I only wish I were a better story teller in order to share how magnificently wondrous, bold and truly profound Beijing is.
Our days there were all worthy of the title once in a lifetime moment and even under the often present blanket of smog, this ancient city held an earnest charm not easily forgotten.
Every morning I threw open the gauze curtains and lifted the block-out shades to watch the city wake. It was during these quiet mornings I embraced a new breakfast ritual of delicate tea and sweet, gently fuzzed local peaches.
By nature I’m a bit of a coffee fiend but drinking these lovely teas, made from the finest of leaf from plantations across China, was a signature highlight of our trip. There really was no better way to start the day.
My one wish while in Beijing was to walk upon the Great Wall.
I won’t sugar coat this as it was a challenging climb yet for all its difficulty, it was the most rewarding hike I have ever done. I took breaths of paper thin air, often succumbed to the early morning heat and struggled with the steep steps and inclines yet I soaked up everything I possibly could in an effort to carry a tiny piece of that incredible day back home with me.
After the walk I was ravenous, and how better complete the day than enjoy plates of steaming dumplings with my big ol’ dumpling.
The golden thread which holds this amazing city together is food. We tried anything and everything, rolled succulent Peking duck pancakes one after the other, tried classic Imperial dishes to humble local bowls and indulged in golden egg tarts.
Add to that the famous Beijing boiled lamb tripe, hand-pulled noodles, street food in the Hutong district, boiled mutton and exquisite cakes and pastries and our holiday food hit list was complete.
When you colour co-ordinate your outfit to match your favorite food vendor…….
We also had the best pizza ever in a tiny corner of the city. The Great Leap Brewing Company not only serves up fantastic craft beers but the pizza was A-mazing!!……and you will not often hear me say that of pizza.
I think I will be forgiven for not ordering this dish…….
Tea. Tea. Tea.
Tsingtao – pure delight when combating the heat of Beijing.
Craft Beer – treacley stouts, porters, pilsners, IPA’s, pale ales, lagers, saisons…….. the craft beer scene in China has taken off. While in Beijing, the Great Leap Brewing Company became our ‘local’ and rightly so due to the world class beers they have on tap. Using local ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorns, silver needle tea and locally grown hops these guys know the market and they know how to brew. For beer and food they get a 10/10.
Cocktails – we stayed at the luxurious NUO Hotel and enjoyed cocktail hour at the O’Bar. With its huge outdoor terrace encompassing stunning views of the city together with its oriental glamour this bar is a true city gem.
More glimpses into the magic that was Beijing to follow…….x