At the beginning of each month I want to show you places where I’d rather be at that very moment. As you know I am constantly either travelling or dreaming of travelling and I want to share my favourite bars, restaurants, hotels, cities and countries around the world with you. And I am looking for your recommendations for my next trips.
* * *Today I am taking you to a exotic place. Exotic in more than one way. First of all it is in Beijing, china. Secondly it is a Tibetan hotel, which is very unusual due to the independency aspirations of Tibet from China. And then it is right in the middle of one of the old quarters of Beijing – so called Hutongs. They are not only one-storeyed buildings, but complex communities and unfortunately they are torn down to make room for 90-storey high skyscrapers of modern Beijing every day. So hurry up and you may be able to see this incredible area before it disappears forever.
The food is always good, because Chinese people LOVE their food. They simply wouldn’t accept anything but great food – no matter whether you pay 10 cents or 30 dollars per dish. Ordering food is usually simple as well – either you point at what you want (especially easy at food stalls in the street or at markets) or you order something of a menu with photos (they show very vividly what chicken feet look like) or you just order ‘blindly’ something of an all-Chinese menu (believe me the English ‘translations’ won’t help you a bit!). If you opt for the adventurous ‘blind’ order, but want to avoid too adventurous food (Chinese people seem eat all kinds of meat and all parts of an animal!), my advice is to order something more on the cheap side, because these are usually the vegetable or chicken dishes. Turtle, guinea pig, snake and chicken tongue are Chinese specialties and therefore usually the most expensive dishes on the menu. Even if your Chinese host or waiter strongly recommends them, I would rather insist on something simple ;-) That said during my three trips to China I spend about 30 days there, I ate three times a day (at least!), I had several dishes at every lunch and dinner (due to the great tradition of sharing dishes), at chic as well as dodgy restaurants, at cafes, markets and on the street, in big cities and small towns, I tried lots of new dishes, I wasn’t always sure what was on my plate, but ... I NEVER EVER had one dish that didn’t taste amazing. So, I am sure you’ll enjoy trying out new restaurants.
Where: 149 West Gulou Street, Beijing, China; between Drum Tower and Deshengmen
phone: (010) 640 188 22, fax (010) 640 11 330, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Highlight: situated in the over 100-year-old Guan Temple inside a beautiful park
More photos, information and ideas: Hotel Qomolangma, amazing photos of Beijing’s hutons, Hutong tour