Beijing Design Week
Chi fan for charity
Beijing’s 20 most Interesting People
C AN EL NI EB OC VE RAT R DE T 1 SA E O TA 7 A RY UR ILS T S W 1 IN PA ITH 2TH SI RK U DE ! S
SHAPING OUR LIFESTYLE AND OUR CITY
ECOLOGICAL ECONOMY CN 53-1197/F ISSN1673-0178 10
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Photographers Mitchell Pe Masilun, Sui, Ken, Jamie Gu
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Marketing Manager Shana Zhang
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Accountant Judy Zhao
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What’s Happening: Our pick of the best events this month Stat: Breaking Down Our 20 Going Underground: Xidan, Lines 1 and 2 Scene & Heard: Go on, look at yourselves, you beautiful people
This issue marks the 12th anniversary of the Beijinger, and for that, we wanted to do something special. We asked our editors who they saw as being the most noteworthy, especially over the last 12 months. The result is the list that you see in this month’s cover feature.
Food & Drink
What’s New: Bath House Residence, Let’s Pasta, Sukhothai, Hani Gejiu, Koyama, The Pavillion Grill, NBeer Pub, Mash, Cicada Ultralounge Dining Feature: Chi Fan for Charity returns for its fifth year Just Desserts: Back Alley Bistro, Apple Crisp Last Orders: Alex Pearson of The Bookworm Back For More: Alio Olio Alleyway Gourmet: Hai Shan Zhai Wokipedia: P is for … pian, pigu, pidan, pao ge rou Taste Test: Lay’s new potato chips Drinks Feature: New Rumantics Cocktail Profiler: Tiggi of Paddy O’Shea’s Made in China: China’s best wine lists Dining Q&A: Simon Criqui, Operations Manager, Scarlett … plus what we’ve loved eating this month
Inspect a Gadget: Cool tools you can wear What’s New Venues: Little White, Big White, Trash ‘n’ Diamond Get the Look: Black and white is the new color Page Turners: Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost Submarine
Feature: Lush turns ten Feature: Sun Qun, the man who brought us Rubber Duck
ECOLOGY EVENTS PEKING MAN
Feature: Flower of Life
NEXT MONTH: 24-Hour Beijing
George Ding’s Seven Wonders of Beijing
What you shouldn’t miss this month
NOVEMBER EVENTS DEADLINE: OCTOBER 14
This month’s cover features Dominic Johnson-Hill, and was shot by Sui.
The most important dates this month
Not a Flea nor a Rowdy Roddy in sight as celtic crossovers Red Hot Chilli Pipers turn up the heat at the Poly Theatre this month.
Tie on your drinking boots and prepare for a wild bash as Lush celebrates a They’ll be shorn of an injured decade of pickling Kobe Bryant but the Hu Ren will still be packed with top ballers student livers, when they come Bei-side to face and battering Golden State Warriors – against whom their brain cells. Kobe sustained his injury – this month.
If you didn’t know him as charttopping dance wizard Jakkata, then you might know him as Joey Negro. Whatever you want to call him, his beats are phat and worth checking out.
Get on down at Club Mix, you will, as DJ Yoda imbues you with the force of a horde of Gongti revelers.
Scandinavian dancefloor disturbers It’s about more than a rubber Crash & Compute make a duck, you know? Beijing Design triumphant return to the city this Week showcases some of the best artistic talent China has to offer with month, adding a Beijing show to their Shanghai set by popular demand. some eyebrow-raising exhibits.
We’ve waited years for them to come back around after they cancelled late on last time round, but US indie darlings The Killers are set to finally make it to the capital at the beginning of this month.
Not since Live Aid has a multi-venue celebration stirred so much excitement. 300 kuai gets you all the beer you can drink at either of the Great Leap locations to celebrate their third birthday.
A few months after winning the Confederations Cup and just under a year before they launch their campaign for the big one on home soil, Brazil perform in Beijing gunning for another trophy – the, ahem, Bird’s Nest Cup.
For more events, see p73.
Visit www.thebeijinger.com for more details.
Start as you mean to go on
CITY SCENE XIDAN // NEWSBITES // SCENE & HEARD
BREAKING DOWN OUR 20 NATIONALITY British 10%
New Zealander 5%
Canadian 5% Belgian 5%
ART F&B FASHION HEALTH LITERATURE MEDIA MUSIC PROPERTY TECHNOLOGY TOURISM
31~ 40 41~ 50 51~ 60 61~ 70
After taking a closer look at our 20 chosen persons of interest, we found we’re most interested by those who feed us or make us drunk, that a quarter of our selections originate from North America, and that Beijingers seem to be most interesting in their 40s. Go figure.
Letter from the Editor
his issue marks the 12th anniversary of the Beijinger, and for that, we wanted to do something special. As such, we decided to look at this city of 20 million or so people and pick the 20 most interesting. So we asked our editors and a few close friends of the Beijinger who they saw as being the most noteworthy, especially over the last 12 months. The result was the list that you see in this month’s cover feature. Our parameters included that the person must be currently resident in Beijing and spend most of his or her time here, with the primary selection factor being, how is this person changing, or how has this person changed, the way that we live in Beijing, especially over the last 12 months? A maximum of 10 non-Chinese could appear on the list, but no limit on Chinese participants. The person’s accomplishments should be readily recognized, even if their face is not. Beijing’s best time of the year has arrived, so even if you’re going on holiday for October 1, now is the time
to enjoy our city. Use our What’s New venue listings to try some new restaurants, new bars, and new shops. If you’re staying in Beijing for the first week, there’s plenty going on. The Killers are in town October 1, followed by Suede October 5. Out on the North Fourth, the world’s top tennis players will be facing off at the China Open. Enjoy the relatively empty streets and light traffic, just avoid major tourist attractions. After the holiday, the city is ours again. Warm days and cool nights, gold and red leaves, blue skies and light winds. The heat and humidity are gone and before winter arrives, we enjoy a brief reprieve.
Steven Schwankert Managing Editor
NEWSBITEs Ke$ha has cancelled her Beijing date. We should have known better than to start getting excited, but hey – we don’t get an abundance of international superstars coming our way to often so we can be forgiven for getting a little carried away. Fool me once … right? At the risk of fooling me twice, can we start to get excited at the possibility that Nicki Minaj may also be Beijing bound? She’s set for a Shanghai date later this month, and we are just a fast-train journey away. Beijing women’s rugby team caused controversy at the 12th China National Games in Liaoning last month. Our girls were set to go all the way, but wound up embarrassing the city when they refused to play following what they considered a bad call by the referee. The adult equivalent of taking your ball and going home, they stood by and allowed their opponents Shandong to run up a 71-0 win. Beijing finished seventh on the medal table. One sporting woman who did make us proud last month is Li
Na. Li battled through to the semi-finals of the US Open, making history by becoming the first Chinese woman to do so. She was beaten by eventual winner Serena Williams. Apple launched the iPod 5S and 5C in Beijing to an underwhelmed public. It was hoped the “C” may stand for “cheap”. It most certainly does not. The “budget” iPhone will set a Chinese consumer back a cool RMB 4,488. The manufacturers of the world’s most expensive bed are aiming the luxury sack at Beijingers. It’s set to cost RMB 1,186,600 and took the craftsmen of esteemed British brand Savoir Beds 700 hours to hand-make. Beijing’s first 24-hour Starbucks has opened in Taikoo Li South. The two-story space will host live music performances on the weekend, and will revolutionize the notion of a quiet trip to the coffee shop. Jackie Chan is to open a theme park on the outskirts of Beijing. JC World will feature exhibits of some of the kung fu superstar’s private collection of antique furniture and jewelry. It’s tough to imagine kids turning down the chance to ride the Trojan Horse at Happy Valley for the chance to check out Jackie’s trinkets.
iphone 5c: the "c" certainly doesn't stand for cheap
Anyone who lives here knows how much hassle
banking can be in Beijing. We wonder whether you encounter the same problems if you choose to help out another type of bank. Facing a sperm shortage, the Beijing Human Sperm Bank has put out a call to arms for strapping, virile young men to come forth with their seed. Beware though, they’re quite picky, and if nothing has changed, laowais need not apply. Not that we’ve tried to donate or anything. Beijing city officials are attempting to alleviate rush hour traffic congestion by implementing “flexible traffic control lanes.” The scheme, which has been introduced in many cities outside of China, means the flow of traffic alters depending on the time of the day, i.e. during the morning rush hour one of two outgoing lanes is changed to allow a third incoming lane, and vice-versa during the evening. The idea has worked abroad, but then we’d be forgiven for having our doubts in the capital. Various Chinese media outlets published a list of “The most gorgeous Chinese women in the eyes of foreigners” recently. The list included a number of “Chinese beauties” that most foreigners are unlikely to have heard of – well, most of the blokes in our office hadn’t – while omitting those that have garnered international co l u m n i n c h e s i n t h e l a s t 1 2 m o n t h s. Fa n B i n g b i n g, Angelababy and Li Bingbing were all conspicuous by their absences.
Xidan, Lines 1 and 2
Selling Point When Beijing had only two lines, the east-west and the circle line, they only met in one place: Fuchengmen. But even then, Xidan was more than that. In the autumn, Xidan was the embarkation point for the long ride to Line 1’s western terminus, Pingguoyuan, and transportation into Xiang Shan (Fragrant Hills) from there. Today, Xidan remains one of Beijing’s most popular daytime entertainment streets. It’s close enough to the city center to attract people from every district. On weekends, expect throngs of shoppers. Not much sightseeing, but a visit to the consumer heart of Beijing should still be worthwhile. Trade In the basement of the cavernous Xidan Books Building, you’ll find a boatload of English language classics and a broad, eclectic selection of new-ish paperbacks (usually many copies of each, which might be helpful to book club members), cookbooks, a big business/management section and an excellent selection of oversized books on art, architecture, and design. There’s even a bit of seating, and the English-speaking staff is usually friendly and helpful. For the reader of Chinese, this is one of Beijing’s best brick-and-mortar bookstores. Try the third floor for maps and atlases that even non-Chinese-reading drivers and travelers may find useful. The ground floor of Xidan Shopping Center is devoted to traditional candies and the second and third floors are very forgettable, but head upstairs because the selection gets steadily better. It gives way to trendy accessories, outfits and a “Korea City” covering the entire fourth floor. Even higher, you’ll find unique boutiques selling well-crafted wares such as Eleven Style (6/F, Shop 35). Mike Designs sells stylish homme options (6/F, Shop 8) or try Jun (6/F, Shop 18B) for dapper menswear. Some of the material in this article appeared previously on theBeijinger.com.
SCENE & HEARD Beijingers busted out shorts and less for an ode to summer’s end at The Malt on Aug 31. Photos courtesy of Trends
Swedish rockers EF returned for a second tour of China, promoting the melodic explorations of their new album Ceremonies at Yugong Yishan on Sep 13. Photos by Kristina Parchomchuk Japandroids brought fist-pumping anthems, summer sing-alongs, and plenty of crowd surfing to MAO Livehouse on Aug 24. Photos Kristina Parchomchuk
Roger Vivier previewed F/W 2013 collection, titled “Sexy Cult,” at Capital M on Jul 16. Photos by Roger Vivier
The fifth installment of the pole dancing competition went ahead at Zeta Bar on Sep 7. Photos by Kristina Parchomchuk
Fatface Dining whipped up a feast at Moishe House on Sep 14 to celebrate Yom Kippur and Mid-Autumn Festival. Photos by Hsu Li and Moishe House
Hatsune hosted their 12th anniversary party with sushi, sake, and freeflow cocktails by Tea Journeys on Sep 5. Photos by Bobby Brill
SCENE & HEARD Samuel L Session brought his dance floor hits to Lantern on September 6. Photos courtesy of Footprint
The Genting Grand Hotel Secret Garden threw a Sonic Summer Party complete with hiking, mountain biking and music on Sep 7 - 8. Photos by So Chan
Big names in Beijingâ€™s punk scene came together at 2 Kolegas on Aug 24, including Mi San Dao, A-O, SUBS, Hell City, and The Autocratics. Photos by Frank Yu
The Sound Stage video and radio show from crienglish.com hosted a concert and awards ceremony at Yugong Yishan to recognize the achievements of some of Chinaâ€™s best bands on Sep 26. Photos by Kristina Parchomchuk
Burger lovers dined on free-flow miniburgers, mini-pizzas, and top-shelf cocktails from 3sums at Elements on Aug 31. Photos courtesy of 3sums
M e n a n d wo m e n exercised on the last legs of summer as part of the Bikini Run in Chaoyang Park on Aug 31. Photos courtesy of Event Animals
Eight Beijing-based Chambers of Commerce stepped up to compete for the inaugural Commerce Cup on Sep 8. Football was the real winner. Photos courtesy of Oceans
Beijing’s 20 Most Interesting People
needed to have been resident in Beijing for the past 12 months, and also resident here at the time of publication of this issue, which eliminated one pillar of the community. There was no age limit on age, gender, race, or sexual orientation. The only limitation was on the number of foreigners: we set a maximum of ten because after all, we’re in China. Within our Chinese nominees, it did not matter whether they were born in Beijing or, like most of us, were drawn here for school, work, or just a shot at the big time. The Beijinger’s editorial staffed filled a blackboard and a whiteboard with the initial nominees. A couple of choices were obvious, but the overall elimination
photo: mitchell pe masilun
e have a saying here at the Beijinger that even if nothing interesting could be written about 99 percent of Beijing’s approximately 20 million people, there would still be 200,000 great stories remaining. So to lop four zeroes off even that smaller number was a significant but exciting, and ultimately enlightening, challenge. As for the definition of interesting: to us, what made a person interesting was not only their long-term presence in Beijing, but that they had done something of note within the last 12 months, as well as throughout the course of their time in Beijing. The most significant criterion was that a nominee
The Beijingers That Are Shaping – and Re-Shaping – Our LiVES in Our City
photo: judy zhou
by the Beijinger editors
process took hours, followed by rounds of follow-up discussion via e-mail. The final list surprised us with who was on it, and who wasn’t. There are no movie stars and no movie directors, which showed us that being famous doesn’t necessarily make one interesting. We were a little disappointed to see no one under 30 make the cut; similar lists in London or New York would likely have at least a token young upstart. Only a few women appear on the list, something we hope will be rectified in future editions. Clearly Beijingers like to eat: 40 percent of those represented here are chefs, bar or restaurant proprietors, or food and beverage writers.
