Archive for the 'Hello, China!' Category

China! – Part 5 (b): The food @ Beijing!

Kev brought me to the Quanjude (全聚德) Restaurant located along Wang Fu Jing St. (said to be 中华第一街!) to try on the famous roasted duck. This was the most expensive meal for my 20-day trip in China!

quanjude roast duck

The ducks!

IMG_4621-quan ju de duck

Each roasted duck is assigned with a serial number!

The most expensive meal of the trip!

The most expensive meal of the trip!

There are many ways to skin the duck! :p

There are many ways to skin the duck! :p

The restaurant claimed that it’s being acclaimed as “天下第一楼” (translation: the best restaurant in the world). I think the food served was just so-so and the acclaim is over-rated. I am not sure if my judgment contains bias as the juice scam irked me so much and made me left no good impression of the restaurant.

quanjude food

红曲鸭膀, braised duck wings seasoned with red yeast. Cold dish involving meat, not to my liking. When I tried this, I thought it’s the duck blood that imparted the reddish color! I also didn’t know it was duck wings! Pardon my ignorance! :p


豌豆黄, yellow split pea cake.

quanjude food

炸鸭丝春段, having translation challenge here… erm… wraps with duck meat shreds?

sugar-coated haws

冰糖葫芦, sugar-coated haws. I had seen and heard so much about it from movies/series, finally had the chance to try it! I like it very much! Sour and sweet!

zhajiang mian

炸酱面, noodle with zhajiang (I can’t translate this, but it’s salty) sauce. Very nice!


香辣萝卜皮, spicy radish skin, also very nice!

knife-cut noodle

刀削面, this noodle is special, because of the way the dough is being cut by special knife into the cooking pot straight, and not so much about the cooking method. To enhance visual effect, the cook of the restaurant I visited, even put the dough over his head and cut it.


Local ice cream, flavor=Mongolian yogurt!



Beijing hu guo shi

Trying out local snacks at 护国寺小吃 (Huguoshi). So sorry, I wasn’t briefed about the names of the snacks! Blame it to Kev and Bin!

On the lower right corner, it’s 八宝粥, I believe there were more ingredients but with me being a glutton, I just can tell there were red beans in the porridge :p


拌海带丝, seaweed shreds, another cold dish.


姜汁皮蛋, preserved eggs with ginger juice. I prefer eating them with the ginger instead.

sashimi with orange

It’s my first time seeing the combination of sashimi + orange…. I was used to seeing sashimi + lemon only, and I just did google image, ok, my exposure and experience are stretched now! :p

kfc china

KFC menu in China

I like finding out the difference in local menus for fast food restaurants 🙂

Part 1: Tianjin | Part 2: Beijing | Part 3: Shanghai | Part 4: Hangzhou | Part 5: The food! (a) |


China! – Part 5 (a): The food @ Tianjin!

Thoughts while working on this post:

  1. I’m writing something which happened more than a year ago! Still behindhand with travel posts for NZ, Indonesia and Laos! The longer I procrastinate, the more details I forget!
  2. I do not visit supermarkets to buy produce anymore since I came back from NZ and OZ.
  3. Translating food names in Chinese to English is no easy task! My vocab for food (the nouns) is so limited!
  4. I miss Kev!


Kev's survival tip in China #1: bring your own tissues

Kev’s survival tip in China #1: bring your own tissues

At Tianjin:

Tianjin 辽宁路小吃街


I like walking streets and night markets because I get to try all sorts of snacks!


狗不理!The dumplings come in many choices of fillings.

狗不理 (Goubuli), “the king of dumpling shops with a century-old history” according to Lonely Planet. Even though the restaurant was originated from Tianjin, branches are available throughout China.


At Goubuli: Eggs of squids! I just asked my mom whether we normally extract the stomachs and eggs…. :p

Savoury douhua

Savoury douhua



I miss this 豆腐脑 a lot! It’s actually our 豆腐花 (douhua) back home, but it’s topped with savory sauce instead of sugar syrup. It’s especially nice to eat with the 油条 (fried bread sticks). It’s available in northern China.

dried sweet potato

At 塘沽 (Tanggu): dried sweet potato

tianjin little sheep

tianjin little sheep

tianjin little sheep

小肥羊 (Little Sheep) hotpot! I like the 麻酱! There are branches in Bolehland already.



