We awoke on our last day in Beijing to a perfect day, the first for a long while. Oh no!
Its Sunday, the weather in perfect and we were heading to the Forbidden City, do you think there might be a couple of people around? Steeling ourselves for some mosh pit action we hit the town.
From our hostel to get to the Forbidden City we had to make our way through Tiananmen Square. To enter the square you need to pass through a security point similar to that at an airport, who would want to cause trouble in a place like this? Oh, yes they would, oh, and those guys too. But all in all a very orderly process so far, not even a hint of mosh (though if the bouncers at a rock concert were Chinese army security I don’t think there would be any mosh there either).
The square was large and.. square I suppose. Anyway, through the check point on the other side and onto the Forbidden City.
The forbidden city didn’t seem to have the same kind of guards the square did, so you guessed it, sardine time (that’s what sardines are doing in their cans by the way; moshing). Walking like penguins, surrounded as far as the eye could see by snap happy tour groups and overly excited children, we shuffled our way to the entry.
The Forbidden City was quite something to see, but I wont go into detail. If you would like to know more there is this thing called the internet you should try out. Ah, you know it, damn that wikipedia thing ruining every good argument that we have with cold facts. And amazingly once in the city walls it was quite easy to escape the crowds if you veered away from the main half dozen sights.
Having walked ourselves to exhaustion (easy when your lazy and unfit), we headed out to find the other thing Beijing is famous for; Peking Duck!
Just around the corner from our hostel we found what we were looking for.
Now it has to be said we love duck., but that we were also pretty much Peking duck restaurant novices. We knew that we were going to put duck into pancakes with hoisin and some other stuff, but this ain’t Australia, this is the Peking Duck in Peking. Yes, we may have been a little excited at this point.
First came the non-duck ingredients. The standard (apparently) cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce. Also some melon, sugar and watercress.
And some steamed pancakes (possibly fried and then steamed to keep them hot, the debate is raging (take that wikipedia)).
Then came the duck. But we were not ready for what happen here.
First out came a plate of crispy duck skin. Okay, we start eating. But duck skin isn’t duck duck, is it? Oh what do we know, we are in Beijing the home of Peking Duck, so this must be it. So we started wrapping skin in pancakes and enjoying them…. a lot.
Then all of a sudden a waiter appeared, with more duck! Two plates of it!! For us!!!
Let the feasting begin.
The meat was moist, sweet and not particularly fatty (for duck).
It would be hard to pick which plate of duck was more enjoyable? I think all three at once was an excellent compromise.
This has to be our highlight meal of China so far (let me just try those soup dumpling one more time maybe).The combination of ingredients makes the dish very light and fresh, which isn’t something that can be said for a lot of Chinese cuisine.
I’m already starting to get hazy on the details of the Forbidden City, but I’m sure I’ll never forget that duck.