So here is our list of Beijing’s 20 Most Interesting People, in no particular order. We’re not calling them “winners” because many of them didn’t even know they were in competition. That’s perhaps what we like best about them: they caught our interest because they were out in Beijing just living their lives and doing their work, but in a way that gives each of us reasons to reflect about what we’re doing here in this great city. We fully expect that as Beijingers read this list, they’ll do what they do best: argue, consider, discuss, and suggest, then start wondering about whom helped whom to get on, or keep someone else off. If only our process were as interesting as the people on the list.
Co-Founder, Gung Ho Ventures
Years in Beijing
hy He’s Interesting: Jade – that’s his real name – got his start in Beijing in Wudaokou with a failing fitness center. He later moved into food and beverage with Haidian institution Lush, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year (see our feature on pg.), then Pyro Pizza. He then wanted to “move downtown,” starting Gung Ho! Pizza. Along the way, Jade has developed a reputation for lavishing his employees with benefits in a market segment usually low on respect and wages. “If I want my staff to provide exceptional service to my customers, then I have to provide exceptional service to them,” he said. “China taught me the joy of sharing food, that’s why I chose pizza. As for why I love Beijing, it is without a doubt the people, both local and foreign, and to be immersed in a fascinating culture.”
Dominic Johnson-Hill 16
creative dictator Plastered 8 T-Shirts
Years in Beijing
hy He’s Interesting: Dominic is known as an ace guerrilla marketer who opened a single t-shirt store on a lonely hutong known as Nanluogu Xiang. Plastered 8 T-Shirts are now all over the city and all over the world, having been sold in Harvey Nichols during the Olympics, and appearing on one of China’s most popular talk shows, A Date with Lu Yu. He is a regular on one of China’s most popular game shows, Zhi Lai Zhi Wang, and also hosts the English-language Vintage Hunter. “Beijing offers an extremely stimulating, incredibly exciting life, free from the constraints and watchful eye of my own culture, second-hand markets, great friends, and controlled chaos.”
Nathaniel Davis 15
Years in Beijing
Founding Partner/ Director of Operations, Split Works
hy He’s Interesting: Since starting Split Works in 2006 (the forerunner of which was called 3 Brave Men), he’s brought international acts such as Avril Lavigne, Ghostface Killah and Sonic Youth to Beijing. Apparently that wasn’t enough: in 2008, he started JUE | Music + Art, now an annual, multi-day event that celebrates the local creative communities in the capital and that other city called Shanghai. It now draws almost 40,000 visitors to almost 100 events. We can’t wait for the next act. “Every morning upon waking you never know what the city has in store for you. The multi-leveled pace and scope of change keeps things interesting and challenging. Beijing also seems to have its own stickiness too - it somehow grabs you and won’t let you leave.”
Nathan Zhang Founder, Brandnü Project
photo: judy zhou and courtesy of Nathaniel Davis
hy He’s Interesting: The words “fashion” and “charity” rarely appear together, except in the occasional benefit where the elite appear at gatherings where the beneficiaries of their largesse would not be allowed entry. Nathan Zhang isn’t like that. For Brandnü, he takes donated clothes or even new fabric, and then hires migrant workers to make new women’s fashion items out of them, which he then sells from his shop on Wudaoying Hutong, in a process known as upcycling. Who thought altruism could be so fashionable? “I think the shop concept is very new in Beijing and there is no other model I can use for reference. I have involved myself with too many charity projects and sometimes lose focus on my shop. The toughest time is the cold winter, when there are fewer customers in Wudaoying. What keeps me going is I think I’m the one person who can spearhead this project of inspiring people to do good, look good and feel good!”
Roberta Lipson 34
CEO, Chindex Chairwoman, United Family Healthcare
Years in Beijing
hy She’s Interesting: Among the pillars of the foreign community on this list, then Roberta Lipson may very well be the cornerstone. Having called Beijing home for more than three decades, she set out to create international-standard health care facilities via her company United Family Healthcare. With her friend and business partner Elyse Silverberg, Roberta also co-founded the Jewish community organization Kehillat in Beijing in 1979. “I have spent more than half of my life here. Beijing is my home. Being here over this important phase in the city’s development has given me a chance to make an important contribution through the United Family Health network which our company has built here. My family and career are all here. I love this city.”
Carl Setzer Owner/brewmaster, Great Leap Brewing
Years in Beijing
photo: ken and courtesy of Roberta Lipson
hy He’s Interesting: There was no hotter venue in Beijing this summer than Great Leap Brewpub near Xing Fu Cun, and the suds just keep coming. Behind the new site and their original spot off Nanluogu Xiang is Cleveland native Carl Setzer. A former IT security guy who traded in his password for brewing equipment, Carl and wife Liu Fang founded Great Leap in 2009, with the simple goal of making the best craft beer in Beijing. They parlayed the early hipster cred of their hutong speakeasy into their new Chaoyang location, and won eight awards at the Beijinger’s 2013 Reader Bar & Club Awards, including Bar of the Year and Personality of the Year for Carl. Cheers. “That day when Beijing seems to have you beaten, the blue sky comes out and everything slows down. At that moment you catch a glimpse of what the city can truly be.”
DJ Weng Weng Organizer, INTRO Fest
ne of the captains leading INTRO, Lantern club and the now-defunct Acupuncture records, Weng Weng has been part of the Beijing music scene since the1990s when he was a guitarist for local rock bands, including Hongshao Rou. He started DJing in 1997 and hasn’t stopped since. Just this past May his epic transformation of INTRO, from what everybody was afraid would be another repeat of the dull 2012 Crab Island debacle, into a mad laser techno spectacle at the old Shougang Steel factory, we dare say promoted this man to admiral of the city’s burgeoning electronic music and party culture armada. “Beijing was quiet when I was a kid; the rhythm of life was slow. The city has changed a lot since then, but it still has its own distinctive feeling ... The electronic scene got started around 1996, when some international students started to throw electronic parties in a bar called Keep in Touch. I started DJing in 1997. A lot of the people I knew from the rock scene at that time stopped making music, but I’m still following my dream.”
Senior Vice President, Tencent Holdings Ltd.
photo: judy zhou and WUMII.COM
hy He’s Interesting: By all accounts a mild-mannered man from Hunan province, Zhang Xiaolong quietly started a revolution, developing a product that has help make his company, Tencent, one of China’s most important technology firms, and started people across the world talking and sharing pictures on their mobile devices, all for free: WeChat. Multi-lingual and cross-platform, WeChat has soared past rivals including Whatsapp and Apple’s iMessage. Tencent has put usage figures for the app at 236 million in China, and another 75 million overseas, numbers that show no signs of slowing down. “When talking about development, most of us think of the technical side, but I say feelings are much more important, and most of us never pay any attention to them. There’s no girl you can take out on a date? The answer is definitely no, you just didn’t try asking any of them. At least you could buy a smartphone for less than RMB 1000 and then ‘Shake’ it.”
Proprietor, Temple Restaurant Beijing
Years in Beijing
hy He’s Interesting: Having first come to Beijing to open Maison Boulud, the Belgian native parlayed his success there into one of the capital’s most acclaimed dining venues, Temple Restaurant Beijing, which won seven the Beijinger Reader Restaurant Awards this year. “I like the people [of Beijing]. I like the diversity. I came from New York and I was concerned it wouldn’t be like that. I went back recently and I felt the energy there wasn’t as much as here. Here you can go 100 miles an hour or you can relax and take it easy.”
Zhang Fan Dean, Beijing Midi Music School Organizer, Midi Music Festival
photo: jamie gu and courtesy of midi
hy He’s Interesting: Cui Jian may be the godfather of rock in China, but Zhang Fan is the Dean of China’s School of Rock. Zhang founded Beijing Midi Music School in 1993, specifically to teach forms of music at that time rejected by China’s academic mainstream: rock, blues, and jazz. Zhang then took on organizing the first Midi Music Festival in 2000, an event that has now expanded beyond Beijing to other cities including Shanghai and Shenzhen. “My intention was to tell people that rock musicians should be treated like stars. They deserve respect like artists in any other field. Being a rock band in China used to be so miserable. The rockers were poor and the performance conditions were bad. Now, it’s so much better. At least they can make ends meet by performing and most importantly, they are respected.”
Co-founder, Little Donkey Farm Co-founder, Shared Harvest Tongzhou
hy She’s Interesting: Shi Yan is a pioneering force and active promoter behind the Chinese organic community-supported agriculture (CSA) movement. As a young graduate student at Renmin University, she was instrumental in founding Haidian District’s Little Donkey Farm on the CSA model, growing organic vegetables and renting plots of land to city folk interested in getting their hands dirty. She has since moved on to establish Shared Harvest in Tongzhou. In a nation where food safety is a genuine cause for concern, Shi has been inspiring a healthier and more sustainable way to feed ourselves. “It’s our behavior that impacts what we get at the grocery store. If you always want convenient food, and you always depend on governments or corporations to tell you where to get it, then food safety scandals will continue to accumulate. So we encourage people to go to the source, see how it’s being produced. Then you will see the truth.”
Liu Qiangdong CEO and Founder, 360buy
hy He’s Interesting: Those packages that keep arriving at the front desk in your office? Don’t be surprised if many, or most, of them come from online retailer 360buy. That company’s founder, Liu Qiangdong, is the kind of executive financial magazines love. Formerly a member of Forbes’ China Rich List and named and one of “Asia’s 25 Hottest People in Business” by CNN Money, Liu took advantage of a natural disaster – the 2003 onset of the SARS epidemic – to turn people on to the idea of shopping online, and specifically, purchasing from 360buy. “E-business and traditional retailers cater to different consumer groups. Our customers are mainly young people familiar with the Internet and open to online commerce, while older people still want to go to stores. Even my parents, who live in Jiangsu province, bought their air-conditioner in a nearby Gome store, rather than use their own son’s website.”
Webmaster, Beijing Boyce and Grape Wall of China wine blogs
Years in Beijing
hy He’s Interesting: Known to many as Beijing Boyce, Jim evolved a newsletter about Beijing’s nightlife into an expanded blog that has become the city’s top source of dining and drinking information. For a nightcap, he started writing about wine via his Grape Wall of China blog, and in the process established himself as one of the leading voices on Chinese wine in the English-language. See more of his stuff in our monthly Made in China column (p.52). “Life in Beijing can be frustrating at times but it happens at a breakneck – and addictive – speed. And to live in the capital of the world’s most populous nation as it establisshes itself as a world power, adnto see the change unfold, both for better and worse, within the city itself – I feel lucky to be witness to all this.”
Sociologist, Author, “My Philosophy of Life”
photo: sui and FLICKR
hy She’s Interesting: Although her book My Philosophy of Life has been called China’s 50 Shades of Gray, it is neither fictional nor tawdry. A sociologist by trade Li has been a lifelong advocate for LGBT rights, all while working her entire career at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Rather than evoking E.L. James, Li reminds one more of Dr. Ruth Westheimer – a cogent figure in the public discussion of sexual issues, although perhaps not an obvious one. “If life doesn’t have any meaning, I’m not going to waste my time to do anything boring. I don’t do things that I don’t like. I don’t do things because I want to go to heaven. I don’t care about making money, doing charity work. Those are not what I want. I want to do things that bring me joy. That’s my choice.”
Jo Lusby 14
Managing Director, north Asia, Penguin books
Years in Beijing
hy She’s Interesting: Lusby started Penguin China in 2005 as a one-woman operation, scoring an early coup by publishing Jiang Rong’s 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize winner Wolf Totem in English. More recently, Jo signed a manuscript that produced a New York Timesbestseller: real-life murder mystery, Midnight in Peking. “The community - Chinese and foreign. There’s a real feeling of people wanting to make their mark - do something, be engaged, think about what is going on, and have the right to go for it. That and the prospect of nights out in great bars and restaurants followed by days out in gorgeous countryside. Every time I’ve thought about moving on, Beijing has offered me a new, shiny object to keep me occupied. I simply never had a good enough reason to leave.”
Bill Bishop Founder, Sinocism.com
Years in Beijing
photo: song yang and courtesy of Bill Bishop
escribed by former New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos as “the China watcher’s China watcher” and more influential than the South China Morning Post by Danwei.org, Bill has turned his daily newsletter Sinocism into a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what’s new and noteworthy in the city and country where we live. It’s certainly not his first media venture: he co-founded CBS Marketwatch, which was later sold to Dow Jones. “I stay in Beijing for the people, the food, and the energy. I grew up in Washington, DC, so I think I feel most comfortable in a capital city. And of course the changes, from my first time here in the late 80s to now. It is never boring here.”
Deputy Director, Beijing Design Week Committee
hy He’s Interesting: The man who brought us the Rubber Duck: Vittorio Sun Qun is deputy director of the Beijing Design Week Committee and is a key figure responsible for raising Beijing’s profile in the international design community, getting Beijing labeled a UNESCO Design City and opening dialogue and trade platforms between Chinese and international designers. A big name in Italian design publishing, the Shanghai native hopes that by bringing government, industry and the public together to share and benefit from the same ideas, a stronger feeling of trust can be generated in the community. “We are not stylists for the city, it’s not about making the city prettier, it’s about solving issues, asking questions. It’s like, a lot of people say that Chinese students are good at taking exams, but aren’t good at asking questions. So we think Beijing Design Week should be about asking questions.”