南市食品街 (Tianjin Food Street)! I like!



锅巴菜,my own translation: green bean pancake strips with savory sauce.


茶汤 (it should be millet paste in English but I could be wrong), starchy and sweet. Traditional paste in Beijing is prepared using hot water poured out from dragon-head kettle. This kettle is no longer in used, only a decoration for the stall.



This is 驴打滚, glutinous roll with red bean paste. I find it hard to translate the names of certain food from Chinese to English without losing the gist of their original meaning, this is one of them. Translating literally, its name means “donkey rolling” to signify the roll being coated with a layer of flour or sesame. If you can understand Chinese, it’s not so hard to see the relevance, right? 😉

assorted snacks, all very sweet!

assorted snacks, all very sweet!

the sugarman

the sugarman

peacock candy

peacock candy

The sugar art! He made me a peacock! :p



麻花, another type of local snack.

My first time trying this kind of radish

My first time trying this kind of radish




Primary school’s moral lessons always taught us that “street food is not good for health (not hygienic)” but it’s always delicious and cheap!

烤面筋,very nice!

烤面筋,very nice! In English, it should be grilled gluten… oops… not gluten-free…



凉拌肉皮冻, pork skin in aspic. Unlike revenge, which is a dish best served cold, I’m seriously not a fan of cold dishes involving meat. I like hot and steamy food!



凉拌金针菇, mushroom salad. Salad served cold=ok!

Part 1: Tianjin | Part 2: Beijing | Part 3: Shanghai | Part 4: Hangzhou | Part 5: The food! (b)

China! – Part 3: Shanghai

I actually visited the Handan town, hometown of Kev, after Beijing. The visit was more for Kev to spend time with his family and Handan is not a touristy place and hence nothing much to blog about.


My obsessive-compulsive-ness about engineering: I was paying extra attention to the guideway of Maglev! Haha.


生煎!Kev’s observation: People from Northern China like to eat rice, bread, more meat and less vegetables. Therefore generally, they are more built in size. On the other hand, the main diet for people from Southern China consists of noodles, more vegetables and soups.  Therefore majority of them are smaller in size relatively. He also stated that Southern China is cleaner in general and the food here is very delicate in size and needing more effort in preparing it.

Good community interaction: dancing class on every evening.

The source of live music in the City God Temple.

I can’t describe this sightseeing tunnel aptly… some of the lighting effects were so ugly that they were also pretty at certain glances :p

I like this pedestrian bridge with circular layout!


I don’t know why this scene is very nostalgic to me… maybe because I always saw this in movies/series.

A sight of home in the midst of hustle and bustle of Shanghai!

The instruction said “please do not open your umbrella in this area”, but still… Being on the upper deck of the hop-on-hop-off during a scorching day was the culprit of my deep tan!

We just chilled at a nice café overlooking the Bund to rest our weary legs after walking around for the whole day.

And we just sat at the café until the night fell. Adorned by the lightings, the Bund is quite a view at night.

The museum and former residence of Sun Yat-sen is the only place in Shanghai which stirred a torrent of emotion in me. I was actually having tears in my eyes reading and listening to the stories of Sun.

Part 1: Tianjin | Part 2: Beijing | Part 4: Hangzhou | Part 5: The food! (a) (b)|

China! – Part 2: Beijing

Again, I’m just going to give a short sketch of my adventure, emphasizing on the special stuff that I encountered. 🙂

Kev was irritated that I ignored his advice and adamant that I wanted to do this! His advice was that I should not buy anything unnecessary in China, because there are always hidden prices in the services somehow.

It is stated “RMB 10/photo”, but then after putting on the costume, the staff brought me to a corner, and mentioned this statement at lightning speed, “So I am gonna charge you RMB 10 for putting on the white scarf around your neck; makeup on your face; hair accessories and lend you the fan as a prop”. I couldn’t understand fully their accent and threw an SOS sight to Kev. Kev interfered and found out that I had to pay extra to get the full costume on. This surely was an annoyance because they did not explain in details what the extra charges are and allocate time for me to consider. Instead they just assumed I would feel ok paying the additional charges.

Kev stopped me from doing planking at Tiananmen Sq because he said this place is ultra-sensitive with people lying or sitting on it and he does not want to bail me out from the police station for being a bungler.

