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2014/06

RAISING THE BAR THE CHANGING FACE OF BEIJING NIGHTLIFE


Nightlife

云南出版集团公司 云南科技出版社 昆明

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爱见达编著


图书在版编目(CIP)数据 夜生活 = Nightlife : 英文 / 爱见达编著. -- 昆 明 : 云南科技出版社, 2014.5 ISBN 978-7-5416-8102-8 Ⅰ. ①夜⋯ Ⅱ. ①爱⋯ Ⅲ. ①社会生活-概况-北京 市-英文 Ⅳ. ①D671 中国版本图书馆CIP数据核字(2014)第096873号

Managing Editor Paul Ryding Editors Cat Nelson, Jessica Rapp, Kipp Whittaker Production Manager Joey Guo Art Director Susu Luo Intern Erin Strong Contributors Jim Boyce, George Ding, Kyle Mullin, Reed Russell, Steven Schwankert, Iain Shaw, Jonathan White Complimentary copy, not for sale. 部分非卖品,仅限赠阅

责任编辑:刘康 胡凤丽 罗璇 责任校对:叶水金 责任印制:翟苑 云南出版集团公司 云南科技出版社出版发行 昆明市环城西路609号云南新闻出版大楼 邮政编码:650034 北京华联印刷有限公司印刷 开本:787mm X 1092mm 1/16 印张:5

字数:30千字

2014年5月第一版

2014年5月第一次印刷

定价:RMB15.00

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CITY SCENE COVER FEATURE Food & Drink

Go

MEET EVENTS PEKING MAN NEXT MONTH: FILM BEIJING

What’s Happening: The most important dates this month Stat: Charting the results of Reader Bar & Club Awards winners over the last three years Going Underground: Shichahai, Line 8 Scene & Heard: Go on, take a look at yourselves, you beautiful people A selection of Beijing barfolk embark on an unforgettable journey of discovery as they broaden their horizons on a local bar crawl. What’s New: Via Roma, Tetsu and Kotetsu, Cafe de Sofa, Ippudo, Jenny’s Hidden Cellar, La Pizza Italian Buffet, Beer Keg, Shang Bar, Mado Bar Dining Feature: A closer look at the bar food of this year’s “Best Bar Food” category RBCA winners Just Desserts: Rum Brownie, Cu Ju Last Orders: Richard Liu, Founder, Canadian Alumni Network & Canadians in China Back For More: Mio Alleyway Gourmet: Kylin Private Kitchen Dining Q&A: Wayne Wang, The Rug Wokipedia: X is for … xigua, xiangcai, xifan and xia Taste Test: Soda mixers Drinks Feature: Learning more about what’s on offer from the local craft brewers for this year’s Craft Brewing Festival Iron Bartender: Three city bartenders are challenged to create something drinkable from something unthinkable Made in China: Beijing-Brewed Cider … plus what we’ve loved eating this month What’s New Venues: Chichi & Roro, Middle Kingdom Fitness Inspect a Gadget: Caffeine Contraptions Feature: Beijing Music Day Page Turners: Fields of White, Sheng Keyi Get the Look: Steel Spring Feature: Us-Them Photo Exhibition Feature: Sifan Shao, S.T.A.R.S. Get Out: Shanghai A Drink With: Dale Irons Bookshelf: Daphne Mallet Playlist: Philipp Grefer Screentime: Jim Nobles What you shouldn’t miss this month George provides tips on how to defeat the mosquitoes this season

JULY EVENTS DEADLINE JUNE 9 3

This month’s cover features Rich Akers, Marketing Ninja of Gung Ho! Pizza, Lush and general lad about town. It was shot by Moxue Zhang Photography.