Proprietor, Apothecary and Janes & Hooch
Years in Beijing
photo: mitchell pe masilun and courtesy of leon lee
hy He’s Interesting: A former editor of this fine publication, Leon moved out of the magazine business and, with Chef Max Levy, opened Apothecary, which set a new standard for the cocktail bar experience in Beijing. Since then, he’s added Janes & Hooch, named one of the 20 Best New Bars in the World by Conde Nast Traveler’s website, along with finding time to be the program curator at Post Mountain Art Space, and a contributing writer for fashion mag Numero (China). “I used to say that to live in Beijing is to have front row seats in the theater of the world. To this day, I believe this is true ... although I wouldn’t mind salted butter popcorn.”
Dong Zhenxiang Founder/Chef, Da Dong Roast Duck
hy He’s Interesting: They don’t call him Da Dong for nothing. Even if he weren’t 1.93 meters tall, what he’s done with the city’s most iconic name would probably big him up enough to deserve that nickname and moniker that his restaurants bear. Along with opening a new restaurant in August at the east gate of the Workers Stadium, Dong Zhenxiang, as he was born, won Restaurant of the Year (Chinese), Best for Impressing Visitors (Chinese Cuisine), and most important, Best Beijing Duck, at the Beijinger 2013 Reader Restaurant Awards. “Many European chefs visit our restaurant and cannot believe the scale of our kitchen. That’s why we’re the best – we can do many dishes well, not just a few.”
CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER, SOHO CHINA
photo: judy zhou and courtesy of pan shiyi
hy He’s Interesting: Even if you don’t know his face, you’ve seen his work. Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin are the people behind the SOHO developments in Beijing. Few cities have been transformed in the same way by a single developer; Donald Trump wishes that as many buildings and as much iconic architecture were visible in New York. Aside from driving taxi drivers crazy with their English-acronymed, similarly-monikered, mixeduse complexes, Pan is a celebrity on Sina Weibo, with 16 million followers. “To understand the trend of the market you need to put the average statistics aside and look into the specific areas. As far as the Beijing market is concerned, there is no way prices will go down.”
Sip, nibble, gulp, chew, guzzle, savor, feast
FOOD & DRINK NOODLES // SASHIMI // RUM // CHIPS // EAT FOR CHARITY
Indulge in all things pink to support breast cancer awareness at The Peninsula Beijing. See www.thebeijinger.com/events for more details.
nibbles and sips NEW OPENINGS Following the successful track record of Mosto and Modo (now) Urban Deli, the third project of Daniel Urdaneta and Alex Molina has opened on the ground floor of Nali Patio. Moka Bros has you covered for savory crepes, great smoothies and a sleek wood interior. At the north gate of Gongti, the third Beijing outlet of ramen shop Wu Xin (舞心拉面) has opened. The interior looks quite classy (pale wood and rice paper) with prices running around RMB 60-70 a head. Once we have a taste – or a slurp, rather – we’ll be back with our take. Family-friendly The Garage is slated to open up in Shunyi on October 12. Their opening party will feature barbecue and live music. HAPPENINGS Popular duo Jack Zhou and Ah Jian are scaling back operations at The Bar as they take up the management of Sanlitun stalwart Schiller’s. They’ve promised a winter renovation. Apothecary has had a facelift. The Nali Patio spot closed temporarily in September, but has rebooted with new food and drink menus, and a snazzy new decor. Migas has started a tapas deal: get a draft Heineken and a tapa for RMB 35. For the nibble, you put yourself in the kitchen’s good hands as selection varies depending the season and the chef’s inclinations for the day. CLOSINGS Dongcheng rum dispensary Cu Ju is on the look-out for new digs. They’ve fallen foul of a greedy landlady and will be out of their current home before too long. In Shunyi, Let’s Burger on Pinnacle Avenue has closed and has been replaced by a Chinese take on Western fare (pasta, sandwiches, burgers) called Dickson Do. DEPARTURES We were forced to say zai jian to three bar scene favorites last month. Karl Long (Paddy O’Shea’s, Great Leap Brewpub), Nick Cyr (The Local) and Kadi Hughes (The Bookworm) all headed off in search of pastures new. They leave with our fondest wishes.
Poolside Pleasure Bath House Residence
Daily 11am-10.30pm. Green T. House Living, 318 Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang, Chaoyang District (6434 2519) 朝阳区崔各庄乡合各庄村318号紫云轩茶事 2km northwest of Maquanying station (Line 15)
photo: courtesy of the restaurant
WHAT’S NEW restaurants
he time to arrive at Green T. House Living is just before sunset during that transitory moment when the temperature is dropping and the daylight is dying. From the outset, the place borders on the surreal and the magical: a tall white wall separates the parking lot from the grounds, concealing a huge expanse of white pebbles – a receiving hall of sorts. The two main buildings are sprawling affairs. The first bedecked in white – the cool marble floors, the towering latticed panels, the swollen paper lanterns, the ten-foot tall birdcage – and the second equally cavernous, though black in color scheme with dark granite floors. It is here that you dine. The venue is well-established but their Bath House Residence dining concept is recent. A tangle of large sculptural branches dangles from the ceiling above the bathing pool. In the summer, it is a cold plunge, but in the winter, the water is warm and infused with green tea, a cozy contrast to the yard outside blanketed in white on a snowy day. The Chinese fusion menu is tea-inspired, with a selection of ingredients sourced from their own garden. “Field of Dreams” (RMB 98) is an all-seasons item – round slices of pear piled with goat cheese and Hangzhou walnuts, drizzled with Longjing-honey mustard. A starter of homemade mantou comes accompanied by an exceptional housemade pesto with notes of green tea. The wasabi prawns (RMB 148) have bite. They are “dancing to a mango salsa” – or so says the menu – which offsets the spice, and are encrusted in cornflakes, which gives a crunch against the soft seafood. The chicken dish (RMB 126) is a provocative combination: large shavings of Parmesan blanket meat tossed with fried oolong tea leaves, Sichuan pepper, nuts and curls of mahua, that Tianjin pretzel-like snack. The vegetarian options are successes with tricolor amaranth (RMB 68) picked from the backyard and lightly sautéed and an unexpected, but superior tofu risotto (RMB 86). A sweet finish of ice cream and chocolate bark arrives nestled in a hillside of shaved ice against a gnarled stump of wood (RMB 98). But the flavors are comparatively unassuming – green tea, blueberry, and black sesame ice creams with apricot jam and white and dark chocolate barks – and a delightful, adept simplicity to ground you in this Alice in Wonderland of a respite. Cat Nelson Also try: Da Dong, Wish
WHAT’S NEW restaurants
garlic pesto penne and curry chicken spaghetti
Carbo-Nations Let’s Pasta
Daily 10.30am-10.30pm. SLG53, Taikoo Li Sanlitun South, 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6416 7870) 朝阳区三里屯路19号三里屯太古里南区地下1层SLG53 600m west of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
memories of blustery New England nights are suddenly conjured up. As we loaded up our countertop dining space, my dining partner and I dug into a mushroom risotto with grilled Moroccan flavored chicken (RMB 78). The chicken stole the show though the risotto held its own, with the rice well-seasoned. The Hong Kong-style linguine with soy sauce braised pork (RMB 78) reaffirmed my belief that pork is truly not meant for mere mortal consumption. Soon enough I was ready for my almond bean curd dessert. I liken it to Greek yogurt whipped up with cannoli filling – somewhat heavy, but pleasingly rich. Whether you stop by during a day of shopping or for a casual dinner before heading to the Megabox, Let’s Pasta should certainly deliver what it promises. Jonathan Ginsberg Also try: Annie’s, Alio Olio
photo: mitchell pe masilun
iding off the success of Let’s Burger and Let’s Seafood comes Let’s Pasta, a self-proclaimed attempt at conquering the many pastas of the world. Despite its location – hidden away in the basement of Taikoo Li South – and its unnervingly generic name, the restaurant is somewhat of a gem. The decor is inviting, if eclectic: classic black and white tiled floors, faux-taxidermy made of puzzle pieces. Think Beetlejuice meets Brooklyn. This brings us to the pasta. The oversized menu is separated into “Western Style ,”“Eastern Style,” and set meals, with some risottos thrown in. For RMB 128 to 148 you can get a “Half & Half” set meal – two pastas (100 grams each), a side, a soda and dessert – a solid bang for the buck. And with wine or beer for an extra RMB 10, Let’s … alright, I’ll refrain. In Set C (RMB 138), the fettuccine alfredo was more an onslaught of cheese than creamy alfredo, but nevertheless, I managed to clean the plate thoroughly. Next to that was linguini in a tiger prawn bisque. Don’t be startled if fond
WHAT’S NEW restaurants
Mildly Heavenly Sukhothai Daily 11am-11pm. 41 Ju’er Hutong, Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District (8402 6940) 东城区南锣鼓巷菊儿胡同41号 750m north of Nanluogu Xiang station (Line 6)
ocated off the insanity that is Nanluogu Xiang is the baby of proud Malaysian chef, Belal. Belal – according to a heartfelt autobiography at the front of his own menu – came to Beijing in 2004, “hoping to create a piece of heaven and earth.” That junction between life as we know it and immortality is called Sukhothai. Although it bears the same name as others in town, the restaurant has no connection to them. If it wasn’t for the food’s lack of kick to the nostrils, spice fans could delete all the other Sukhothais from their address book. But, if you don’t get too adventurous with your Scoville ratings, then Belal’s mild curries and stir-fries are the ticket. Just don’t expect a ton of salt and pepper. While saturated with plump mushrooms, lemongrass and tender chunks of chicken, the coconut chicken soup (RMB 35) lacks the oomph in its broth the Thai gods would’ve surely wanted. Instead, for a welcome surge of flavor, try the peppermint beef (RMB 48), whose winning attribute is mint, not its scant dressing of chilies. But what really begins to live up to Belal’s divine aspirations is the mango shrimp (RMB 52), a lightly sweet sauce with mango, crunchy green peppers and sugar snap peas. This dish could pass as an unconventional dessert to accompany the chocolate crepes (RMB 25) on offer. Just make sure to ask them to bring out the crepes last, or risk missing out on that one element that could make or break a heavenly treat: warmth. Jessica Rapp
photo: mitchell pe masilun
Also try: Patara, Pak Pak
Chi Fan for CharitY DOING GOOD ... BY Dining? by Steven Schwankert
magine going out for a Saturday night on the town, eating, drinking, making merry, where not only would a good time be had by all, but every cent of the money spent would benefit needy children. Sounds too good to be true? It’s good, and it’s true. On one night only (November 2), Chi Fan for Charity will feature dinners – of at least three courses – offered by more than 50 of Beijing’s top restaurants across town. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to two selected charities. This year’s beneficiaries are Educating Girls of Rural China, which operates under the philosophy that educating women is the key to bring positive changes to a family, a village and a society, and Little Flower Projects which has led grassroots, small-scale, effective, and cost-
efficient projects throughout China for the benefit of countless children in need. Born and bred in our city in 2009, Chi Fan and its success celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. It spread to Shanghai in 2011 and this autumn sees a third city – Hong Kong – added. Forty of Beijing’s top restaurants participated in last year’s sold-out shingdig and, along with Shanghai, raised RMB 400,000. The annual event, accompanied by a smaller vintners’ dinner held each spring, has raised over RMB 1.7 million for various causes. And if that hasn’t convinced you, good-hearted hedonists and revelers, what is the last, but perhaps best part of the night? The wild after-party at Hatsune in Sanlitun for everyone who just chi fan’ed for charity across the city.
Michael Crain, co-founder (with Joanna Crain) of Chi Fan for Charity
Ignace LeCleir of Temple Restaurant Beijing “We wanted to give something back to the community but didn’t quite know how, and then Chi Fan for Charity came along. Also, it’s fun to get all the restaurants together on the same night to do this.”
“Chi Fan for Charity’s fifth anniversary event is shaping up to be the best yet. More than fifty of Beijing’s best restaurants are participating, which means we should raise a record amount for our beneficiaries this year.” Alex Molina of Mosto, Modo Urban Deli and Moka Bros. “It’s a very good cause and an established charity, plus it’s fun for everyone – the perfect combination.”
