After watching the flag-lowering ceremony at Tian An Men Square (天安门广场), we headed to Wang Fu Jing Street (王府井大街), said to be the “Champs-Élysées of China, Beijing’s main shopping artery lined with clothing outlets, souvenir shops, fast-food restaurants, and the city’s top two malls – Beijing APM and Oriental Plaza“:
Digression/Observation: We took the subway from Tiananmen East Station (天安门东站) to Wangfujing Station (王府井站) and realised that the people in Beijing were more gracious than (most of) those we’ve been meeting in Shanghai. Beijingers let passengers on the train alight first before trying to board (hence less shoving and pushing to alight), unlike the Shanghainese who just push and shove themselves onto the train even before passengers could alight (and hence Shanghainese also shove their way out to alight!).
From Wangfujing Station (王府井站), we walked about 1 kilometre before getting to Wang Fu Jing Street (王府井大街) proper:
Feeling hungry, we decided to try 狗不理包子 (Gou Bu Li Bao Zi):
This set of 狗不理包子 (Gou Bu Li Bao Zi) with corn congee (free-flow) cost RMB 45 (SGD 9.40), and we thought it was quite pricey at first because the shop buns didn’t look very enticing.
After trying them though, we got to say that the buns were rather tasty – although the meat fillings were not as flavourful, the buns were not mushy; coupled with the corn congee, it was a great combination! 😀
“There are many explanations for the name Goubuli. The oft-quoted one relates to a poor village boy nicknamed Gouzhai. At 14, he became an apprentice at a food store. Thereafter, he setup his own shop specialising in selling steamed, stuffed baozi. His supposedly very delicious baozi soon gained immense popularity in a short period of time. As a result, Gouzhai got too occupied with his business to converse with his customers. So, they started to complain, “Gouzhai does not talk to people.” (which loosely translates as Chinese: 狗不理; pinyin: Gǒubùlǐ).” (Wikipedia)
“Gou Bu Li Bao Zi is a typical Tianjin steamed bun. The bun is really thin, they come with various filling from meat to veggies and are about 2.5 inches wide. The literal translation of Gou Bu Li is “dogs ignore”. You should not be intimidated by the name because these little buns are delicious! As the legend says, the odd name comes from its founder childhood nickname. My Tianjin friend said when you’re given an ugly name, it’s supposed to protect you from bad luck. Already famous among the locals, the buns became even more famous when the Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty tried them and proclaimed them delicious.” (Quoted)
Maybe this is 狗仔 (Gou Zai), the creator of 狗不理包子 (Gou Bu Li Bao Zi)?
东城区 (Dongcheng District)
帅府园胡同24号(全聚德对面) (24 Shuaifuyuan Hutong, opposite Quan Ju De Peking Duck)
狗不理包子 (Gou Bu Li Bao Zi) originated from 天津 (Tian Jin), so this shop might be better? (We didn’t try this, so if any of you do, let us know how they taste! 😉 )
东城区 (Dongcheng District)
帅府园胡同22号 (22 Shuaifuyuan Hutong)
Walking north along Wang Fu Jing Street (王府井大街), we got to Dong An Men Street (东安门大街):
Walking west/left on Dong An Men Street (东安门大街), we got to 东华门美食坊夜市 (Dong Hua Men Mei Shi Fang Ye Shi), Dong Hua Men Night Market:
东华门美食坊夜市 (Dong Hua Men Mei Shi Fang Ye Shi), Dong Hua Men Night Market is a stretch of food-stalls selling food on a skewer:
A few stalls sell exotic food like:
Sea stars and sea urchins.
Sea stars, snake, pupae, centipede, spider! 😐
We decided to take a Peking Duck wrap:
J was smiling before she took a bite; after her first bite, she was disgusted – the Peking duck was soooooo fatty and oily! 😐
Walking on, we decided to try a lamb-skewer and a squid-skewer:
The ones on the left above are ours, not those on the right – one of which is a pupae-skewer! 😐
Though he finished the lamb-skewer, he thought the lamb tasted a bit odd. (We did for a moment worry it’d be rat meat! 😐 )
It was too spicy for her… 😦
Not how fried ice-cream would be done in Singapore though! 😐
Piglet bread caught our attention:
While waiting for Darien to meet us, J ended up at a shop and found these 速效热包 (Su Xiao Re Bao):
She first saw such heat packs when Grandparents Teo brought them back to Singapore many years ago and she really liked them but could not find them in Singapore; she ended up buying 3 of them at RMB 76 (SGD 15.90), which is 1 for RMB 25 (SGD 5.20) – kind of ripped off because they were selling on Tao Bao for RMB 8.50 (SGD 1.80)!
When Darien finally met us, we had dinner and it was the worst-tasting meal ever, at “老北京炸酱面” (Lao Bei Jing Zha Jiang Mian):
The roasted pigeon was all right, tasted kind of like chicken.
The vegetables were too salty and oily:
Darien’s noodles were kind of bland:
Our 炸酱面 (Zha Jiang Mian), which we’ve heard much about, was absolutely wayyyyyy to salty!
MAYBE that’s how 炸酱面 (Zha Jiang Mian) is supposed to taste, we don’t know, but we didn’t enjoy the meal at all.