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A Publication of

全国广告总代理: 深度体验国际广告(北京)有限公司 北京广告代理: 北京爱见达广告有限公司 地址: 北京市朝阳区关东店北街核桃园30号孚兴写字楼B座6层 邮政编码: 100020 电话: 5779 8877 Advertising Hotline/广告热线: 5941 0368 /69 /72 /77 /78 /79 6th Floor,Tower B, Fuxing Office Building 30 Hetaoyuan, Guandongdian North Street Chaoyang Distric, Beijing 100020 General Manager Michael Wester Operations Director Toni Ma Executive Editor Steven Schwankert Production Manager Joey Guo Art Director Susu Luo Designer Micky Pan Marketing Manager Shana Zhang Event and Brand Manager Victoria Yang Distribution Coordinator Cao Yue Company Culture and Communications Officer Tobal Loyola Company Culture and Recruitment Executive Siyu He Accountant Judy Zhao Cashier Mengya Liu HR & Admin Executive Cathy Wang HR & Admin Assistant Cao Zheng Chief Technical Officer Badr Benjelloun IT Support Yan Wen, Arvi Lefevre Web Editor Tom Arnstein Photographers Mitchell Pe Masilun, Sui, Ken, Jamie Gu Sales Manager Ivy Wang Sales Supporting Manager Anna Rudashko Sales Account Executives Maggie Zhang, Sheena Hu, Amy Sun, Winter Liu, Sasha Zhang, Emma Xu Sales Trainee Wendy Lv Sales Team Co-ordinator Luo Yi Sales Assistant Tang Ao General inquiries: 5779 8877 Editorial inquiries: editor@thebeijinger.com Event listing submissions: listings@thebeijinger.com Sales inquiries: sales@truerun.com Marketing inquiries: marketing@truerun.com Distribution inquiries: distribution@truerun.com

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The most important dates this month

WHAT’S HAPPENING JUN 6-7

BEIJING CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL Get ready for a weekend of beer sampling as the national craft brew scene descends on Beijing. Now in its third year, make sure to drop by as these China-based brewers show off their most interesting and innovative flavors.

JUN 14 DAZEFEAST Now in its fourth and final year, this classic Beijing happening will be one for the history books, with more music, more capoeira, and last but not least, more lamb. Who can say no to lamb?

JUN 18 IAM These French hip-hop legends are hitting up Yugong Yishan in June. As one of the first hip-hop groups in France, they have paved the way for others and continue to define the genre.

JUN 28 AKON After his January cancellation, it’s time for all the bad boys and girls to step into the danger zone as Akon drops into Workers Stadium to shake some bodies like only he knows how to do.

Visit www.thebeijinger.com for even more events and details.

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For more events, see p73.

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Start as you mean to go on

CITY SCENE SHICHAHAI // BEST OF THE BLOG // SCENE & HEARD

ALL CHANGE?

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE READER BAR & CLUB AWARDS RESULTS Bar Migas Mao Mao Chong Great Leap Brewing Apothecary First Floor Xiu Lush Spark Blue Frog 4corners Centro Plan B The Brick We tallied the final results of the last three years of Reader Bar & Club Awards voting to see just how changeable our voters are. During that period, Migas has been a firm favorite,

2012

2013

2014

TOTAL

5 8 2 5 6 6

10 4 8 5 6 5

7 5 6 4 1 2

22 21 16 14 13 13

4 3 4 n/a 1 n/a n/a

7 5 4 5 3 4 3

1 2 1 3 4 4 5

12 10 9 8 8 8 8

coming out marginally in front of Mao Mao Chong in recent years. Bars at the foot of the table are creeping up slowly, having only been eligible since 2013. How different might this table look next year?

PEKING PICS

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photos: Courtesy of WIKTORIA WOJCIECHOWSKA

June’s Peking Pics were selected from an exhibition entitled Short Flashes at Lao Beijing Zhizi restaurant until June 10.


Letter from an Editor

H

ere we are again: our annual ode to the louts, connoisseurs and debauchees of Beijing. My soft spot for the yearly Bars and Clubs issue doesn’t stem only from my high regard for the carousers of the capital. No, it thrills me to gauge how the city is developing through the results of our Reader Bar & Club Awards. I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a city by the state of its nightlife. It’s a theory that has shaped parts of my life. For instance, it’s how I chose where to attend university (I chose the grand old cathedral city of Lincoln, not for it’s fascinating history or picturesque setting, but because it was home to the biggest Jumping Jacks in the north of England). It’s the reason why I know the party resort of Mallorca like the back of my hand after five years summering there with the charming folks of Club 18-30. It’s even the reason I live in Beijing: The best nightclub in Tianjin paled in a grotty insignificance when held up against the dazzling lights of Gongti on my maiden visit to the capital. Our awards season is also a good indicator on the state of you. From looking at the results, we can better understand what it is you like, what you don’t care for, what type of party you dig, how you like your quiz nights, even what you enjoy eating at the pub. So where do we stand in 2014? Well, you’re still a fickle bunch. Capricious to the core, you regularly change your mind about how you like your nightlife. First, you loved First Floor. Boy, did you love First Floor. You were smitten with it. Now you seem embarrassed to ever have known it at all. Then you became discerning all of a sudden and would only take a drink if it was crafty enough. Later you showed again that you’d drink pretty much anywhere so long as it was cheap, even under a crumbling curbside facade. And now you’re all speakeasy cool with your cigars and your hidden entrances. But throughout the flip-flopping, you’ve always loved getting down on a smoggy rooftop in the thick of Sanlitun. Your tastes are changing and that’s okay. Because Beijing continually bends to your will. Long may your caprice continue. Thanks for voting.