The Beijinger’s Dining Editor Cat Nelson will host the magazine’s table at The CUT at the Fairmont Beijing hotel. Managing Editor Steven Schwankert will host a separate table at Café Sambal. Tickets (RMB 500-1,000, varies by venue) for Chi Fan for Charity will go on sale on October 8; visit www. chifanforcharity.org for more details, a full list of participating restaurants, table hosts, pricing, and booking information.
nuts for noodles
photo: mitchell photo: pe joey masilun guo
WHAT’S NEW restaurants Hani Gejiu 哈尼个旧餐厅 Daily 11am-10pm. 48 Zhonglouwan Hutong (east of the Bell Tower), Dongcheng District (6401 3318) 东城区钟楼湾胡同48号 650m south of Gulou station (Line 2)
verything about Hani Gejiu is delightfully to the point. From the robust, no-nonsense wooden tables of its interior to its fresh and simple fare, Gulou’s new Yunnan spot features eats made with a mother’s care. The menu sprouts Hani minority classics like tofu skin dishes (RMB 28) and fried goat cheese (RMB 68), with a focus on rice noodle entrees (RMB 22-45) coupled with a variety of soups and toppings. Co-owner Sue Zhou, her hands smoothing her black cotton dress, lovingly explains the details behind each dish, telling us with the warm exuberance of a cultivated chef about the organic, free-range chickens in her noodle broth and the trials of making her homemade bean custard (turns out third time really is the charm). The menu is well-rounded but not extensive, and Zhou notes that limiting her offerings to around 30 dishes and changing them every few months keeps things fresh and seasonal. To try as much as possible, we ordered a set lunch menu, plus a starter and a main. For RMB 130, we receive rice noodle soup with soybean custard (our choice) with a deep-fried trio of oyster mushrooms, potato balls, and goat cheese, plus Yunnan cured meat, green beans, and mint salad. The noodle soup is hearty and simple: rice noodles laced with chopped greens, frothy soybean custard, and simmered pork. The fried sides are as expected, the batter perhaps on the heavier side, while the mint salad chili spices and lemon zest, are refreshing. The whole thing is topped off with a glass of rice wine. Mild and sweet, it is the perfect companion to a piquant meal. The Hani-style roast fish (RMB 68) – a generous tilapia served whole, mouth agape – is unpretentious and tasty with its dry chili-rub exterior, juicy interior, and sweet chili pepper sauce to the side. Lemon chicken salad (RMB 38) proves to be a stimulating array of flavors – strings of chicken meat intertwined with citrus, green onion, chili pepper, and cilantro: the perfect pause mid-day. Vivian Ludford Also try: Dali Ren Jia, Yun’er Town
WHAT’S NEW restaurants
Koyama Japanese Cuisine 小山日本料理 Mon-Fri 11:30am-1:30pm, 5:30-11pm; Sat-Sun, 11:30am-11pm. NLG16B-17, B1/F, Taikoo Li Sanlitun North, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6717 5952) 朝阳区三里屯路11号三里屯太古里北区地下1层NLG16B-17 1km northwest of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
and tempura shrimp (RMB 50) under the watchful eyes Yu-Gi-Oh masters? For a restaurant that could easily risk being too flashy, it’s not until you must decide what to eat from a large selection of equally well-prepared food that you might find yourself feeling overwhelmed. Aim outside the box and try the street stall cuisine, like the doughy takoyaki (fried octopus balls, RMB 45) or the chewy chicken livers that come with assorted yakitori (RMB 120). Traditional dishes, like the tosatofu (tofu-style bean curd, RMB 30), battered in fried fish flakes, don’t disappoint. A simple option that’s packed with flavor is the tamago tyudon (beef bowl with egg, RMB 55), which pairs well with blackberry-infused Suntory whiskey (RMB 30). After all, if one is to bring toys to the dinner table, you might as well have a drink with a playful twist. Jessica Rapp Also try: Hatsune, Haru
photos: joey guo
f you took the action figures from all the ten-year-olds in Japan, you’d fill the interiors of all the Koyamas in China, or so it seems. Aside from its decadent displays of sushi and sashimi in what’s practically an encyclopedic menu of Japanese cuisine, Koyama is worth a trip if only for a glimpse of a detailed diorama of Gyango head-to-head with Ultra Man in a to-scale crumbling city of Tokyo. And the extensive army of Sailor Moon figures. And King Ghidorah and his fellow Godzilla adversaries. Like the menu, the list goes on. Of Koyama’s five locations in China, this 830-square meter, 225-seater space has the largest collection of anime characters, all positioned among the more elegant dwellings of Taikoo Li North. The contrast is so great that it’s hard not to picture a scenario, where, after midnight, all the characters awake and have hushed battles within the pristine hallways of the luxury mall. But who says you can’t enjoy a delicately prepared dragon roll of eel
WHAT’S NEW restaurants
Grill-ionaire The Pavillion Grill 欧洲花园餐厅 Daily 11am-11pm. Inside the East Gate of Workers’ Gymnasium, Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District (6551 6680) 朝阳区工体西路工人体育馆东门院内 900m east of Dongsishitiao station (Line 2)
here’s nothing worse than showing up in plaid and denim when cocktail attire is required – things can get awkward. You would think that would be the case at The Pavillion Grill. However, at the core of this collaboration between Chef Too founder William Bolton and Sim-Sim owner Marlen, is an atmosphere that is classy and intimate, but most of all, comfortable and inviting. Heavily inspired by Eastern European cuisine, the menu contains several dishes that include the famed beetroot, like a hearty Russian borsch made with veal (RMB 38) and a pressed and formed terrine-like schuba salad (RMB 48). Flavors of the Middle East join in with items like the savory and smooth walnut-stuffed eggplant starter (RMB 48) served with tomato and olive slices. However, the show-stoppers are their Azerbaijanistyle kebabs and barbecue. The meat preparation and cooking methods are serious business. Not only have they employed an Azerbaijani chef, but the restaurant even includes its own separate barbecue room, reserved for roasting and toasting such delights as their spiced chicken kebab (RMB 88) and Azerbaijan lamb backstrap (RMB 88). These fresh-from-the-fire delicacies are served with their signature Azerbaijani sauce – a tomato-based condiment for chicken, lamb, or even just your spoon. Marissa Kennedy
photo: courtesy of The Pavillion Grill
Also try: Rumi, Turkish Mum
Apple of My Eye Back Alley Bistro
Tues-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-11pm. 55 Xingfucun Zhonglu, Chaoyang District. (6415 3713). 朝阳区幸福村中路55号 1.2km northeast of Dongsishitiao station (Line 2)
never knew autumn growing up. The temperature dips ever so slightly and the days begin to darken early, but the central coast of California lacks the iconic markers of the season. There is no satisfying crunch of leaves underneath your foot, no brisk chill of an autumnal breeze. It was in New York that I began to appreciate the season. There a true autumn lent an understanding to foods I had eaten as a child without context: butternut squash with brown sugar, roasted root vegetables, and apple crisp. Caught between an oppressive summer and an even more formidable winter, these weeks in Beijing bring a different set of goods: dried persimmons, roasted sweet potatoes, sticks of candied hawthorn. But there are tastes of home to be found here, too. Crisp or crumble, take your pick of name, Back Alley Bistro makes an exquisite apple variety (RMB 39). The heaving mound is the original “deconstructed” dish – a messy affair after which we found ourselves tidily cleaning up.
Here this fruit of Eden, which elsewhere has its crisp and refreshing moments, is rich, but not heavy. Even and thin, the apple slices are soft and have been caramelized in brown sugar, then spiced with the comforting flavors of chillier months. There are notes of cinnamon, naturally. What makes a crisp a crisp is the topping and at Back Alley, a liberal jumble of oats and walnuts, cut into bits of flour, butter and sugar, tumble down the mountain of apples. If the fruit’s symbolism (of knowledge and immortality, of sin and the fall of man) ever cluttered the experience of eating an apple for you, it will recede here. The flavors are earthy and pure. The accoutrements are largely expected: a classic scoop of vanilla ice cream, a caramel sauce. A healthy dash of whiskey complicates the sauce – a taste of home, yes, but elevated. It is a generous whiskey-caramel pool, but when you find yourself scraping the plate for the last traces, you wished it had been an ocean. Cat Nelson
photo: Joey Guo
Alex Pearson Founder, The Bookworm
Alex Pearson arrived on the Beijing scene in 1992. Her numerous projects started with Poachers Inn, and include, of course, The Bookworm. But after 21 years, it is time for a change. She’s moving to the UK, but promises regular returns for duties at The Bookworm, for its International Literary Festival, and to eat, with friends, the dishes mentioned below many, many more times.
photo: mary dennis
The venue My friends and I come to life when we are in the heart of street Beijing, and so we will lay a table in a wellused hutong, and dine just out of the way of assorted passing vehicles but in the throng of alley life. While eating, I hope to encounter tables of men with their t-shirts rolled above their bellies, women with furry highheels, and several loud arguments with shoving and pushing at bill-paying time.
traditional flame-throwing hot pot from the hole in the wall opposite the north gate of the Worker’s Gymnasium, just a simple clear broth with lashings of lotus root, assorted mushrooms, lamb and dongdoufu. And for those who are still hungry, chuanr and dapanr ji from my local Uyghur restaurant in Xingfucun. The specialties of restaurants seem to distract me from noting their names, and so they are just known as “The Fish Head,” “The Down and Dirty Hot Pot,” “The Chuanr.” Dessert Qishanshaozi noodles from the Shaanxi noodle joint south of The Bookworm, a favorite of our Literary Festival authors and a regular lunchtime spot for me. Hand-pulled noodles in a broth of potato, tofu and green beans, the bowl oozes Shaanxi flavors. And my guess is that we might have to stop for a jianbing on the way home.
The starters A spread of Beijing’s finest cold dishes, including maodou, mala crayfish and those delicious soaked peanuts. Basically, anything in a shell that then joins the jumble beneath the table.
The music Honk, chatter, screech, dring, laughter, beep, slurp.
Main course For the main course, the best fish head in town, from the Hunan restaurant on the west bank of Houhai – nothing beats the accompanying green chili sauce – and a
Experience Beijing’s literary life at The Bookworm on Oct 17 and hear Michel Bonnin talk about his book, The Lost Generation: The Rustication of China’s Educated Youth (1968-1980).
The entertainment Just my friends.
BACK FOR MORE
A Step Above Alio Olio Daily 11am-11pm. Chaoyang Park West Gate 1, Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu, Chaoyang District (6594 0938) 朝阳区朝阳公园路朝阳公园西门1号 1.2km northeast of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
fired oven at the back of the kitchen. It was a tasty, soft, bready-style of pizza, well-laden with delicious little salty anchovies and capers – just what we love. It just might not rate for those that prefer pizza with a crunch. Also on the table was the insalata di arucola (RMB 28/38), a fresh salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan, and the salmone alla griglia (RMB 128), a grilled salmon steak offset with vegetables and a lemon butter sauce. As might be expected, Alio Olio’s new menu also comes with the familiar Beijing price creep, and eating there now is likely to set you back around RMB 150 per person. It’s a little more than Giuseppe’s former underling, Annie’s, but by modern Beijing standards, still at the lower end of the Western dining scale. Shannon Aitken
ot having been to Alio Olio for a while, we decided take another peek to see what’s been happening, and it seems that owner Giuseppe Gladiatore is on a roll. He’s given the place a nip and tuck, and the new dark red couches lift the Italian restaurant’s wood-heavy interior, making it a comfy, family-friendly place for lunch or dinner. The menu has also been given a tweak, with a handful of new dishes that are aiming to push the restaurant above the everyday Italian trattoria category. Gladiatore’s even taken over ownership of old-favorite Black Sun Bar downstairs and has already given it a brightening splash of pink paint. Back upstairs, we tucked into a classic Napoli pizza (RMB 45/55), which came steaming hot out of the wood-
Sweet Endings Hai Shan Zhai Muslim Restaurant 海山斋清真饭庄 Daily 11.30am-10pm. North gate of Dongwangzhuang Xiaoqu, 10 Dongwangzhuang, Haidian District (6232 9042) 海淀区东王庄小区北门东王庄10号 1.5km northeast of Wudaokou station (Line 13)
(ziran yangpaizi, RMB 88), or if you’re feeling especially extravagant, get the roasted leg of lamb (kao yangroutui, RMB 108) which will be brought to your table on a spit of glory. Should you need a break from the smorgasbord of meat, definitely get the battered, deep-fried eggplant (zharu he, RMB 42). Word to the wise: this is an exercise in patience – wait until it has cooled off. This dish can get close to the temperature of the sun. The golden child of all of Hai Shan Zhai’s dishes, however, is a sweet. Basi hongshu (RMB 28) is composed of sweet potato slices that have been dusted in flour, deep-fried, covered in caramelized sugar and sprinkled with sesame seeds. While they also make apple, banana, and pineapple varieties, the sweet potato version is undoubtedly the best. You won’t find it on the menu, but trust me, they have it, and will you ever be glad that you ordered it. Marissa Kennedy
photo: Marissa Kennedy
used to think Chinese Muslim cuisine was the same as Xinjiang food. But no, I was vehemently corrected by my neighborhood ayi whose family runs Hai Shan Zhai. The restaurant caters to the dietary restrictions of the Muslim tradition, but in the taste of old Beijingers. Here, you’ll find familiar Beijing favorites, minus the pork, as well as a few holy grail Hui specialties. Dishes are clean, well-balanced in flavor, and meet halal standards. They don’t even bother with English translations for their menu, just pictures and the name of the dishes in Chinese. Have faith that the actual food looks less shiny and more appetizing in the flesh. The jiaoliu wanzi (RMB 48), literally translated as “burned sautéed balls,” are delicious despite the name. These beef meatballs are dry and crispy on the outside, but tender in the middle and seasoned with a thin, salty gravy. But if it’s lamb you’re craving, don’t stop at the yangrou chuar (RMB 5 per skewer). Try the dry-rubbed spicy lamb ribs
A P is for … … pidan 皮蛋 Century eggs have been a Chinese staple for ... well, centuries. They are not only are they delicious, they’re also preserved, which means they’d make great zombie apocalypse food. You know, if that sort of thing ever happened. To make this Hunan-derived delicacy, duck, chicken, or quail eggs are preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls for several weeks to several months. You can eat them on their own, on top of chilled tofu, or chopped into congee. … pian 片 It’s not a food, per se, but it’s got a lot to do with food. For starters, pian means slices – or a technique of cutting – and is often used to refer to the horizontal slicing of boned meat, fish, and poultry. You might hear this word used when you get your Peking duck cut into pian, buy a fish fillet at the store or order plates of raw beef or lamb pian at your favorite hot pot restaurant. … pigu 屁股 Okay, this word means butt. And no, our editor didn’t have a mental lapse and let this one fall through the crack. The Chinese are famous for eating all parts of an animal, and butts are no exception – especially chicken butts. These little nubs of fatty meat are often sold by the kebab as a popular street food. It’s a popular Taiwan snack originally, and if you haven’t seen them around Beijing yet, that’s probably because here chuanr trumps all. … pao ge rou 袍哥肉 You may have heard of it by its standard name, hui guo rou, which translates to “return to the pot pork.” But as any fanny-packed hipster will point out to you, the lesser-known is always more thrilling, and this pork dish’s nickname is no exception: it translates to “secret society meat.” The Sichuanese invented this dish by simmering strips of pork belly with napa cabbage, bell peppers, and scallions. The result? Delicious, of course.
New Chip on the Block Exploring the Freshest Flavors by Cat Nelson
here must be something about the potato chip that calls out to the flavor chemist like a blank canvas to the artist. A quick jaunt down the chip aisle of the convenience store reveals unfathomable depths of purported creativity.
We did a tour of the scene two years ago of the nowtimeless flavors like cheese lobster, cucumber, and numb & spicy hot pot. But Lay’s freshest line-up of unexpected flavors demanded a return visit, and this month we snacked on the year’s newbies alongside a couple of their more distinctive “classic great tastes.”
