In the winter of 2008 when moving to China was just a twinkle in our eye, we came to China as tourists for a 10-day, Shanghai/Beijing tour. Our first stop was Beijing, and I found the whole place wildly, fantastically exotic and exciting. I was curious to return now, 2 years after living in China to see what my impressions were. Exciting? Oh yeah, still that. But exotic? No way. In fact I was struck at how western the city was. So many people speak English, the subway is in English (with English signs and announcers) and there was so much international food. Beijing is a great city, with lots of pockets of really unique history, but no matter where we went, how off the beaten track we thought we were going, nobody even batted an eyelash. They had all seen plenty of westerns before.
In our small, “boonie” city in southern China, western food is a rarity. So when we travel we make a point to get some western food in us quick, like burgers, sandwiches and maybe a steak and cheese or so. Beijing was hog heaven for us. Our time there was basically some sites in between chowing down. And lest you all think we ate burgers and American food the whole time, we didn’t. And I have the pictures to prove it.
We had Japanese food:
And not to make other asian nations feel bad we had some Korean food as well:
Â But we did end up eating a lot of American food:
We also had some crazy junk food I’ve never seen before but certainly seemed fatty-American inspired.
But of course, we ate some of the local specialties. In Beijing that means one thing: Peking duck.
Also eaten, but not shown, was a Mexican meal and some delicious Beijing street food like muslim bread and sugar dipped strawberries on a stick. Also, with my head held in shame I will confess: I ate a Big Mac and fries.
So now in my head Beijing is no longer a place of strange wonder, but an international city of culinary wonders. (Hey, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.) I’m certainly glad we don’t live there (too much English and too much international food for all the time) but it was a great place to visit. And of course there is some other amazing things to do in Beijing besides eating, like a Summer Palace something or other, and a Forbidden thing a mahooey. Hey, did I tell you about the great salad I had?!