Paul Ryding Managing Editor

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best of the blog Every month we tally the hits from thebeijinger.com and bring you the top five most viewed blogs.

1. OVER 60 MODELS ARRESTED IN BEIJING POLICE VISA STING A visa sting in the guise of a casting call led to the detention of a gaggle of foreign models who were allegedly without proper working visas. The casting call was held at Chinese agency M3 in Jianwai Soho, according to The Business Model, which said that as many as 60 models were in custody and faced fines or possible deportation.

For these stories and more, check out thebeijinger.com/blog

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5. BEIJING DANCER PARALYZED AT ‘08 OLYMPICS MAKES RETURN TO STAGE Liu Yan was set to dazzle the world at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but a fall during rehearsal left her paralyzed from the waist down. On May 15, she returned to the stage for the first time for the world premiere of The Read Thread at the Poly Theatre as part of this summer’s Croisements Festival which runs through July 10.

photos: Courtesy of pichost.me, china radio international, alanpaul.net, new york daily news

3. FAN BINGBING LEADS FORBES’ LIST OF CHINA’S TEN MOST POWERFUL CELEBS The China edition of the business biweekly released its list of China’s 10 Most Powerful Celebrities last month. Topping the list was Fan Bingbing who pulled in an estimated RMB 122 million in 2013, mostly from endorsements of cosmetics and other beauty products. Other celebs in the top ten include Andy Lau, Jay Chou, and Li Na.

4. NEW DELHI TOPS BEIJING AS MOST POLLUTED CITY The World Health Organization (WHO) officially designated New Delhi as the city with the world’s worst air pollution. However, the Beijing air quality data was from 2010 whereas India’s data was from 2012 according to Reuters. While some countries set standards for PM 2.5 particulate matter levels, including China, the WHO says there is no safe level for PM 2.5.

2. BIRD FLU SUSPECTED AS 20,000 DUCKS DROP DEAD IN BEIJING SUBURB Thousands of ducks on poultry farms in suburban Beijing died mysteriously sparking fears they may have contracted bird flu. One farmer claimed to have lost 7,200 ducks on his farm. In an attempt to save his ducks, another farmer claimed to have tried 30 different medicines, all to no avail.


going underground

SHICHAHAI, LINE 8 Shichahai station, located just a stone’s throw from Houhai, is a sparkling new addition to the subway map, having been opened in late December last year. With the exception of East Shore Jazz Club and 4corners, the streets and hutong alleys that surround the great lake are mainly made up

of unimpressive storefronts and irritating bars and restaurants. This month, we focus on some of the less talked about, but essential spots in the area, for those of you that think you know everything about the neighborhood. Hopefully, you’ll find there’s more to the area than you thought.

Shichahai 什刹海

Race Get over to the Jinfan Water Sports Club at 81A Houhai Xiyan. This northern end of the lake is where Beijing’s dragon boat teams are gearing up for the Duanwu Festival on June 2. Every Sunday at 4pm and every Thursday at 7.30pm, Jinfan offers the chance to go out and get wet with other paddle enthusiasts under the guidance of coach He Ming. Following practice, hang out on their furnished dock and throw back a couple of cold ones lakeside with your new crewmates.

Dine Kao Rou Ji, at 14 Qianhai Dongyan, has been servicing Beijing since 1848. This historical restaurant specializes in dubo sheep, which is thinly sliced barbecued lamb (RMB 198) served on a small hot plate and flavored with onions and cilantro. It’s a pretty simple dish, but super fresh and delicious, which explains why this restaurant has been frequented by the rich and famous from around the world for over a century. We recommend renting a boat and dining on the lake if you’re looking for a romantic alternative to your conventional restaurant experience.

photoS: Kipp Whittaker

Shop The surrounding one-stop shopping ground isn’t exactly a secret, but it’s an essential place to visit if you are in the process of building your nest in Beijing. Conveniently located south of Shichahai Station at 158 Dianmen Waidajie is Tianyi Market – keep an eye out for the statue of Santa Claus on the roof. As well as everything you could possibly need for your kitchen and bathroom, they stock various electronics, exercise equipment, and festive Christmas decorations to deck the halls when that time comes around. Only a minimal amount of haggling is required.

