shu and joe

Posts filed under ‘Eat and Drink’

Plush Meat Floss Bun

December 17, 2007

Meat floss is basically dried meat (usually pork) eaten with congee or added to the tops of baked buns. Seen here is an amazing plush version made of out of cotton, yarn and foam. The flags give the whole thing a nice international effect.

Plush Bun

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The Meaning of Shuu

December 6, 2007

A Chinese restaurant that Ken Miller discovered in Tokyo recently. Maybe I should start adding another “u” to my name?

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Song Beijing

December 5, 2007

Beijing music connoisseur and promoter extraordinaire, Neebing, is launching his new restaurant/bar venture, Song, inside of The Place on Guanghua Lu. Described as a location to “promote local creativity in Beijing, Sòng has brought the best local design and creatives together to create a warm, cosy and chilled environment for good food, great music and drinks.” The opening party on December 12 will feature the seminal dance music duo Coldcut.

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Hot Dog Johnny’s

August 29, 2007

For years I avoided hotdogs. Just thinking about the word h-o-t-d-o-g would induce mild nausea. But living in Asia has, for better or worse, opened my palate to foods whose contents and production I dare not ponder. Hence, I now embrace the dog. There’s nothing more satisfying after a day kayaking on a lake than a frosted mug of birch beer coupled with a deep fried all-beef hotdog from Hot Dog Johnny’s, a pre-war Jersey institution.

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June 5, 2007

Xi’an is known as a good place to spend a weekend – and that’s about it. Most people I ‘ve taked to suggest one day to visit the Terracotta Warriors and one to sample some of the local cuisine. This, I think, is a pretty uncharitable assessment – after all, Xi’an was once the capital of China and is a city of a nearly 6 million people. It’s also a fine example of a Chinese city that’s not Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou.

On the other hand, it’s close enough to Beijing to make it a convenient weekend trip, which is what we made of it.

Perhaps more fascinating than the Warriors themselves is the spectacle of tourism and the armature that supports it. Like the pose-with-a-warrior photobooth.

Street food in Xi’an is highly recommended, as is the local orange soda.

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Lui Zhai Shifu

April 9, 2007

When visitors are in town, we’re often called upon to introduce them to some authentic local cuisine. I’ve decided that my favorite place for such an introduction is Liu Zhai Shifu, a small family-run restaurant just north of Meishuguan (the National Art Museum of China). So when Andre told us his friend Kumi would be in town, we lined up a reservation.

The courtyard setting is a bit rough around the edges, but the homestyle dishes are delicious. They’ve got typical Beijing duck on the menu, but also feature some harder-to-come-by fare like ma doufu – a grayish, pungent mash of fermented tofu, topped with a bit of chili oil. The rolled eggplant, vinegar-cooked flounder, and lamb, onion and cilantro skillet are all worth checking out.

(located at 8 Jiangjiadayuan Hutong off of Meishuguan Dong Dajie; +8610 64005912)

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De Shi

December 20, 2006

So in Germany there’s a holiday tradition of brewing a pot of spiced red wine, suspending a cone of sugar over the wine, soaking the wine with high-proof rum and then torching the rummy sno-cone so that the sugar carmelizes and drips into the wine. Can’t find these sugar cones in Beijing, but Andre was determined to improvise. Results: success.

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Duck Confit Omelette

December 2, 2006

After seriously scoping out the menu, only the duck would do. Someone needs to bring this to Beijing.

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July 31, 2006

My parents were in town for the past two weeks, so I got to show them the sights of Beijing. It was pretty gray and wet most of time, so we spent a lot of long afternoons lingering over lunch and ordering second and third cups of coffee. We managed to get out to Hong Kong and Macau for a few days. I’m really glad they were able to make it out here.

A few images from our day in Macau:

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July 9, 2006

We spent last weekend in Dalian, a “small” coastal city of 6 million. Dalian is known for its faux-European architecture, shipping industry, seafood and cleanliness. It’s also a popular summer destination for well-healed Chinese, Korean and Japanese vacationers, due to its geographic proximity to all 3 nations. The impetus for the trip was an Ogilvy-sponsored creative seminar, which was manditory for Shu, but arbitary for me. So I did some photographing instead.

The trip almost didn’t get off the ground. When we arrived at Beijing Airport, we were told that Dalian was fogged in, and there was no definite time of departure for our flight. So we scoured the area for some food, but came up with nothing but some dried out baozi and fried rice.

Five hours later, we were able to take off and made it to Dalian in time for dinner. The Ogilvy team had made arrangements for us to dine on Dalian’s famed seafood, served up by classically qi paoed waitresses in a classically neo-baroque banquet hall. Abalone, prawns and black sea cucumber set the tone for the weekend. Regarded by some as the apogee of fine dining, I’ve yet to develop a taste for the rubbery meat of the abalone or the cartilaginous crunch of the sea cucumber.

But with all the glitter of the gliding and crystal, and the free-flowing bai wei, who could really concentrate on the food anyway? Sated by the lazy susan, I teettered down the marble staircase, past the line up of Mercedes parked inside the restaurant (?), and past the half-dozen women standing by the door to bid us a hao wanshang.

There was still time for exploring the city before calling it a night, so we wandered off toward the lights of Zhongshan Square, the city center. The walk was made colorful by the many buildings bathed with oscillating lighting displays.

Even KFC gets the treatment.

At the square, we found many kids playing the local variant of hackysack, and one young calligrapher practicing his strokes in both Chinese and English.

While Shu was busy learning about the ontology of advertising, I headed to the People’s Park to take a closer look at what, from my 22nd floor hotel window, appeared to be an enormous inflatable soccer ball.

The park houses a tired, old amusement park, whose magic appears to have long ago escaped the local residents. Rides and games of chance sit idle while the teens who man their stations fight off sleep.

At the top of the hill, beyond the rides, I arrived at my goal: the big ball. Turns out the ball is actually a Fulleresque art and architecture museum. The underground entrance was drawn closed, so I asked a clique of old women what time it opens. Their responce: never.

Later on we met up at Xinghai Square, touted as the largest public square in China. The square consists of an impressively large concrete monument formed in the shape of an open book, broad walkways and observation points, and a string of carnival rides, games and snack shops. The ocean air, early-evening sun and abundance of local kids enjoying themselves made a walk through the plaza justthe right pre-dinner activity.

This kid in red was so excited by the number of laowai out in the plaza that I had to thank him with a photo.

I have a soft spot for stuffed animals – these guys make me just a touch sad.

Doug narrowly escapes disaster.

Plenty of opportunities for photo posing at Xinghai.

Now here’s a game for you: lace up some rollerskates and see if you can whip the top to keep it spinning without falling on your ass!

Some wealthy fellow built the castle in the background w/ the intention of making it a luxury hotel. He ran out of money and the interior was never completed. Faced with an empty shell, the local government decided that the best thing to do would be to box out an area just inside the main gate and install a shell museum.

The highlight of the shell museum is the carcass of a giant squid. Even Damien Hirst’s shark hasn’t decayed this badly!

And the sun sets into the haze.


On our final day in Dalian we visited the Dalian Aquarium, the largest in China the brochures assured me. The size of the facility appears not to be related to the quantity of marine animals it contains, however. Rather, the majority of the area is filled with photo-op backdrops and animatronic displays.

My personal favorite in the integrated media category was the DaVinci Code-inspired underwater code-breakers display.