Zesty Tomato (RMB 5.80) “This tastes like that cold dish of tomato with sugar … but not as good.” “You could serve these with a burger and not need ketchup for it.” “This is like squeezing tomato puree onto a piece of bread and then wolfing it down … which I’ve done.” “It tastes like unemployment.” Sweetie Barbecued Pork (RMB 5.80) “This tastes like the flavor packet from fangbian mian – probably is.”
French Chicken (RMB 5.80) “Half of the challenge here will be trying to ascertain what the flavor is, as opposed to just salt.”
“It’d be good with baijiu.”
“If this were a movie, it would be starring someone like Matthew McConaughey in his ‘lawyer with abs’ phase. The female lead would be Kate Hudson.”
“It tastes like the broth they use to boil a pig’s head. Don’t ask me how I know.”
photo: Joey Guo
“Bland. Kenny G probably eats these for inspiration.”
Fun Wasabi Shrimp (RMB 5.80) “There’s a hint of menace. It’s like when you eat wasabi peas. You like the first one, but then you know sooner or later there’s going to be one that just destroys you, leaving you gasping for a breath.” “It’s like a school bully who’s all bluster and threatens to do you in, but then ends up pissing his pants when your mom comes down and shouts at him.” “I’d buy those.” Wildly Grilled Rib (RMB 5.80) “These look rustic. Are they craft chips?”
Mexican Tomato Chicken (RMB 5.80) “It’s an idealistic youth, reading a bit of Kafka and feeling tortured, walking around quoting philosophers and writers, but only having read the Cliff Notes.”
“I think it’s an attempt at steak. Why be so ambitious though?” “At best they’re like the fries you would get at Sizzler, but in disguise.”
“This chip would ruin your holiday because you’d be in a hostel in Bangkok and he’d would be going on about Buddhism.” “Trying to be deeper than it is. Probably got dreadlocks. It’s white, by the way.”
Spicy Green Peppercorn Fish (RMB 5.80) “Are you sure these aren’t expired?” “It’s like taking a stroll down Guijie.” “This is how your clothes would taste if you ate them after a hot pot dinner. Same texture, too.” “It’s a good appropriation of the mala. If you were bedridden, but really enjoyed mala tang, then eat a bag of these.”
VERDICT “Why do they all pretty much taste the same? Unless you see the cover of the bag, there’s no way of knowing what it’s supposed to be,” commented one of our participants. Her sentiments were echoed. For as wild and lofty a height as the flavor profiles may try to reach, the results are strikingly indistinguishable. Who’s the winner in this bleak landscape where only marketing and packaging prevails? Fun Wasabi Shrimp, on account of its noticeably distinctive taste. But really, who likes eating wasabi with a spoon?
COMMUNITY SPIRIT NBEER PUB 中国北京牛啤堂世界精酿啤酒库 Tue-Sun 3pm-late. F1-6, 1/F Huguo Xintiandi, 85 Huguosi Dajie, Xicheng District (8328 8823) 北京西城区护国寺大街85号护国新天地1层 F1-6 200m northeast of Pinganli station
photo: mitchell pe masilun
WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS
hirty-seven taps. Thirteen in-house fermentation tanks. One brewing machine imported from the States. Space for nine hundred bottled beers; NBeer Pub would be well up there with the best of the slew of new brewpubs if it was purely a numbers game. But the very best of the city’s recent glut of craft beer bars are hitting the right notes with so much more than mere numbers. The thrill of an occasional glimpse behind the curtain at Great Leap’s production processes – akin to witnessing oompah lumpahs at work in Wonka’s factory; Slow Boat’s endeavor to ensure that every mouthful of their grog tastes just as they conceived it; the bald-faced chutzpah of the innovative team behind 京A – all these go to ensure that they will live beyond the inevitable dampening of interest in the craft drop. In addition to those big numbers, NBeer Pub offers a true community feel to the hobby of craft brewing. Speaking to proprietor Yinhai, it’s clear that he and coowner Xiao Bian’r are playing out a fantasy in opening their Pinganli space. “I have many, many taps around my home; Xiao Bian’r has literally thousands of bottles of beer in his – opening this place is like a dream for the two of us.” A stated desire to act as a support mechanism for the Beijing brewing community is a claim that could be bordering on glib were it not for the evidence provided by the in-house brewing area edging the sizable bar room. A creative initiative encourages patrons to brew their own beer. Tutorials are offered to customers on imported brewing equipment allowing them to learn the craft before mixing their suds and leaving them to mature in their own fermentation tank for the requisite period. “It will be pretty cool to be enjoying a pint while telling your friends: ‘My own ale is maturing in that tank over there,’” says Yinhai, and I’d have to agree. Although at RMB 1780 (plus ingredients running to RMB 400) it’s a boast that I can live without for now. At least until Christmas bonus time comes back around. The owners count much of the Beijing brewing community among their close friends. Indeed, on the day I stopped by, there was something of a brouhaha underway, attended by such luminaries as Master Gao of Baby IPA fame. And that’s the charm of the space and the team behind it; brewing beer was their hobby, it introduced them to their friends, and it gave them an idea to make money. Also try: Great Leap Brewpub, Slow Boat Brewery Taproom
new Rumantics sugar cane sips by Paul Ryding
or the sweet tooth, rum is a favorite cocktail base. Made variously from molasses or sugar cane, rum comes in multiple guises (see our handy sidebar), but everyone’s tried the rum cocktail standards. Mai Tais, Mojitos, Cuba Libres and Dark ‘n’ Stormies are a part of the everyday bar vernacular for anybody with a penchant for the rum. This month we set about finding some of the lesser-known rum concoctions that you can rustle up easily at home. Here’s our list of some must-trys. NAVY GROG 45ml navy rum 15ml fresh lime juice 15ml grapefruit juice 1tbsp honey Topped with club soda
BISHOP 30ml gold rum 15ml fresh lime juice 5ml simple syrup Topped with red wine A strong, gold rum base with a splash of vino gives this Caribbean a French accent. On the flip side this makes kick-ass sangria, but sweet and sour, this bloody punch fairs better as a rum heavy jig.
There are almost as many takes on Navy Grog as there are sea shanties. Surely one of the earliest and most bastardized recipes around, we’d always opt for one not too slavishly adherent to the original (unless your preference is for an added dash of stagnant water from an algae coated barrel) and go for a balanced trade of sweet, spicy and smooth.
photo: mitchell pe masilun
CAFE BARBADOS 60ml navy rum 45ml espresso coffee 15ml coffee liqueur Whipped cream Chocolate shavings As its name suggests, this cocktail offers a more sedate change of pace from the Tornado. That’s not to suggest a few of them wouldn’t see you sloshed. If dark rum wasn’t sacchariferous enough to sate your sweet tooth, the cream and chocolate cameos ought to do it.
TORNADO 15ml white rum 15ml vodka 15ml whiskey 15ml tequila 5ml simple syrup Topped with cola The strapping, wilder brother of the Long Island, the Tornado places a tad more emphasis on preparation. Constantly stirred throughout the preparation, this storm in a pint glass packs a punch off the Fujita scale, and will certainly see you twistered.
KNOW YOUR RUM FROM YOUR RHUM White Rum: The one you’ve probably sampled most. Light in color as it’s usually not aged much longer than a few months. Although, not always. Some light rums are filtered to have color removed. Cheaper varieties (such as the standard Bacardi) are usually bland on the tongue and are most often the base of cocktails. Rhum Agricole: French for “cane juice rum,” agricole is produced exclusively in the French-speaking isles of the West Indies. Distinctively fragrant and less sweet than darker varietals, rhum agricole is actually extracted from the juice of sugar cane. Gold Rum: Gaining their amber hue from the process of aging in oak barrels, gold rum is the most common variety. Produced widely, different regions have their own characteristics, but all maintain a smooth finish. Navy Rum: The original. Rationed to sailors until 1979, it was thought to help stave off dreaded scurvy for the seafaring. Its darker complexion is attributable to a formative period spent in charred barrels. Stronger in flavor, navy rum puts hairs on your chest. Spiced Rum: A favorite ingredient of the mixologist, spiced rum adds an interesting twist to a cocktail. Deep in color, oftentimes it’s the accompanying spice that aids their appearance. Caramel, aniseed and cinnamon are commonly used to add flavor.
WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS
Murky Nights MASH Daily 5pm-3am. Sanlitun Houjie, Chaoyang District (185 1117 8108) 朝阳区三里屯后街 600m west of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
excess on the street below with a Carlsberg for RMB 20 or two Mojitos (RMB 50), the ones we tried certainly didn’t offend. Mash Hour will undoubtedly lead to mass munchies, of which there are plenty. The menu consists of an impressive variety of western and eastern fare with an emphasis on Turkish staples and half-price specials from Monday to Thursday. Scrapping the debauched plan of soaking up the drinks with a Spanish tortilla (RMB 30) to start and a slice of pumpkin pie (RMB 28) to end we went straight for the chicken doner kebab (RMB 36). The wrap’s light simplicity did just what we needed, soaking up the cheap booze that burped up from our bellies. A bit more flavor would have been welcomed, but the dish is a steal at that price. Before winding down completely, a precautionary shooter (RMB 30) to prep for the tussle of the late-night Sanlitun scene is just right. Just watch a taxi doesn’t flatten your foot as you lunge out into the crowded alley. Nick Richards Also try: First Floor, Luga’s
ello Mash, we’ll have all the Sanlitun Houjie clichés to start: the hive plus the scum plus the villainy. Nights fueled on fake booze. Nights which culminate into that very anti-climactic moment when kebab juice dribbles down the front of your shirt. Ah yes, here we are just across the street from First Floor. We are in that mysterious space that was once called Big Live, now revamped by the dive bar masters behind Luga’s. Oh yes, the indulgent elements are all here, the elements that semi-crystallize into weighty expat memories: the strings of nights out that will sit like thick murk in the backs of our heads forever. A giant pool table greets customers at the entrance, just before the long bar and sweeping floor of high tables and balconies with rows of seating. Following the steep staircase to the right of the door we were led up onto a grand rooftop space where the seating is just as plentiful and comfortable. Another bar, pool table and ambient light on the roof clearly signify that this is the spot, if there were any, to spend Mash Hour. The bar’s happy hour offers two-for-one cocktails and beer specials from 5-10pm every day. Wash down the views of steaming
WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS
HOT BUZZ Cicada Ultralounge Tue-Sun 6pm-late. N4-33, 3/F, Taikoo Li Sanlitun North, 11 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6418 9898) 朝阳区三里屯路11号三里屯太古里北区3层N4-33 1km northwest of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
know, you’re probably asking “What is an ‘ultralounge’”? I would tell you the distinction is largely unnecessary – with bright lights, decent drinks and house tunes, it’s like any other higher-end lounge. On a busy opening night, I weaved around ranks of well-dressed bodies, bypassing the DJ booth and small dance floor, following Cicada’s L-shaped bar to its terminus. The management obviously want a busy bar, but I think Cicada will excel if the average night is less hectic – lively, but with more room to breathe and enjoy the people-watching. The design is tasteful enough, with muted wood tones, a honeycomb ceiling, and bottles displayed like the contents of a trophy cabinet. Bottle service is predictably encouraged, but the cocktails are no afterthought. The Boston Sour (RMB 82) – bourbon, egg white, fresh lemon and bitters – was as good as anything I’ve tried recently. On its own merit, Cicada ticks all the right boxes, readily slotting in to a time-honored tradition of “see and be seen” Beijing venues like Suzie Wong, Block 8 and Spark. In Beijing’s increasingly competitive bar scene, however, it needs to find an extra gear to be sure of success. Perhaps that distinction matters after all: If Cicada is going to thrive, it needs to deliver the kind of experience that proves it truly is as “ultra” as the name suggests. Iain Shaw
photo: courtesy of Cicada Ultralounge
Also try: Spark, Suzie Wong’s
addy O’Shea’s new bar manager Tiggi (“That’s my real name. My brothers are called Bleu and Chad!”) has worked in the service industry since leaving school. We charged Tiggi with wowing this month’s
subjects with delectable delights borne of his experience working as a mixologist both at home in England and in China. He got top marks for incorporating fire into the mix. SOPHIE Interesting fact: Sophie once came second in a talent show after performing “Surfing USA” with a surfboard and attempting a back-flip. The resulting drink: Surf’s Up Ingredients: 50ml Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey 30ml fresh lime juice Dash of angostura bitters Fresh ginger Brown sugar
“The whiskey and ginger work well together. Neither is too strong. Tiggi aced it!”
If you’d like to be in next month’s Cocktail Profiler, email us a photo and an interesting fact about yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every month we’ll be asking one of the city’s expert mixologists to profile a selection of Beijingers based on a single snapshot and a brief factoid.
Served: In a rocks glass over ice with a slice of lime.
MATHILDE Interesting fact: Despite being brought up on an island, Mathilde is afraid of the beach after a distressing rock fish encounter. The resulting drink: Life’s a Beach Ingredients: 35ml Captain Morgan’s Private Stock rum 20ml brown cacao liqueur 20ml fresh lemon juice
Served: In a chocolaterimmed martini glass with a mint garnish. “Two of the best things of all – chocolate and rum – together. What could go possibly have gone wrong?”
BRENDAN Interesting fact: Beer man Brendan once won a university female beauty pageant dressed in drag. The resulting drink: Lady Boy Ingredients: 25ml Bacardi 151 25ml apricot brandy 30ml fresh lime juice Dash of grenadine
Served: In a chilled martini glass with a flaming maraschino cherry. “Caipirinha is usually my choice of cocktail. This is really good. It looks pretty, too. Those are the most dangerous ones!”
NINA Interesting fact: Nina, who was named after a popular polar bear, was in a meeting in Paddy’s when we bothered her to take part in CP after a late drop out. She very kindly obliged. The resulting drink: Ice Cold Ingredients: 25ml Bombay Sapphire gin 30ml strawberry liqueur Dash of fresh lemon juice
Served: In a chilled martini glass with a lemon peel twist. “I said I wanted something girly – this isn’t girly! Unless it’s a girl who means business.”