No clear blue sky… No cotton-candy cloud…

I observed many Chinese people posed this for photos!

Security checking is a crucial part in China!

This is the popular pose I mimicked before!

Q: A jar=4 glasses of melon juice, how much do you think this would cost us?

A: RMB 115 for god’s sake!!! Both of us were in dropped-jaw disbelief when we had the receipt. That’s half of the price of the duck!

This is surely another annoyance of the trip!

The story went like this:-

After ordering the famous roast duck and some other dishes:

Waitress: Any drinks for you?

Me: Do you have a drinks menu?

Waitress: Sorry, we do not have menu for drinks but I can tell you the choices verbally.

We settled with melon juice and who would have thought it’d cost this much? Kev was infuriated because we had a feeling like being duped! He bashed the waitress that menu should be prepared and in the absence of the menu, she should at least alert the customers to the dear price. So fellow travelers, please make sure you ask for the price before ordering!

I’m not sure if it’s due to my lousy Chinese or the calligraphy is illegible, I read it as 全泵德 on first look, when it is actually 全聚德! Haha!

This is very streetwise don’t you think? Utilizing the air-con and space of train terminal for jianzhi and badminton games! Even can save the cost of renting badminton court! Haha. And it explains why Chinese are superior in the badminton arena: because they can play anywhere! :p

Kang Kang from the Wada Hostel. I had this impulse to shout out the famous quotation from “The despicable me” when I met this cat:  it is so fluffy I’m gonna die!

Taking the subway during rush hours in Beijing=no fun!

Dingling of Ming tombs: the tour guide kept on saying that we shouldn’t be taking photos in the tomb because the deceased emperor and empress were annoyed enough that we disrupted their peace after death and now we still want to invade their privacy by taking photos of their bedroom! :p

A rare scene: clear blue sky and white clouds = a good day to visit the great wall!

Someone’s trying to bypass the firewall and access FB.

I like all the postcards sold in this 一朵一果shop!

The shop even offers the service of “a mail for the future”: you specify the date you want the postcard to reach the receiver and the staff will do the posting for you. How thoughtful!

I’m reaping the benefit of understanding Chinese: paying RMB 30 less for the audio guide.

The Temple of Heaven = my favorite place in Beijing so far. I like its solemnity, felt peaceful while I was there.

Part 1: Tianjin | Part 3: Shanghai | Part 4: Hangzhou | Part 5: The food! (a) (b)|

China! – Part 1: Tianjin

I want to blog about the serendipitous surprises during the trip instead of writing a dutiful travel log 🙂

Hippo and I first time flying premium! Loved the feeling of being able to lie flat on my back!

Flat bed for me and hippo!

Upon arrival, I switched myself to the mode of “adjusting and adapting”:-

  • Accustoming to the hazy/gloomy sky. Air pollution in China is quite severe. Kev said before he went to oz, rarely had he seen blue sky, starry night or rainbow. This fact kind of saddens me and I blame myself for my over-developed sense of entitlement for clear blue sky.


  • Driving and walking on the wrong other side of road
  • I waited patiently for my exclusive turn to take photo with the statue, kev said, “in China, you have to get used to the fact that in every photo that you take, there would be other people in the background!”

Not having the luxury of taking personal shot

  • Being a Malaysian, I always use vocabulary from Chinese and its various dialects, Malay and English interchangeably. I realized my Mandarin is very rusty when I have to speak completely in Mandarin!

I like how a common advice could be fitted into such a “poetic” way and so in rhyme.

Pardon my ignorance: I always thought calabash is just a kind of container in special shape, but I never know it’s actually a kind of plant!

So calabash is a kind of plant…

It was still spring when I visited China and this is a very ingenious way to shield from the airborne catkins!

Putting scarf to good use: demonstration 1


Putting scarf to good use: demonstration 2

Part 2: Beijing | Part 3: Shanghai | Part 4: Hangzhou | Part 5: The food! (a) (b) |

I spot you, creativity!

Series #9 Light bulb reuse!

Reflection of the day

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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The time keeper by Mitch Albom

The art of thinking clearly by Rolf Dobelli

The first phone call from heaven by Mitch Albom

Inferno by Dan Brown

For one more day by Mitch Albom

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

A study in scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous