Beijing, the capital city of China, is the political, cultural and educational center of the country. Known as “Forbidden City”, Beijing is a mirror image of the modernized China.
On one hand, as the capital of several old dynasties, Beijing is famous for its preservation of cultural heritage; for example, royal gardens, artistic museums and historical parks. On the other hand, Beijing is also a very modern city with skyscrapers and fabulous shopping malls. Thus, Beijing is a good mix of traditional and modern culture.
The Former Residence of Ms. Soong Ching-ling
Ms Soong Ching-ling was married to Mr. Sun Yat-sen, who organized the revolution and overturned the feudal dynasty. Thus, Ms Soong is called the First Lady of the country.
Her former residence was built during the old dynasty and belonged to one prince of the old dynasty. Her house has the distinctive feature of a historical palace. The residence was surrounded by hills and lakes. In particular, there were 23 old trees protected by the government because of their historical value.
No. 46. North of Houhai, Xicheng District. Tel: 010-64044205
Fengbo Zhuang Chinese Restaurant
Fengbo Zhuang is the most interesting restaurant I’ve ever seen. It imitates what a restaurant looks like in the old times depicted in the martial arts novels. For example, all waiters and waitress are dressed in ancient costumes, greeting you with the old-fashioned rhythmic sentences circulating among folks. It is a must-try if you want to experience more about traditional Chinese culture and martial arts in the old times.
In addition, the dishes are also unique — they are without menu. It all depends on how many people you have, the restaurant will serve you dishes accordingly. For example, three guests would be served with three to four dishes, a mix of vegetables, seafood, meat and special snacks or staples.
No. 44 Zhaodengyu Road, Xicheng District. Tel: 010-66157458
Nanluoguxiang is both a commercial center and a cultural center. People make money from cultural goods or artistic products; thus, many local artists and craftsman are based here and make artistic creations. Many small shops are about notebooks, mini-musical instruments, toys, clothes and dolls with special and creative designs.
Nanluoguxiang is actually the name of a 438-meter-long Hutong, the traditional street and community in China. In addition to its function as a place for artistic interaction, it also offers a variety of local snacks, such as milk custard and barbecues. Shopping for some souvenirs, bathing in the sun, wandering around Hutong, and getting immersed in the traditional culture would be a great fun for afternoon activity.
Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng District.
Haidilao Hot Pot
How can you miss the hot pot in China? There are two cities in China famous for hot pot: Beijing in the North and Chengdu in the South. Beijing has seasonings of sesame paste, while the hot pot in Chengdu is all about chilies and red peppers.
For hot pot, people order what they like (different kinds of seafood, meat and vegetables) and dip in the boiling soup until done. Haidilao is a very famous brand for hot pot in China, with very fresh materials and extraordinary services. For example, while you are waiting to be served, they will provide you free snacks, fruit and even nail beauty services.
No. 88 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District. Tel: 010-57620153