Made in China
Beijing’s Top Chinese Wine Lists by Jim Boyce
blend from Ningxia at RMB 3,000. That’s a pricey bottle but one of only 150 made and considered by some to be China’s finest drop. (Put it on your expense account, especially if the fate-of-the-universe scenario above applies.) Other labels in the lineup include Great River Hill from Shandong, Helan Qing Xue from Ningxia and Sunshine Valley from Gansu. An alternative to the imperial architectural surroundings at TRB is the spectacular view – on a clear day – from Grill 79 near the top of China World Summit Wing. Even better, this venue offers some particularly good
photo: courtesy of temple restaurant beijing
o, you have friends visiting town and they want to get some. Or a client that’s dying to try it. Or perhaps the fate of the universe depends on locating a stash ASAP. Whatever the case, you need to find a restaurant, bar or hotel that has decent Chinese wine. Where to go in our fair city? No one touches Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB) for choice. The good food, service and atmosphere at TRB are matched by an 800-bottle-strong list with 22 options from China. They range from Chablis-like 1421 Silver Chardonnay from Xinjiang at RMB 220, to a magnum of Silver Heights Emma’s Reserve Bordeaux-style
value, particularly on bottles of Silver Heights The Summit from Ningxia. These come in at RMB 610, not much more than the retail price of RMB 500 from Everwines. If you want to try a Chinese wine by the glass, Deep Blue from highly-regarded Grace Vineyard in Shanxi is available at RMB 115 while the winery’s Symphony Muscat is RMB 80 one floor up in the bar Atmosphere. When you tack on a 15 percent service charge, those prices are still about the same as a cocktail at these venues. And you get the added value of sipping wine while spotting sites like Tiananmen Square and The Bird’s Nest from your perch. Other high-end venues with decent Chinese wine lists include Maison Boulud in Chi’en Men 23 and China Grill in the Park Hyatt. More budget-friendly is 1421 Wines, which is found in places as diverse as Vietnamese restaurant Little Saigon in the Gulou area, steakhouse Flamme in Sanlitun and Lido, and Scarlett in Hotel G, where it is RMB 38 per glass or RMB 188 per bottle. Bar hoppers can also find it at cocktail specialists Mokihi on Lucky Street, at RMB 40 per glass or RMB 80 per bottle. You can try pairing the red with a steak from K’s Kitchen next door during Sunday night’s two-forone deal. A few doors down, Indian restaurant Punjabi has both the ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’ levels of 1421, starting at RMB 45 per glass or RMB 150 per bottle. On that same strip, French bistro Chez Julien stocks wine from yet another Chinese operation, Chateau Hansen in Inner Mongolia. A bottle of the entry-level Cabernet Gernischt, a grape thought by many to be Carmenere, sells for RMB 35 per glass or RMB 140 per bottle. The Riesling-Semillon blend, which smells like a sweet wine but turns out dry, is RMB 260 per bottle. And if you do want something sweet, there is Rimage Cabernet-Gernischt at RMB 315 per bottle. Meanwhile, the flowery-titled Côtes du Fleuve Jaune du Désert de Gobi, a blend of four grapes – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Franc and Merlot – is RMB 590 per bottle at Duck de Chine’s two outlets. Finally, trophy hunters might want to try the red blend Jia Bei Lan 2009 by Helan Qing Xue winery. This is the only wine from China to win an ‘international trophy’ at the Decanter World Wine Awards. It will typically cost RMB 1,200 and RMB 1,500, and is available at places such as Morton’s Steakhouse, the Park Hyatt and Raffles, although you can pick up a bottle for RMB 998, plus service charge, at Grill 79 and Atmosphere. Jim Boyce is the founder and primary writer for the wine blog Grape Wall of China, www.grapewallofchina.com.
Q&A and Asian to European and American cuisines. As a foodie, I’m glad to be here. Can you find good Dijon mustard here or do you have to bring it back in your luggage? Do you even like mustard? Yes, I like it. It’s easy to find in Beijing, but I did pack some good ones as gifts for my friends here. If Beijing were a wine, what type would it be? I would say a great noble wine that has a deep character and long history, like a Clos Vougeot. If Hotel G were a wine, what type would it be? A classy, exciting and chic Champagne rose – a Louis Roederer.
Pass Mustar(d) Simon Criqui Operations Manager, Scarlett by Cat Nelson
riginally from Dijon, France, Simon Criqui is continuing a family tradition of life in the hospitality business. He recently took the operational reigns at Hotel G’s Scarlett and introduces himself below by telling us about eating cold cuts for a lifetime and the one condiment he would sneak back from China in his luggage. What memories of Chinese food do you have from childhood? Fried rice, because I used to eat it “Chinese-style” with chopsticks … also, spring rolls and Peking duck.
What’s your most recent foodie find that you are excited about? Well, I haven’t been out much yet, but I’m excited about the new menu at Scarlett. Chef Emmanuel has prepared an innovative menu that wowed my taste buds. What do you see on the horizon for Hotel G? It’s a good future. We have quality products and great atmosphere to start the night with good fun, a nice dinner and wine or to relax in style and unwind in our super comfy, modern rooms. If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life what would it be? That’s a tough one … probably cold cuts. I never get tired of them. Is there anything you don’t eat? Not really, but I’m not a fan of the Wangfujing night market delicacies. Still, I like to bring friends there to trade dares!
What are you looking forward to most about eating in Beijing? A lot! Beijing has pretty much everything from Chinese
Get a taste of Simon’s home country on Oct 17 at Scarlett for La Soiree Francaise, an evening of drinking, petanque, and live music.
What surprised you most about moving to China? The fact that the cities never sleep, with the street food spreading its aroma at every corner.
What food item or dish from China would you take back to France? Lao Gan Ma. I love to make dumplings and add this sauce but it’s not easy to find in the rest of the world, so this is what I’d bring back. Its flavor always reminds me of China.
p.s. we ate you Every month, we like to shine a spotlight on the most delicious dishes we’ve stumbled upon recently. Dig in! Dongsi doufu Slow Boat Taproom, RMB 45 Whatever your thoughts on tofu, it’s hard to argue with a crispy-fried slab of it. That’s the Slow Boat secret. But fear not, it’s balanced out with a healthy heap of fresh, chopped cabbage slaw. And the best part? A spicy-sweet sauce of sriracha and honey. “Hate tofu?” the menu asks. You certainly won’t after this. yogurt and blackberry bingsu Caffe Bene, RMB 62 The price may seem high for a coffee shop treat, but get a glimpse at the size of it first. Bring a friend or three because tackling this gargantuan isn’t a task for the lone warrior. Perfect for the tail end of the warm weather, this variation of their bingsu is a layered concoction bigger than your head of yogurt, shaved ice, mixed berries – all topped with a scoop of yogurt ice cream. curry chicken spinach wrap Wagas, RMB 50 A number one stunna on the Beijing wrap scene. The spongy spinach laffa bread is the perfect companion to swaddle the curried chunks of chicken. A handful of raisins and cubes of soft pumpkin sweeten the deal while almonds and cilantro round out the flavor profile. Frank’s smoked air dried beef Sureno, RMB 78 Who’s Frank? It barely matters when the beef’s this good. Like the petals of some otherworldly flower, thinly-shaved pieces of brilliant red beef lay beneath a poached egg, a heap of truffle potato foam and a sprinkling of kalamata olive oil. berries Greek yogurt The Rug, RMB 48 They’ve got a liberal hand with the berries and nuts topping this house-made Greek-style yogurt. The sweetness of fresh, plump raspberries and blueberries, the crunch of the walnuts and the tang of the yogurt go hand in hand. If that’s not enough, the whole thing glistens with the glaze of organic honey.
Things to do, places to be, stuff to try
These will come in handy. p66
MAGICAL ZHANGJIAJIE // RUBBER DUCK // LUSH BASH // MONOCHROME
photo: courtesy of the organizer
Donâ€™t miss Beyond Contemporary Art at the National Museum of China (Oct 18-30). See www.thebeijinger.com/events for more details.
Inspect-a-gadget Flaxus Stylus This double-sided, flexible electronic writing implement can be curled and worn on the wrist when not in use. You’ll always know where your stylus is whenever inspiration strikes. Available in seven colors. www.aeglo.com RMB 160
PHOTO: Courtesy of the brands
UP by Jawbone Small and comfortable to wear all day and night, this wristband tracks your movements, including time spent active and idle, and monitors sleep quality. The UP app also helps you log what you eat and drink and tracks its nutritional value. It also allows you to set alerts to remind you to move when you’ve been inactive too long. https://jawbone.com RMB 950
Wearable Widgets by Joey Guo
Misfit Shine Built with aircraft-grade aluminum and completely waterproof, this sleek and sturdy piece of metal tracks your activity level and syncs with an iPhone or iPad wirelessly. Use the Shine app to set and track your fitness goals by simply tapping the surface. www.misfitwearables.com RMB 1,100 Sony SmartWatch SmartWatch is more than just a timepiece. It streams information such as text messages, phone calls and social media updates from an Android smartphone via Bluetooth and displays it on its rugged, multi-touch display. Never miss a phone call or message again when it’s deep in your bag set in silent mode. Unless you want to. www.sonymobile.com Price TBA
Lapka PEM This chic accessory with minimalist design is a personal environment monitor. It contains four tiny devices that measure radiation, electromagnetic fields, humidity in your surroundings, and how organic your produce is (using conductivity). The Lapka app makes all this data easy and fun to understand on the iPhone. https://mylapka.com RMB 1,600
Second-hand in Shuangjing Trash ‘n’ Diamond Daily 10am-9pm. 22 Baiziwan Lu (5826 3995) 朝阳区百子湾路22号 750m northeast of Shuangjing station (Line 10)
WHAT’S NEW Venues & shops
or Fang Fang, there is something more satisfying about digging through a pile of someone else’s unwanted clothes at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, California, than shopping at the high end malls in Los Angeles. But finding the diamond in the trash wasn’t something her Chinese friends could get on board with. “I would never consider buying anything secondhand,” a friend told her when Fang proposed the idea of bringing the flea market concept to Beijing. This was true to such an extent that, when she had to unload 21 boxes of her own untouched garments and invited her friends to join in a clothing swap, it flopped. Still, Fang was determined to go through with an idea that was five years in the making, a shop she dreamed to see succeed despite cultural style differences. She appropriately named it Trash ‘n’ Diamond. Fang’s shop is like America’s Buffalo Exchange went and put on a little black dress; clean, white walls adorned with three racks of color-sorted clothing surround a table of recycled, compressed cardboard the shop’s most expensive attribute at RMB 10,000. Neatly organized second-hand accessories and unusual trinkets crafted by local designers cover the table. Hanging overhead are 450 glass bottles that her and Peng Lei, husband and Queen Sea Big Shark’s lead singer, collected from friends, School Bar and Jam House. “Since our name is Trash ‘n’ Diamond, why don’t we have diamond lights? We decided the recycled bottles were better,” she said, referring to a diamond-shaped light bulb from a Hong Kong designer, on sale in the shop. But the real gems, of course, are the clothes. Items brought in by local rock stars, models and stylists are available for a range of prices that dip as low as RMB 30. Most clothes are priced around RMB 200, and can be bought at a discount in exchange for your own unwanted clothing. Just be prepared for a style assessment from Fang. “We want to keep the quality high and try to keep the price as friendly as possible,” she said. “We try to quicken the speed of recycling by making everything cheap, so we can buy it more often and you can bring in more often.” Fang gives regular WeChat updates, so you know what’s new in the shop every day. And if you don’t bring your own bag to carry away all of your er shou steals, don’t worry: Fang collects second-hand shopping bags too, rewriting her shop’s name in a red marker over the bag’s label. Jessica Rapp Also try: Nostalgia Vintage, Little White, Big White
Beer and Baubles
Shop Designer Fashion in Fangjia ... With a Drink
photo: mitchell pe masilun
WHAT’S NEW Venues & shops Little White, Big White Time. 41 Ju’er Hutong, Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District (8402 6940) 东城区南锣鼓巷菊儿胡同41号 750m north of Nanluogu Xiang station (Line 6)
hen I see a hotdog-patterned button-down shirt hanging in a shop window, I stop. When I see a “Beer and Drink” sign on the front stoop, I go inside. Little White, Big White has both of these. A RMB 3 can of Yanjing while I shop for carnival snack-themed clothing? Don’t mind if I do. One step into the charming hutong shop, formerly Dragon House Vintage, and I’m face-to-face with a bunch of mood-lifting bananas. “Peeling good” is a slogan on owner Mao Mao’s handmade, banana-laden button-down that perfectly illustrates her quirky and nonchalant manner, shared by her tattooed business partner, Zhao Daye, who kicks it back in a Jeff Gordon, number 48, NASCAR racing lawn chair. He’s just an arm’s length away from a fridge of ice cold beers and beverages in what is an otherwise mod-DIY room. After all, as with most Beijing boutiques, anything goes. World War II and apocalypse-themed tees hang next to pressed shirts covered in hotdogs, while a framed illustration of a man who appears to be morphing into a cat hovers over breezy, black and white, cotton and silk blend blouses. The pep and genuine enthusiasm with which Mao Mao describes her products, most of which are part of her collaboration with local artists, are like a mother showing off her child’s school project. It’s all enough to excuse the bouts of dollar store hosiery and pot leaf-shaped car air fresheners that clutter one corner of the room. Scattered among these accessories are Zhao’s handmade leather wallets, etched with his own illustrations inside each of the money slots. He’ll even do custom drawings upon request. Last time I went by the shop, Mao Mao showed off a clear, acrylic handbag, made to look like a UFO by a Shanghai designer. A wide range of funky table lamps are what make Little White, Big White worth a stop though: Ranging from RMB 298 to 788, the sleek, geometric shades and stands designed by Zhao could put any IKEA find to shame. Also try: Trash ‘n’ Diamond, Nostalgia Vintage
GET THE LOOK Peaked lapel wool coat COS, RMB 1,218 If you’re going to invest in cashmere this season, might as well make it a wardrobe staple. This fully-lined oversized coat is a wool and cashmere blend. Its hidden buttons keeps it looking plain, but sharp.
