Meandering in China. Part- I

Tripoto
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 1/7 by Noor
SUMMER PALACE
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 2/7 by Noor
THE CHOLESTEROL FREE HEALTHY FOOD
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 3/7 by Noor
BEAUTIFUL CONCRETE JUNGLE
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 4/7 by Noor
THE FAMOUS BEIJING BIRD NEST STADIUM
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 5/7 by Noor
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 6/7 by Noor
FORBIDDEN CITY
Photo of Meandering in China. Part- I 7/7 by Noor
798 ART ZONE

How you describe a city like Beijing: the capital city of the Asian Superpower China; a modern bustling city on one side and the cultural head of a vast country like China. In Mandarin, China is referred to as 'Zhongguo' which literally translates as the centre of the world. It truly is the centre of trade and commerce even in the present day. Things are a lot different in China. And it is amazing to get to know the place and as they rightly say: In Rome, do as Romans do so in China, do as the Chinese do.

Here is a guide to a perfect stay in this place:

PLACES TO VISIT

1. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA: A must do of-course. The Badaling Pass is the most convenient place. Check out the modes of transport in advance. Train is the cheapest mode of transport to reach there. There are regular buses to the Wall as well. The Mutianyu section offers a quieter alternative, also close to Beijing, This section features an optional cable car ride, or an opportunity to climb more than 1,400 steps to the top. Mao Zedong remarked, "Who never climbed the Great Wall cannot be deemed a Man." So, grab your walking shoes, apply your dose of suncreen and be ready to scale this Wonder of the World.

2. FORBIDDEN CITY: Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 ha (180 acres). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture,and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere.(Source: Wikipedia) According to a local friend of mine, the Forbidden City consisted of 999 and a half similar looking rooms as it is the closest place similar to heaven. (They believed that heaven had 1000 rooms). "Forbidden", referred to the fact that no one could enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission. Nearby to the Forbidden Place is a hill which overlooks the whole city.

3. TIANANMEN SQUARE : This is a large city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the monuments to the heroes of the revolution, the great hall of people, the National Museum of China, and the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall (with Mao's embalmed body). The square lies between two ancient, massive gates: the Tian'anmen to the north and the Zhengyangmen, better known as Qianmen to the south. The place has witnessed many political and cultural protests.

4. BEHAI PARK: Beihai Park located in central Beijing, is one of the oldest and most authentically preserved imperial gardens in China. It has a history of 1000 years. A very peaceful park by the lake, it forms a great place to spend the evening.

5. BEIJING NATIONAL STADIUM: Another place that makes it to the to- do list is the Birdnest Olympic Stadium and the Olympic WaterPark. It was designed as the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. National Aquatics Center, and colloquially known as the Water Cube, is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box).

THINGS TO EAT IN CHINA

Now, China is a hard core non vegetarian country. Anything and everything you can think off is eaten here which might just amaze you throughout your trip. The place is a paradise for all the non- vegetarians, however, survival seems to be difficult for someone like me who happens to be a vegetarian. Here is a guide to some of the very well known sumptuous feasts in China:

1. The Beijing Duck: Peking Duck or Beijing Duck is best-known for the thin and crispy skin, rich taste and long history. the popular opinion is conclude some ways and timing to eat Beijing duck. The duck is tasted palatable in spring, winter and autumn. The authentic versions of dish should be served with most skin and little meat. Generally it is eaten with pancakes, sweet bean sauce and scallion. The sweet bean sauce is smeared on the pancakes, then slices of meat is put between the pancakes.

2. DUMPLINGS: Dumplings have a delicate wheat-flour skin around warm, moist prawn or pork contents. They are similar to what we call Momos in India. The crescent-moon dumplings are served steamed, fried or in a soup, sold by the number of dumplings or weight. Use your chopsticks to share from the one platter–the Chinese way. On your table you’ll find black rice-vinegar and smoky chilli-oil to drizzle into your little dipping sauce dish. Be ready for the juicy dumpling contents to burst with flavour in your mouth.

3. FLATBREAD: Golden-toasted flatbreads and pastries come in many tasty forms in China’s capital and make a filling street food cooked on the spot or a shareable restaurant starter.They are similar to sweet pooris in India.

4. MOONCAKES: A Mid-Autumn Festival favourite, I did not have the chance to try them but it remains a very sought after thng. The classic yuè bĭng is a sweet biscuity cake with a dense filling of red bean- or lotus-paste around an egg yolk ‘moon’. No sweet snack looks as prosperous and self-contained as round moon cakes branded with Chinese symbols glazed in the tops.

5. BARBEQUE SKEWERS: Beijing has adopted the Chinese-Muslim lamb skewer from Xinjiang and evolved it. Anything that captures your imagination can be skewered and roasted at street hawker stands. The hawkers just stop to as if you'll like it Point to what you want spicy () or not (bùlà). as soon as the sun starts to set, these hawkers start putting there stalls on the pavements and you can see a group of men sitting on the small table chit-chatting. As you’re in Beijing and the buzz and dazzling lights of the market might just convince you to try spicy shark, snake, starfish, seahorses or sheep’s testicles.

6. BEIJING HOT POT: Now, this one is a must do.This bubbling copper pot of soup is cooked at your table by you and your friends, adding fresh meat and veg. It’s a warming Beijing favourite.The pot is shaped like a ying-yang. One side the broth is spicy equipped with the famous Chinese spices and the other side is just salt water. Choose what raw vegetables and lamb (or other meat, fish balls or mushrooms) you would like on your platter to cook for yourself in the pot. Then drop in ingredient-by-ingredient what you would like to cook and eat. Each person scoops out their goodies with a slotted spoon (or just chopsticks) and eats it with a dipping sauce, which can include sesame oil, savoury BBQ and fermented soybean. At the end, add the noodles to the soup to draw up the flavours.

THINGS THAT MIGHT HELP

1. Learn a few Phrases in Mandarin. Very few people are able to speak in English, so it was always great if are able to converse in their language. Like, I am a vegetarian so the words 'Sùshí zhǔyì zhě' were like my trump cards. Plus, you are able to impress them.

2. The Beijing Subway is extraordinarily cheap- 2 yuan anywhere in the city. Make good use of it.

3. The people in Beijing are relatively louder than the average. It might appear that these folks are fighting but instead they are just having a normal conversation.

4. The men prefer to grow the last fingernail of their right hand as it is used to pick the ear and the left one won't do it as well as the right one.

5. Learn to master the art of using chopsticks. These folks eat rice with chopsticks and spoons are difficult to find.

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