Mr. Shi’s Dumplings is famous. Possibly more famous among foreigners. They have a few locations and we went to this one sort of near the Drum and Bell Towers. And the dumplings were delicious! We opted for fried over steamed and we got some that had cheese as part of the filling (very much for the foreigners). Absolutely delicious! So good! We even got Squidgems to try some!
This Mr. Shi’s is in a hutong neighborhood (one filled with a lot of hipsters) so we had a little exploring trying to find it, and then trying to find our way to a different subway stop to get home.
Din Tai Fung is a restaurant with locations throughout the world. It had been on my list for awhile to try their xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and their shaved ice. It’s a little nicer, so we left the kids home and enjoyed a date night out. We went to the location in Beijing closer to us, at the Xidan stop (lines 1 and 4). It’s in the basement of one of the malls there.
green beans with pork
Their mascot is adorable.
Dessert. It actually looks kind of gross (and strawberries were out of season so we went with mango) but this is a delicious, creamy, shaved ice concoction. So good. And that bowl is HUGE!
An older Chinese sister in our branch invited a bunch of us over for lunch to say goodbye to me and another sister who was moving with her family to Shanghai. She made delicious homemade jiaozi and this Zongzi (below). Zongzi is sort of an acquired taste. But the homeade jiaozi was yummy.
I found a place to by these bubble egg waffles in China (we discovered them in Hong Kong), and they sell a bubble waffle maker on amazon.com (US)!!! Yay!
B and I went to a convert (Canadian Chinese woman named June) on the other side of town, so we decided to wait and eat while we were over there near all the yummy restaurants. We had some tuk tuk issues (driver yelling at us that we weren’t paying what he asked when he agreed upon Y10 and then dropped us off and started yelling that we owed him Y10 per person, B yelled back). And the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. So we walked down Chaoyang Park Rd. and found this French/Vietnamese Bistro place. It was pretty good.
Egg roll… I forgot to take a pic.
Veggie spring rolls
For my birthday, we went to a place called Al Safir, a Middle Eastern restaurant up by the US Embassy, because we heard they had great falafel and chicken shawarma. It may have given us food poisoning (we both had desperate need of the bathrooms at the Pearl Market shortly after eating here), but it was delicious. And I believe B went back again after I returned to the US and didn’t get sick on his second vist.
On my crazy list of things to see and do in Beijing were a handful of little things that I’d never been able to check off. After our family photo shoot at the Ancient Observatory, we started to put a checkmark next to some of these things.
First up was the Kid’s Republic Bookstore. I’d seen it anytime cool bookstore or library designs are featured online, and as a book loving family, we had to see it in real life. It disappointed. It’s small and old and run-down and all the cool reading nooks were full of adults. It’s pretty cool, and I’m glad we saw it, but it wasn’t what I hoped for. And it didn’t help that it was almost entirely Chinese language books. (I know, I know… it’s in China… but still!)
Next up, a crazy China adventure. That wasn’t on my list. What was on B’s list was eating lunch at his favorite Indian restaurant, Ganges. Since we were still off of line one (the eastern end), we walked to a Ganges location we hadn’t been to before instead of some of the others in the north east we’d been to before. Walking around the mall it was supposedly in, we couldn’t find it so B called the number listed for them. A man answered and said he knew where we were, so he’d come out and get us. What ended up happening was he found us, took us to his driver (a Chinese man who spoke no English) and fit the 6 of us and a stroller into his driver’s sedan and had the driver drive us to the other location (one we’d been to before) because the location we were at was temporarily closed (that the entire basement of the mall was closed). B and I looked at each other, shrugged and got in the car. I was about a one mile drive. We ended up safely at the other Ganges and ate a delicious lunch. Only in China!!
Somehow, I heard about a Friends Cafe in Beijing. I was always a huge fan of the tv show Friends, I was even part of the live audience for a taping when I was in high school, so I knew I had to go. I never got the group of girl friends together to check it out, so Brandon (with his awesome map skills) got us there where we enjoyed some milk shakes and a cupcake. So fun! Especially since I’d just finished watching the entire series on Netflix.
A Burger King opened on our street, maybe a mile west of our apartments.
Over Spring Festival, the kids cat sat for one of B’s co-workers who had three stray cats he’d adopted and who hid under his bed the entire time we were watching them. This was the view from his apartment of the Sculpture Park across the street.
I didn’t understand the displays or red bras, underwear and socks that are so prevalent around Chinese New Year until someone explained to me that if it is your year (ie: you were born the Year of the Monkey and now it’s the Year of the Monkey again) it is bad luck unless you wear something red every day.
Riding a bike in Beijing is tricky. Try doing it one handed while holding an umbrella and balancing a person on back.
I’m a member of an LDS Homeschool group on Facebook. Someone asked for fridge organization ideas. I jokingly showed them our tiny fridge here in Beijing.
Squidgems riding the bust with me to the grocery store. He was very excited.
We went to BHG since I knew he’d like these little carts.
Hmmm… homemade yogurt.
Snow White, advertising cookware in our new Wumart.
Isn’t this baby adorable next to Buddy. She’s all bundled up in traditional garb.
People share carrying shopping bags all the time.
I’ve read on some expat Beijinger blogs and online papers that Kro’s Nest has great pizza. On 11/6/14 we all rode the subway across town to the Qingnianlu stop on line 6 to drop Princess Sparkley off at the Girls Camp leader’s apartment so they could get an early start the next morning. PS and I had been there for the pumpkin carving youth activity so I knew there was a Kro’s Nest at the stop. We had giant, delicious pizza, dropped PS off and then explored that mall (with the Lego store and Toys R Us) a little with the boys before heading home.