8. Black Double Zipper Shortsleeved Shirt RMB 1,280 For a casual, but elegant look, opt for a loosefitting top from Beijingbased designer Su.GuangYu.
Kesh x American Apparel Unisex Cap American Apparel, RMB TBA Wear the eye of London-born, Los Angelesbased designer, Kesh, who has adorned American Apparel’s latest collection with pieces of her black and white self-portrait.
Forget the Rainbow
by Jessica Rapp
ometimes amid all of summer’s bright colors and playful patterns, it’s easy to forget about the importance of a good neutral. They’re a staple in every wardrobe, the blank canvas for popping accessories, and the classy chic at a cocktail party. Black and white doesn’t have to be boring, though – just ask the rainbow girl’s stylist in McDonald’s latest “black and white burger.” Take it from him, and keep reading for six head-turning ways to drum up your basics.
Ping Pong zip-up Plastered T-Shirts, RMB 298 If you’re back and forth about black and white, then this 1970’sinspired ping pong jacket brings just the right amount of crimson pop to your sportswear.
Convertible Leather Coat S.T.A.R.S., RMB 13,650 Men can dress up or down in this coat by Korean designer D.GNAK. Unzip its bottom half and it becomes an edgy biker jacket.
FNO T-Shirt Lane Crawford, RMB 550 Alexander Wang collaborated with Lane Crawford for Fashion’s Night Out to bring shoppers this 100 percent cotton, unisex word print tee. Buy one and part of your purchase goes to UNICEF to help kids in need. Andy Skirt Cheap Monday, RMB 450 Rock the Beetlejuice look on bottom with this playfully striped pencil skirt.
Zhangjiajie Avatar on Earth
photo: WAN JIANJUN
ituated on the northwestern border of Hunan province and considered an inspiration for the floating mountains in Avatar, Zhangjiajie’s natural beauty is spectacular, magical, stunning and simply overwhelming. The mist-surrounded wonderland features scenic spots of mountains, forests, caves, lakes, waterfalls and column-shape peaks, with the centerpiece being the exclamation-inspired Hallelujah Mountain. Above all, it is giant natural an oxygen bar, an ideal getaway from the urban jungle of Beijing to enjoy the some of the freshest air on the earth, if not Pandora. Popular attractions include Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (China’s first national forest park), Suoxiyu Natural Resource Reserve and Tianmen Mountain. Built into the side of a huge cliff, a glass elevator lifts the visitor 326 meters (about 100 stories high in an average building) and claims to be the world’s biggest exposed glass elevator. It begins rising in the darkness of the cliff, then bursts into a plume of light. After that you will slowly find yourself within thousands of Hallelujah-style mountains, until they appear to float; you will be too high to see the mountains’ base through the mist. Entrance to the park costs RMB 248 per person, and the ticket is valid for three days. If you have more than two days, you may find time to take the world’s longest cable car and travel through the air for 7.2 kilometers to Tianmen Mountain, where you can walk the various walkways around the mountain including a new section made of glass. It offers a bird’s-eye view of the scenery, but most people find it terrifying at first. Air China flies direct to Zhangjiajie every day at 6.35pm and returns at 10.15pm, offering almost perfect timing to make full use of the holiday. Clemence Jiang
The Real Poseidon Adventure Debut book is a sprawling sea tale by Kyle Mullin
October October2013 2013
photo: HONG KONG UNIVERSITY PRESS
nlike most of his peers in their literar y more fin kicks” alongside the wreckage of one of Poseidebuts, author Steven Schwankert is interested don’s sister subs in the depths of the Ionian Sea. The in a heartier catch – a British submarine that sank chapter’s wonder deepens when he describes (among in Chinese waters. other things) how the once menacing vessel, from its Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost bottom, looks like a sleeping whale. The author attempts Submarine’s opening paragraphs focus on the HMS (somewhat unsuccessfully) to infuse equal drama into a Poseidon’s unsuspecting hero, Irish petty officer Patrick latter scene at a more generic locale – Beijing’s Union Bar Henry Willis. Schwankert writes that Willis was born on & Grille, where he first learns of the grander political thread Saint Patrick’s Day and recited the Our Father before tangled up in Poseidon’s knotted history. The segment duty – all of which would be heavyis a bit anti-climactic after the handed, if not cripplingly clichéd, preceding, passionately-detailed had they not occurred in real life. Mediterranean diving scene. Yet, “This is a story about searches: the surrealism of that moment underwater, on islands, in cemdelivers a decent amount of closure eteries… online and in libraries to a truly sprawling adventure. and archives,” he writes. But then Never theless readers will Schwankert quickly grows audalikely be more captivated by cious, dismissing the classic 1969 Poseidon’s earlier pages. Schwankert China’s Secret Salvage Paul Gallico novel The Poseidon peppers those initial chapters with of Britain’s Lost Submarine Adventure in favor of his own pages, commendable real life characters which apparently amount to a “true like Bernard Galpin, the vessel’s tale of heroism… (that) surpasses sports-obsessed captain. However any fictional tale and resonates into Willis, the pious Irish Petty Officer, is the present.” this story’s true star, and the writer That ambition may be makes him shine, again and again. grandiose, but it’s still commendCase in point, the author’s uncanny able. And while the book probresearch that unearthed the hero’s ’ ably won’t inspire blockbuster film chilling rendition of being trapped Steven R. Schwankert adaptations like Gallico’s (although in a sinking sub: a companion documentary has “According to Willis’s account, already been made), it is still brimming with compelling there was no time to be scared: ‘I told [the other men] twists and globetrotting intrigue – featuring eclectic not to get in any panic, as it was all right… The lights locales like London, the Greek Isles, and Shandong during this time had gone out. I then got them all together province. when I had my DSEA gear on, and then said prayers for But the book’s biggest joys come from the quirky all hands. I told them they all had a good opportunity of details that he researched so painstakingly. Examples being saved…” include the fact that Herbert Hoover had once lived in the Chinese port city of Tianjin; the description of an early, Disclosure: Steven Schwankert is Managing Editor of the hand-cranked submarine prototype, that looked “like an Beijinger. upturned coconut,”; and the author’s fast-food hierarchy Poseidon: China’s Secret Salvage of Britain’s Lost of Chinese cities, on which ranks Weihai as a “KFC town.” Submarine will be published in October by Hong Kong Schwankert also turns phrases with ease during the University Press, and available at The Bookworm, Amazon. book’s grander moments, detailing how he gave a “few com, and fine bookstores everywhere.
Introducing the people who matter “They were excited to have people in their neighborhood” See p68 “It’s not supposed to make people angry” See p69 “Good people draw good energy, that draws good business” See p66 “they’re energetic and excited about being in China” See p67
MEET JADE GRAY // SUN QUN
Things you might not know about Suede ...
Lead s Ander inger Brett girlfrie son's colleg once Blur' nd left him e e r 's first e d n w a y b s e The D for Th amon tract y n b o c d e g g n Albar recordi mana 2 n s i a v r e rth 3,13 o w s Ricky G a w unds o p e h t n o album w They onc Their debut y Prize – they e had a r u truck f c u r e l l M o 3 o f t 9 e y 19 e q n u o i p m m e iz ent stole e pr when on n donated th arity t o u r i n t h h c e r e U.S. a canc Witness Suede's reunion at Workers' Gymnasium on Oct 5. See www.thebeijinger.com/events for more details.
Lush at Ten
Student Hangout Graduates to Big School by Paul Ryding
ush turns ten this month. No mean feat in Beijing, they’ll celebrate the anniversary with a signature blowout this month. Expect oversized cocktails, a shot or two of tequila, and plenty of drunk students. We thought we’d mark a decade of the Wudaokou veteran with a stroll down Memory Lu, and a look back at Lush through the years. Lush was opened in summer 2003 in the wake of the SARS epidemic. From wiring the electrics on the opening night while guests waited on the stairs, to establishing a Beijing tradition in Lush Rush freshers’ week, co-founder Jade Gray says “It’s been one hell of a ride.” He talks us through some of his fondest Lush memories.
photos: courtesy of lush and sui
OCTOBER 2 68
Celebrate ten years of Lush at their Anniversary Party on Oct 18. See www.lushbeijing.com for more details.
67 OCTOBER 2013
Meet the Man Who is Bringing the Rubber Duck and More to Beijing Design Week only platform that can bring different experts together. We can’t solve specific issues, but we help the government, planners, architects, and scientists sit down and discuss their different points of view. This year’s BJDW forum, which will be on CCTV, is about “Grand Design and New Economy.” One thing we want to discuss is the idea of using a designer’s mindset to approach economic reform.
What design issues does Beijing currently face? How do you hope Beijing Design Week (BJDW) can help solve these issues? BJDW is not trying to focus on one field, but we are the
What’s your favorite exhibit at this year’s BJDW? If you could only see one, which would it be? Well you can’t miss the Rubber Duck! But I’d recommend the Swarovski exhibition, not because they invested a lot of money, but firstly because they had a Chinese designer, Ma Yansong, help design their exhibition. At the exhibition we will be able to see a big brand, not showing off its products, but their actual research, and this is a concept Chinese enterprises are lacking.
photo: mitchell pe masilun
his year’s Beijing Design Week (BJDW), which runs Sep 26 through Oct 3, in endangered of being overshadowed by a big bird. Not the Sesame Street character or even Peking duck, it is the arrival of Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck, after an iconic run in Hong Kong earlier this year. Rubber Duck has brought this year’s BJDW an unprecedented amount of publicity, but is soaking up much of the event’s early buzz. We spoke with Sun Qun, deputy director of the BJDW Committee, who also happens to be one of our 20 Most Interesting People (see pg. ), about this 2013’s Week and how it’s not about the bird.
What kind of impact do you think you’ve had on this city? Can you give some specific examples? Since we started doing BJDW, whenever our mayor received representatives of other cities, like Barcelona, they always ask to become a guest city of BJDW. The government sees Beijing is getting recognition abroad and it has been great for the image of the city. When we started, we came up with three concepts: “the city inside the city” - Dashilar, an ancient neighborhood; “the factory inside the city” - the 751 and 798 art district; and “the village inside the city” the Caochangdi art district. These choices turned out to be very successful. Especially Caochangdi, you know it’s all taxi drivers and foreigners, so when we put on 40 exhibitions in that small neighborhood, it was quite a surprise for the locals. Dashilar was similar. We didn’t want the locals to leave, we wanted them to have the opportunity to experience new ideas for improving their neighborhood. The residents found it exciting to have all these people visit their neighborhood.
Secondly, this exhibition will show that when Chinese designers work with foreign firms or foreign designers work with Chinese firms, they don’t face cultural struggles, but just the problem of how to design something well. A lot of Chinese firms like to compare Chinese designs with foreign designs, but in reality there are only good designs and bad designs. Do you think the Rubber Duck will distract people from the other BJDW displays, or will it encourage people to see more of them? From a media perspective, I think yes. It’s not fair. A lot of media is just focusing on the Rubber Duck. There is too much coverage on how popular it is. The Rubber Duck’s message isn’t about that. It’s public art, it’s supposed to open a discussion with the public, make people happy, and feel innocent. It’s not supposed to make people angry and generate debate. The popular things get attention and more serious exhibitions won’t get as much coverage. But that doesn’t mean people won’t go see them. I believe audiences in Beijing are good for that. Beijing has a lot of people that will go and discuss the things they are seeing. It’s hard to change the media’s perspective. However, this year we’re seeing even more local media interest, so I hope they will get more talking points from these 200 exhibitions and people will see that there is more than just a Rubber Duck at BJDW. Beijing Design Week takes place from Sept 26 until Oct 3 at venues across the city. See the Beijing Design Week website, www.bjdw.org, for more details. For the full interview see the Beijinger website.
“WASTE IS A TAX ON THE WHOLE PEOPLE.” – ALBERT W. ATWOOD
photo: KEVIN CHU
A rendering of Kevin Chu's Flower of Life.
Flower of Life
Will people understand Beijing Design Week’s eco-installation? By Kyle Mullin
Photos: KEVIN CHU
he flower petals are fully bloomed, and brimming with natural wonders. But if you aren’t careful, they’ll shrivel and slip from your fingertips. At least that’s the hope of Kevin Chu, an architect who has contributed a high concept installation meant to coincide with Beijing Design Week’s holistic Smart City 2013 theme. His work, dubbed The Flower of Life, forgoes natural vegetation in favor of an array of aluminum baskets, hoisted by nimble tent pole rods. Its petal-like baskets are weighed down with organic veggies, chemical-free cosmetics and other green products. But as soon as too many passersby treat themselves to those free samples, the containers will become too light, wilting upward until they are out of reach. Chu and Joseph Oliver, managing director of We Impact, an eco-NGO that teamed with the architect to build his installation spoke with the Beijinger about the ideas that users can pollinate upon visiting the Flower of Life.
