Greetings all! Just like in my last Geek & Eat, I’ll have to say that the Otaku and Asian Pop Culture for this post is small. So small, in fact, it’s non-existent. We knew Japan was less than a month away, so there was no point in seeking out otaku-related items in China, and I don’t know enough about Chinese films or music to be aware of anything to visit in Beijing. However, if history or food is your thing, then read on!
Being one of the world’s oldest nations, there is history absolutely everywhere in China! Some of the most interesting places we visited in Beijing include the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven Park. There was plenty of information at these places, outlining the original function of the some the features, and how the structure or purpose of the buildings had changed throughout the years. I really liked that in both of these places, the information wasn’t only about the buildings themselves, but also about statues, trees, and other features. Tienanmen Square was somewhere with lot of modern history that I also really wanted to visit, but alas, we ran out of time. The Yonghegong Lama Temple and Confucian Temple were also really interesting, but I would recommend only visiting them in you’re in the area; there is, after all, a lot to see in Beijing!
Any self-respecting history nerd should also jump at the chance to visit the Museum of Qin Terracotta Warriors and Horses and nearby Emperor Win Shi Huang’s Mausoleum. I was very impressed with the museum; there was so much information, not only about why and how the warriors were made, but the whole process of discovery, excavation, and restoration. I liked that the museum pointed out the different roles of the warriors, and how the archaeologists could tell them apart. For example, the generals stood with folded arms and wore different headgear to the foot soldiers! I can’t remember exactly, but I think the mausoleum entry is also covered with the entry to the museum. Not only is the mausoleum park a very pretty place to visit, there are also other exhibition pits inside its grounds to visit and found out more about the burial process of Emperor Win Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, and the emperor whom the Terracotta Warriors belong to. It’s amazing that he lived over 2 000 years ago, but still has such a strong presence to this day!
Finally, Pingyao was an interesting little stop for us, and its Ancient City is easily accessible to explore. There’s English information inside all of the major buildings of the city, but I still think we would have benefited having a guide take us around… something to consider if you plan on going!
China is well known for its impressive cuisine, and there were certainly a lot of different things to try while we were over there. However, I’ll only outline my most favourite meals here.
Firstly, anyone visiting China should try the street snacks such as the candy fruit or the roasted sweet potato. The candied fruit we had in Xi An was really sweet but delicious, although we were surprised when we bit into the tomato. The skewer was huge, and can fill you up for the a little while while you wait for a little snack. The sweet potato we had while walking around after visiting the Lama Temple, and even split amongst three people we couldn’t finish it, so you can probably make a meal out of it!
Secondly, Peking duck is a must for anyone visiting Beijing! We asked at the reception for a good place and were recommended Da Wan Ju (Dongsi), a very busy restaurant attached to a nearby Chinese business hotel. The whole experience was very unique, with a chef coming out from the kitchen to slice the duck in front of us, and our waiter showing us how to eat the skin (dipped in sugar) and how to make the pancakes with the meat. Everyone, I still dream about the taste of this meal, it was beyond superb. In fact, we were too busy eating, we didn’t take photos of the actual meal… but that’s a good sign, right?!
One of the places we visited the most frequently, since it was a favourite breakfast stop for us, was the uniquely named Maan Coffee: Waffles and Toast. To be honest, we only tried it because of the name, but I am so glad we did. The servings were huge and delicious, and the drinks were amazing. Perhaps the best part of the experience was that instead of table numbers, you get teddy bears! It was such a fun, delicious place, I really want to go back there!
Okay, my darlings, that’s all I have to say for my amazing history and food experiences in China. What about you, have you ever been to China? What are some things that you visited or ate that you can shout the praise of for days? Let me know in the comments 🙂