Eating out in China is one thing, but turning it into a spectacle is another. In the country of “everything possible”, we set out to test out the acrobatic dinner show at the Chaoyang Theatre event.
Often we had heard talk of such dinner shows but never ventured inside one. So we ventured out into the wild Beijing streets and looked for it. It took no time asking around until we were pointed out to the Chaoyang district of the capital city. It’s a large business area in Beijing, boasting some of the best and fanciest eat-outs around town!
Here the city is at fast pace, and those often pesky business buildings are filled with restaurants. But little did we know that an acrobatic dinner would be waiting for us in the midst of all the magnificence.
And there it was. Quite a small building in comparison with the rest of the skyscrapers and and overlooking CCTV tower building. Seeing the beautiful old architecture accompanied with the mandatory neon lights I began to believe that there was something truly original to be found here. People were flocking from all over the world to see the show, but most of the visitors were Chinese which is a further positive sign in authenticity.
And the show was on! These Chinese acrobats are some of the most daring performers I have ever seen in my life. In short, I was extremely impressed and could hardly hold on to my plate while watching the show. Especially impressive was this hat trick, where uncountable amount of hats were literally flying around the stage in unison. Just a well put together spectacle, brilliant, colorful and beautiful all at the same time. This show has it all!
Yes, you have guessed right. I did have the classic of the classics, Beijing Duck or more traditionally known as the “Peking Duck”. As the show is not from the lightest side, luckily the duck meat is! This lean meat was delicious, well displayed and a suitable snack for the one hour duration. Another fun bonus was that it’s eaten by hand using the thin layered wheat bread, just stuff the bread with your preference, eat and watch away!
To sum up the experience I never imagined that watching an acrobatic show could be so much fun while eating. Of course a traditional course menu is a must for such an experience. One may also enjoy the show without any food, which for sure is well worth it as well!
If you think that eating at Chinese restaurants in China is easy, you could be wrong or not depending on personal taste and experience. For anyone concerned about food safety some issues are bound to rise when looking for a place to eat.
A thumb rule you could say is that in China, for every rule there is an exception. So when one has expectations on how the food culture works there, there will be moments when those expectations are unexpectedly crushed. So while it’s good to enjoy and have fun with all the amazing dining experiences being offered, at the same time it is wise to simply watch your back and be prepared for the unexpected.
Namely one of the biggest forever debatable issues is appearance versus price. If you ask foreign inhabitants or travelers in China what is the most safe kind of restaurant, the answers are plenty. Many backpackers have noticed that small, dirty looking restaurants with lots of customers have the best food and cheap too. While this may be true in many cases, there is no set rule to the indications of restaurant size, price, cleanliness or popularity.
Out of these four factors popularity is perhaps one of the most stable. In a country with a history of devastating femine, you can be sure that food will not get thrown away. A restaurant with well circulating ingredients is pretty essential to guarantee quality. Coming to the other experience which needs to be experienced to believe, that although a restaurant might be high end, clean and modern.. at worst you might get served unclean food that’s not even fresh.
In the end of the day, personal experience and likings will train your nostrils to walk the right way. Better not to trust too much on opinionated foreigners is the lesson at hand!
A special culinary event was held at the famous “Red Theatre Beijing” venue. Where visitors who came to see the Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu Show had the opportunity to try out food traditionally prepared by the Buddhist Shaolin Monks in China. The event was held in together with China Heaven Creations in the beginning of April in 2013. We took the opportunity to visit the theatre and see what food was served there.
It is custom for the monks to wake up early in the morning at around half past three and four to practice meditation. Only after meditation one can eat a light breakfast, but now the food was served just after the show.
Meat is not normally included in the buddhist diet, however meat has never been prohibited either. Except the meat that is butchered directly for the purpose of ones selfish needs. The deeper a practitioner goes within the religion, the less likely you are going to see any meat being eaten. Thus neither was any meat served here either.
Three types of rice was served at the Red Theatre: “White Rice, Brown Rice, Jasmine Rice”.
Other ingredients off the list are those strong spices that stir up emotions such as garlic, onion and spring onion. Which are ingredients used almost religiously in traditional Chinese cooking itself.
The food was extremely simple and had little ingredients spices. Visitors were struggling to calm their minds in order to be able to enjoy such delicacies as rice and steamed vegetables. Another Buddhist tradition is fasting, but this was fortunately not demonstrated at the venue.
A famous Chinese writer, “Lin Yutang” once said: “If there is something what we take seriously it’s not religion but food”. Cooking is a way not only to learn how to make food but a learning tool for life itself. In regards of food preference as well as the respect appreciation towards food, the eastern kitchen could be considered as the best.
Many have forgotten how in the past the Chinese use to seek perfection through good quality and balanced ingredients. Originally as a Confucius belief, this tradition is still carried from generation to generation despite the unpopularity of Confucius thinking in modern day China. A common misconception is that the quality of food is not good and a developing society prefers cheap ingredients. While this is somewhat true and food scandals are an everyday reality in the country. Despite the doom and gloom this is not happening out of choice, but out of necessity. The living conditions have yet to improved to the level, where if reached, every Chinese person would prefer fresh quality ingredients for their food.
Everyone has a level of food consciousness and unlike the neighboring Mongolians, in China vegetarianism is no stranger. In fact eating only meet is considered unhealthy as one must keep balance between the yin and yang by eating a good variety of ingredients. If you believe in oriental philosophy or not, it is obvious that such thinking promotes nutrition and health.
The Chinese are no longer religious folks, but religion has stayed in their cooking. The worship of spring onion, garlic and ginger is commonplace in any Chinese kitchen. Without them you cant cook real Chinese food, however nowadays these three ingredients are readily available in most supermarkets all over the developed world.
If you are not familiar with these ingredients, just try them and fall in love with them! After all, Chinese cooking skills are one of the worlds oldest and it’s influence has effected the rest of the world. A massive country where different areas, climates and habitants all share goal of bringing harmony through the kitchen. Through color, through form and the holy trinity of these thee ingredients, used as the basis of all Chinese food. So let’s call upon the gods and enjoy this ritual for a well balanced taste and experience. If it wasn’t the Chinese who first said “we are what we eat” I would be surprised.
Something that still prevails in Chinese culture is the attempt to live a long life. Despite the doom and gloom of disastrous food ethics in China, portrayed by the western media. If the Chinese can afford it, they will buy the healthiest and best ingredients. Unfortunately not everyone can jump to the bandwagon.
The Chinese restaurants spread around the world commonly have a very modest variety of dishes. So if you didn’t eat in a restaurant in China, it is likely that you have no real concept of what Chinese cooking is. Thus, we will attempt to break the mold and show you some of the most intriguing foods we can find, along with the old time favorites. Plus discuss some of the concepts of cooking the beast!
We have some good news for all the food lovers out there. Anyone who told you that Chinese cooking is hard was lying to you! We set out to reveal the secrets to easy, simple and delicious Chinese cooking! From the country of 4000 year old noodles, they can’t be wrong about their cooking.
So please stay tuned as we go over the basics for you. And prepare to accept the teachings of the Chinese cleaver!