As I mentioned in my previous post, I had traveled to Beijing once before in the past. However, this trip felt like a re-introduction to the REAL Beijing. Traveling to Beijing as a tourist and traveling to Beijing to spend time with someone who lives there are two completely different experiences.
Beijing, in 2016, is in the process of undergoing a cultural renaissance. Want some fresh, fair-trade coffee? You’re in luck, there is a café on every corner. Want to view some unique local art, and purchase said art for an unacceptably high amount? Congratulations! There are art districts all over the city. How about some organic juice that was freshly squeezed from a rare fruit whose name no one knows how to pronounce? Guess what…. You can find it! Young people in Beijing are taking the old, and re-inventing it to fit their new, modern styles and interests. The old factory below was surrounded by one of the most famous art district in the entire city: “798 Art Zone.” Research it; it’s worth the read.
Beijing is a massive city, so I did not have time to explore every single corner and nuance. Understanding my time constraint, one of my main goals was to, once again, experience the famous 北京烤鴨 (Beijing Roast Duck).
Well, my friend and I had a little bit of a misadventure involving hangovers and missed trains (I’ll get into the details later), but we decided to make the best of a bad situation. “Well, might as well go eat some duck!”
He took me to a little known, but increasingly famous, local Beijing Duck restaurant. It was nestled in an old 胡同(HuTong) (again, go do some research) that had yet to be renovated. I’m sure the health inspectors are overlooking this particular restaurant for cultural reasons. Suffice it to say, I don’t ever suggest anyone squish about food safety ever eat here :) However, life is short, so 入鄉隨俗 (When in Rome, etc.)！
The duck was amazing! Despite the glaring and utter lack of any kind of restaurant efficiency (or sanitary practices), I had a great meal and am still alive!
Go eat moar duck!