It would be difficult to survive five days in Beijing without eating duck, which is both omnipresent and excellent, so it is a mystery to me why anyone would want to. Saturday evening our host suggested a local restaurant named Hui Feng which specialised in roast duckling. We ordered up a storm, about six dishes, one being an entire duck’s worth of Peking Duck. Marvellous! The ducks are big, here, too, so we had enough food for a family of ten.
In preparation for dining in Beijing, I had learned two important Chinese phrases phonetically: “May I have some hot chili sauce?” and “Where’s the toilet?” The staff was puzzled, and perhaps a bit offended, when, confusing the two phrases, I pointed to a plate of dumplings while demanding to know the locale of the toilet. Some of the other diners were entertained by our enormous appetites and creative chopstick techniques. We were entertained by the bug zapper over the door from the kitchen which intermittently sent insects to a cracking, fiery demise; very American. The whole banquet came in under $50.
Early to bed and early to rise, Sunday morning we headed out before breakfast, dangerously coffeeless, to see Chairman Mao arisen from his wintry tomb. It had rained overnight, which oddly enough did not clear the smog, but added mist and fog to the haze.
Continue reading 03. Great Men and Spoilt Brats