Tell us about how this installation will look. Kevin Chu: The whole thing is painted gold, a very lucky color in China, rather than the gray that most modern architects use. The installation will be made up of flower baskets full of fruits and vegetables from Shangri-la farms, environmentally-friendly cosmetic samples from Eco and More, and so on. Those baskets hang from tent poles that are 4.4 meters long. Installations don’t usually utilize food like this, so we want people to eat, interact with it and make it fun. Why convey your theme through such elaborate means? KC: Personally, if I visit a presentation put on by an environmental NGO and all they have is a video, I get bored just looking at the screen. Sure, our installation doesn’t get an ecological message across in the most obvious way. But people can play around with The Flower of
You said, upon its ‘death’ at the end of Design Week, the structure will be dismantled and reformed. What exactly do you mean? KC: The tent poles that we hang the petal baskets on can be reused as simple fishing poles, to hang flowers, to go camping, or in a number of other green activities. At end of the week we plan on allowing the public to take them away, or we might donate them to the organizers of a children’s charity or camping group. JO: That’s very important, because there’s a huge amount of waste in the event industry. People rush to set up and dismantle these pavilions, and it adds considerably to carbon emissions every year. If it’s only going to be up for two weeks, we have to consider carefully how to break it down and use it in the long term. Life. That way they will be more drawn to exploring what it can mean, rather than being force-fed. Joseph Oliver: In China you often see installations on roundabouts or near prominent buildings. Frankly, they’re only aesthetic. It would be wonderful to see China adopt more interactive public installations, in the same way they’ve adopted exercise machines in parks. Jin Ruidong said: “[The Flower of Life] is good and unique ... but it would be better for them to find a design that will save water, electricity, or energy.” What are your thoughts on that? KC: That’s the same mistake that most architects make. By simply pushing us to make more solar panels or rainwater recycling tanks, we are only doing so much for the environment. The most important lesson now is to educate the next generation. And believe me, no kids will care about another solar panel or wind turbine. But, for sure, they will remember “that silly flower pavilion.” And perhaps this environmental message will be ingrained in their minds, and make them a better generation.
KC: Because China’s growing so rich, our mentality is to consume a lot instead of practicing conservation. The exhibit won’t stop people’s consumption. We all do it, but we need it to be more managed. The Flower of Life installation will be on display from Sep 26Oct 3 as part of Beijing Design Week. For more information, visit www.we-impact.com/flower-of-life
photo: KEVIN CHU
So why is design a crucial part of environmental education? JO: Artists and designers are the barometer of culture. They reflect what’s going on in society. And recently, a lot of them are reflecting on this apocalyptic end of civilization. They’re realizing we can’t live in a finite world and consume indefinitely. Artists are the ones who dream up the big ideas that engineers and accountants actually make happen. They’re people that can imagine what’s beyond the norm, because the norm is not functioning as well as we wish it would.
What are you planning to do?
OUR EDITORS PICK THE BEST OF THE MONTH upload your events at thebeijinger.com/events find all venue info AT THEBEIJINGER.COM/DIRECTORY. please call venues ahead of time to confirm details.
OCT 1 – Las Vegas chart-toppers The Killers finally reach Beijing as part of a world tour promoting their latest album Battle Born. With an enviable back-catalog of arena anthems, it’s sure to be a hot ticket. RMB 380-1,280. 8pm. Beijing MasterCard Center (6828 6386)
4 1. BEIJING TIME CHASE
OCT 19 – Embark on a petrol-fueled scavenger hunt with Beijing Sideways and Bespoke Beijing. Teams of two will travel the city in vintage sidecar motorcycles in the ultimate Beijing road race. RMB 1,050, RMB 850 (Early Bird). 1pm. Bespoke Beijing (email@example.com)
2. LEGACY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH EASTCOLORS
OCT 4 – From Russia with love? Emotions aside, EastColors is rocketing south from Vladivostok straight to Gongti with massive bass lines, fresh dubplate and minimal drum and bass. RMB 100, RMB 70 (before midnight). 10pm. Lantern (135 0134 8785)
3. BEIJING INTERNATIONAL MARATHON
OCT 20 – Runners from around the world will take off from Tian’anmen Square bright and early for the highest-level marathon in China. RMB 660. 8.30am. Contact the Beijing International Marathon Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can watch or participate.
4. BIRD’S NEST CUP
OCT 15 – Confederations Cup winners Brazil bring their samba roadshow to Beijing for a match against an as yet undetermined African opponent (either Zambia or Ghana). RMB 480-2,880. 7.30pm. Beijing National Stadium (8437 2992/3)
5. NBA GLOBAL GAMES 2013
OCT 15 – The Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors come to town for an exhibition clash in preparation for the start of the new NBA season. RMB 200-3,200. 7pm. Beijing MasterCard Center (6828 6386)
don’t miss LIVE GIGS SUEDE
OCT 5 – Britpoppers Suede return to Beijing after reforming in 2010 and off the back of their first album release in over ten years, but those in attendance will likely be there to hear their fine alternative back-catalog. RMB 380-980. 8pm. Beijing Workers’ Gymnasium (6501 6300)
WHAT’S THE STORY? MIDNIGHT GLORY
OCT 1 – Warm up for Suede with a night of Britpop featuring performances from Penicillin, Dirty Little Secret, Thousands of Public and L-Gentlemen. RMB 40, free for ladies. 9.30pm. School (6402 8881)
OCT 27 – German metal titans Kreator descend on Beijing in their 30th year as part of Painkiller Magazine’s 13th birthday celebrations. With support from Fastkill, Suffocated and Bad Mamasan. RMB 600 (VIP), RMB 280, RMB 220 (advance). 7pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS
OCT 17 – Bagpipes with attitude. Drums with a Scottish accent. A blazing rock band and a show so hot it carries its own health warning. RMB 80-630. 7pm. Poly Theatre (6500 1188)
OCT 25 – Finnish metal sextet Amorphis. Their new album, Circle, incorporates folk elements as the former death metal outfit mellow with age. RMB 580 (VIP), RMB 300, RMB 220 (advance). 8pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
A DANGEROUS JOURNEY: P.K. 14 NEW ALBUM RELEASE
OCT 1 – After a five-year hiatus, Beijing’s homegrown rock group P.K. 14 are all set to release their new George Orwell inspired album, 1984. Recorded in the US and mixed in Sweden this new piece is highly anticipated. RMB 100, RMB 60 (advance). 9pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
OCT 10 – A fusion of pop, soul, electro, hip-hop, and French chansons with the music of his Lebanese roots make Maalouf a pioneer of contemporary jazz and a best-seller in France with over 250,000 records sold in the last two years. RMB 200, RMB 150 (advance). 9pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
SKIP & DIE FIRST
OCT 6 – This sensational group which fuses of electronic dance music, tropical bass, ragga, hip hop and everything in between has been taking Europe by storm with their live performances and are now doing the same around the globe. RMB 180 (VIP), RMB 120, RMB 100 (advance). 9pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
OCT 21 – A pioneering group of the extreme metal scene in Poland, the band has been classified as diversely as black metal, death metal and thrash metal. But these East European head bangers don’t like to be labeled. RMB 580 (VIP), RMB 300, RMB 220 (advance). 9pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
4 1. EP RELEASE PARTY: THE DROP VOL.24
OCT 25 – Crown Duels and Ariel Camusso roll up to the hutongs to celebrate Shanghai label OD Group’s new EP. Local players Oshi, ShackUp and Donkey Tonk support in a hedonistic night of dubstep, electro and tropical. RMB 50. 10pm. Dada (183 1108 0818)
2. INN 2013 Annual Charity Social
OCT 18 – Dress smart, casual or stylish and make some new friends. New and seasoned expats can enjoy great food and entertainment while benefiting Beijing Huiling, Starfish Project and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots. RMB 300. 5pm Beijing Marriott Hotel Northeast (5927 8888)
3. HOUSING THE BAR FEATURING JOEY NEGRO
OCT 12 – British DJ and producer Joey Negro joins the Housing the Bar gang for a special edition. The house spinner will be bringing his vast back-catalog of charting tracks. RMB 70. 10pm. The Bar at Migas (5208 6061)
4. PINCHAS ZUKERMAN AND CANADA’S NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE ORCHESTRA
OCT 17 – This is the sound of the world’s smallest violin playing the saddest song. You probably hear that enough, so for something fresh, catch this world-class Canadian violinist lead the orchestra. RMB 180-800. 7.30pm. NCPA Concert Hall (6655-0000)
5. 5TH INTERNATIONAL CHINA SALSA CONGRESS
OCT 3-6 – Fiery dance competitions, including a Salsa party at the Great Wall and international star performances. See chinasalsacongress.com for schedule and tickets. RMB 2,200 (Full Pass). Kerry Hotel (6561 8833)
EVENTS 1. MICROGRAM’S LEAVING PARTY
OCT 2 – If we must bid adieu to DJ Microgram of Goa Productions, let’s do it in psy-style. Celebrate five years of the Beijing psytrance fixture. Considered spending the National Day holiday on a beach in India? Now there’s no reason to leave – Goa Productions is bringing the party to you. RMB 30. 10pm-2am. Dada (183 1108 0818)
2. CRASH & COMPUTE
OCT 4 – Danish electro groovers Crash & Compute return to Beijing. Emil de Waal and Spejderrobot are in China to headline Midi Shanghai, but will make it to Beijing with their unique sound. Free. 9.30pm. Temple (131 6107 0713)
1. Halloween Howdown II
3. HALLOWEEN FOR PETS
4. THE BEIJINGER 12TH ANNIVERSARY ZODIAC PARTY
Oct 31 – Randy Abel Stable do Halloween country style at their annual howdown and this year they will be joined by other local favorites the Confectionaires and The Beijing Dead. Make sure to come dressed your spookiest for prizes. RMB 50. 9pm. Yugong Yishan (8403 7131)
OCT 30 – Fans of excess and oceans take note: the night you can eat all the oysters you could ever imagine is returning to Beijing. Stuff yourself with mollusks, sushi and drinks. RSVP kristen@lumdimsum. RMB 350. 7-10pm. Hatsune, Guanghua Lu (6581 3939)
OCT 31 – Bring your pets trick or treating at ICVS. Free treats will be offered to all pets who attend and even more goodies are available for those who perform tricks. Please don’t dress up your animal, that’s just cruel. Free. 9am. International Center for Veterinary Services (8456 1939)
OCT 17 – Twelve issues per year, 12 years, how best to celebrate? With the 12 zodiac signs, naturally. No matter what your sign, give it all up and party like a Leo with freeflow beer and vodka cocktails (limited). RMB 200, RMB 150 (before Oct 15). 9pm. Spark (5820 7700 ext 866)
2 1. Great Leap Third Anniversary Celebration
OCT 19 – Great Leap makes fun simple. Choose one of two: drink at your leisure or drink competitively. The same price for either all-you-can-drink at your favorite location or to participate in the Karl Long Challenge (drink the full menu of beers, visit both locations, take off your shirt – the men, that is). All day. RMB 300. Great Leap Brewery and Brewpub (186 0192 6120)
2. MAD SCIENTISTS AND MISUNDERSTOOD MONSTERS
OCT 25 – Interpret monsters how you will but make sure to dress the part for this Halloween bash. It will be an exercise in overabundance with drink specials and prizes for best costumes of all sorts. Free. 9pm. The Local (6591 9525)
The 7 Wonders of Beijing by George Ding
That’s why, if I ever go back to the States, I’m bringing Blue Sky Days On a clear day Beijing might just be the best damn city my ayi with me. in the world. There’s nothing like waking up to a bright The Interchange at Huixinxijienankou blue sky and the AQI in the low two-digits. Especially after The Chinese might have built the Great Wall, but modern a rainstorm, the city looks pristine, like it’s been driven urban planners seem unable to build two subway stations on top of each other. The ones that are—like Fuxingmen, through a car wash. When the sky’s blue, all the mundane frustrations of life Hujialou and Haidianhuangzhuang—only have conin the city—getting jostled on the subway, discovering I venient transfers one way. The rest—like Sanyuanqiao, just ate gutter oil—lose their ability to annoy. As long as Dongdan and Guomao—should offer shuttle bus service I can see the sky in its original color, I’ll take all the gutter between platforms. Compared to the Penrose steps of Jianguomen and oil you’ve got. the rat maze that is Xizhimen, the Huixinxijienankou staMcDonald’s 24-Hour Delivery It’s great to know that if I never wanted to leave the tion is nothing less than an architectural miracle. Not to mention, how many letters are in house again and just live in my own Huixinxijienankou? filth, hikikomori-style, surrounded by ESPECIALLY AFTER A Recycling Loads mountains of Big Mac wrappers and RAINSTORM, THE CITY LOOKS It is a breathtaking sight to stumble used ketchup packets, I could. PRISTINE, LIKE IT’S BEEN upon one of these engineering marSure, McDonald’s delivery isn’t DRIVEN THROUGH A CAR WASH. vels: bags of empty plastic bottles on the cheapest service but hey, you’re bundles of polystyrene on a thick drunk and it’s 4 o’clock in the morning and where the hell else are you going to get five cushion of cardboard, all lashed to a puttering trike. It’s what Santa’s sled might look like when he sets out from boxes of McNuggets? the North Pole—if Santa dealt in recyclables. Taobao.com Like an ant lifting 50 times its own weight, these vehiIt’s Amazon, Wal-Mart and Etsy all rolled into one. For those who seriously never want to leave the house: cles carry a gravity-defying burden. Their riders are even McDonald’s has you covered for food—Taobao’s got you more incredible—not only do they make up for an appallcovered for everything else. The amount of crap that is ing lack of recycling awareness and infrastructure; they’ve sold on this site is staggering. But the great thing is: it’s found a way to make some money off it. Bravo. inexpensive crap that can be delivered to your doorstep An Empty Seat at Rush Hour In a city of 20 million, finding an empty seat on public within one to three days. transportation at rush hour is like finding a needle in the Ayis When I find myself surrounded by Big Mac wrappers and Orion Nebula. But sometimes, after a long day of work and faced with a 50-minute commute, the person sitting used ketchup packets, I know just who to call. Indeed, if there’s one reason I’ve stayed in China so in front of you simply gets up. It’s the urban equivalent of long, it’s because I can’t go back to cleaning my own spotting an oasis after days in the desert. And just like an room. Getting my first ayi was like getting my first compu- oasis, it can very well disappear before you get there. But if you do get that seat and you look out the winter—I don’t know how I ever lived without one. Over the years I’ve been blessed with amazing ayis who remind me dow and happen to see a few white clouds over a clear, that my room has a floor and that things can be stacked autumn, azure sky? Well, that might just be as close as and folded instead of dropped in a random location. you ever get to heaven.