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SCENE & HEARD

2014 READER BAR & CLUB AWARDS PARTY “Brazil Nuts” was the theme for this year’s the Beijinger Reader Bar & Club Awards party on May 18. The bash was held at Galaxy Soho as attendees witnessed the crowning of this year’s kings and queens of Beijing nightlife. Photos by Ken, Mitchell Pe Masilun, Sui and Ricky Zhang.

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SCENE & HEARD

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LEGENDS OF SIX BAR SCENESTERS EXPAND THEIR HORIZONS

photos: KEN photoS: ken

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THE CRAWL

W

e all have a great time exploring Beijing nightlife when we first arrive. For the first month or two, every weekend seems like a never-ending carousel of different bars, crowds and drinks, all so new, so thrilling. Then curiosity gives way to habit. Before you know it, you and your friends have spent three months drinking the same drink, in the same, solitary watering hole. If that sounds like you, this is our challenge: Get out of your comfort zone. Now. For your inspiration,

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we asked six venue owners and bartenders to choose a bar with a completely different style to their own. (Escaping the rut is that much harder when the bar you spend your weekends in is also your workplace.) Then, they had to choose a drink from that bar. Six people, six bars, six drinks: We had a bar crawl on our hands. The only sensible thing to do was to round up our sextet of bar faces for an afternoon of discovery, delight and debauchery. This, as you’ll find out across the following pages, is exactly what we did.

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MICROBREWERY The Bar: Slow Boat Taproom The Drink: Sea Anchor Imperial Vanilla Stout (RMB 55) Chosen by: Lulu Li,Q Bar Who? With a solid stint at Q Bar to her name, Lulu knows her way around a martini, Manhattan or mojito.

Why this drink? “I like sweeter flavors, things that have more of a feminine touch. Although this is a dark beer, the vanilla appeals to me. It’s not too heavy.”

Why this bar? “I’m not much of a beer drinker, so Slow Boat was an interesting choice. It’s really different to what I’m used to.”

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SPEAKEASY The Bar: Hidden House The Drink: Silver Gin Fizz (gin, elderflower syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, soda water, egg white, RMB 65) Chosen by: Chen Qinqin, Cu Ju

Why this drink? “Interesting ingredients, especially the egg white. I like how that changes it. It’s really refreshing.”

Why this bar? “They have a good selection of cocktails. A lot of classics, but also creative combinations I’ve never tried before. It’s a comfortable place to hang out with friends.”

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Who? Qinqin can be found manning Cu Ju’s bar through hectic nights (or mornings, depending what sport is on).


COCKTAIL LOUNGE The Bar: Iori The Drink: Manhattan (RMB 120) Chosen by: Richard Ammerman, Jing A

Who? If you drink around The Big Smoke, home to Jing A’s brewing operation, you’ve probably seen Ammerman zipping around in the little three-wheeler the craft beer upstarts call the “Keg Egg.”

Why this drink? “The Manhattan is my usual drink and one of the few cocktails I know how to make well. It’s a good drink for measuring up a bar: the quality of their ingredients, their attention to detail.”

Why this bar? “It’s near our brewery, but has a completely different atmosphere – quiet and relaxing. It’s like drinking at home, but with infinitely more choices and a far more experienced bartender!”

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SPORTS BAR

The Bar: The Local The Drink: Magners (RMB 60) Chosen by: Jeff Ji, Mai Bar/Parlor

Why this bar? “The Local is a great place to be – good location, good selection of beer.”

Why this drink? “Magners is a good afternoon drink – especially if you’re planning to keep drinking! And people like cider because it’s fruity and fizzy, and doesn’t make you feel bloated. It makes you feel good in a similar way to champagne.”

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Who? Rarely seen without his bow tie, this mixology maestro is more likely to be seen chipping a block of ice into a ball than watching a ball game.


BOTTLE BAR

Who? As the face of classy Ink Club, Ivan’s bottle of choice is usually whiskey rather than a craft brew.

