


and snake

were standard fare – with some of us anyway …

Conor decided to stick with the noodles

and my parents with roasted corn on the cob.  How cute are these two?

This 24 hr Dim Sum restaurant was so good we went three times.  Look at this lovely private room.  Apparently the chicken feet were to die for – and – you’d have to kill me first.  I eat most things, but I’ll stick to dumplings thank you.

No – this is not soldier drill – it is waiter drill …

Because David had missed out on our Peking Duck at the fabulous No Name restaurant on our first night in Beijing, Sam took us back there on our last night.

Perfect …

Again, the eggplant was heavenly,

and this time we had it with broad beans,


and sticky rice in pineapple – sublime -

washed down with chinese beer.


July 8th, 2010 — 2:55pm, 3 comments »

I was thinking of not sharing this find, but given that we read about it in the Lonely Planet I guess I’m not really spilling the beans.  So, if you ever come to Beijing I can highly recommend you visit the Panjiayuan Antique Market – if you like that sort of thing.  The trouble is figuring out where to start – keep calm and breathe slowly –  and having enough time to browse.  I only had a few hours and it wasn’t nearly enough.   Of course I don’t know much about antiques, unlike others I saw perusing with their magnifiers.  I just like what I like – whatever takes my fancy.

And this did …  I just love the painting!

and I found a real treasure below …

This stall took my fancy …

and so did this …

and this. I also found a very special treasure here …

And of course here I felt a mosaic project coming on, but given my boxes full of broken china at home, I resisted.  (But I don’t have broken antique chinese porcelain …)

If I had had more time, a bigger suitcase and an even bigger house, I think I could have done some serious shopping.  But I’m (almost) glad I didn’t.  Looking is good too.  I felt privileged just to be there.  The next day when we went to the Chinese National Museum, I recognised a number of items I had seen the day before at the market and understood their actual use. 

But I did take a few things home with me …

This old photo album touched my heart.  I couldn’t leave this family behind.  A mother, a sister, chose this beautiful album to keep her loved ones safe. Where are they now?

I decided this beautiful celadon flower shaped bowl wouldn’t take up much room in my suitcase.  I can’t say no to flowers.

I also found this old photo and frame absolutely compelling …

Lastly, a touch of whimsy  – this vintage chinese globe.

My treasures.

Beijing Adventure

July 1st, 2010 — 3:42am, Comment »


I do love an adventure.  And I haven’t had one in a while, unless you count the week spent in Ubud, Bali in January.  I don’t think I do.  As much as I love Ubud – it is a little too relaxed, easy and comfortable to be an adventure.  It’s more respite.  But Beijing I call an adventure.  Particularly because on my very first day here I was nearly killed by someone on a bicycle.  Or maybe I nearly killed someone on a bicycle. Anyway… While trying to cross the street I narrowly avoided collision with an oncoming speeding bus by stepping/jumping/leaping backwards to collide instead with a speeding bicycle. Amazingly, both the poor man on the bicycle and I, while visibly shaken, escaped serious injury.  I think my son Sam was also a little shaken, judging by the way he yelled at me.  At least I like to think it was out of concern – and not because of the street stopping, police waving commotion his mother had caused within an hour of arriving in Beijing.