The Bar: Trouble Bar The Drink: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (RMB 60) Chosen by: Ivan Maksimovic, Ink Club

Why this drink? “I look for unique things. Something that’s hard to find elsewhere. Brick (Trouble Bar’s owner) is the only person in Beijing importing this beer.”

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Why this bar? “I was going for a pizza in Gung Ho! and saw this place. I stopped in and liked the selection of beers.”


BISTRO BAR The Bar: Migas The Drink: Gin and tonic with orange peel and cinnamon syrup (RMB 55) Chosen by: Rich Akers, Lush/Gung Ho! Pizza

Why this bar? “Migas feels like the eye of the needle in Beijing. That’s why I love it. Everyone comes through here at some point, no matter who they are or what they’re into. Then they go off and do their own thing.”

Why this drink? “It’s the nicest gin and tonic in town. The perfect summer drink.”

“7.14pm. Goodnight Beijing.”

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Who? Which came first: nightlife in Wudaokou or Rich Akers? If anyone claims to remember, they’re probably lying.


2014 READER BAR & CLUB AWARDS RESULTS BEST AFTER-HOURS BAR/CLUB (Tie) Temple Bar (Tie) The Den Outstanding Dada Cafe de la Poste BEST FOR DAYTIME DRINKING Great Leap Original No. 6 Location Outstanding First Floor Drum and Bell Alba Cafe BEST FOR STUDENTS Lush Outstanding Heaven Supermarket Propaganda BEST HOTEL BAR Centro, Kerry Hotel Beijing Outstanding Xian Bar, East Beijing Hotel Mesh, The Opposite House BEST JAPANESE BAR Ichikura Outstanding Glen Classic Mokihi BEST FOR BUSINESS Centro, Kerry Hotel Beijing

Outstanding Atmosphere, China World Summit Wing Janes & Hooch BEST SPORTS BAR Paddy O’Shea’s Outstanding Cu Ju Plan B BEST FESTIVAL Strawberry Music Festival Outstanding Great Wall Music Festival JUE Festival PARTY OF THE YEAR Second Annual Beijing Craft Beer Festival Outstanding Chi Fan for Charity The Color Run 2013 BEST HAPPY HOUR Blue Frog Outstanding The Local Centro, Kerry Hotel Beijing BEST REGULAR BAR EVENT The Bookworm Quiz Night Outstanding The Brick Quiz Night Xiu Ladies’ Night

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BEST REGULAR CLUB NIGHT Funk Fever Outstanding Factory Dim Sum Disco BEST DECOR Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Outstanding Janes & Hooch d lounge BEST ROOFTOP The Bar at Migas Outstanding Q Bar Drum and Bell BEST VIEW Atmosphere, China World Summit Wing Outstanding Capital M The Bar at Migas BEST HUTONG BAR Slow Boat Brewery Taproom Outstanding Modernista Mao Mao Chong BEST TERRACE/ COURTYARD Great Leap Original No. 6 Location Outstanding The Big Smoke Bistro 4corners

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BEST INDIVIDUAL COCKTAIL Mala Mule, Mao Mao Chong Outstanding Earl Grey Collins, Janes & Hooch Dark and Old Fashioned, Apothecary BEST FOR WINE Enoterra Outstanding Pinotage Cafe de la Poste BEST COCKTAILS Apothecary Outstanding Janes & Hooch Mao Mao Chong BEST FOR WHISKEY Ichikura Outstanding Apothecary Amilal BEST BEER SELECTION Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Outstanding Heaven Supermarket Beer Mania BEST LOCAL CRAFT BREWERY Great Leap Brewing Outstanding 京A


Slow Boat Brewery MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE The Bar at Migas Outstanding Xiu, Park Hyatt Beijing Spark PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Dave Bob Gaspar, The Brick Outstanding Badr Benjelloun, Cu Ju Carl Setzer, Great Leap Brewing FRIENDLIEST BAR/ CROWD Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Outstanding The Brick The Local BEST PLACE TO BRING A DATE Apothecary Outstanding Janes & Hooch Q Bar BEST PLACE TO FIND A DATE

The Bar at Migas Outstanding Maggie’s Destination BEST CBD Centro, Kerry Hotel Beijing Outstanding Atmosphere, China World Summit Wing Ichikura BEST BAR FOOD Classic Burger, Slow Boat Brewery Taproom Outstanding Beer Battered Fried Chicken, Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Sea Salt Ribs, Plan B BEST GONGTI Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Outstanding The Big Smoke Bistro Vics Lantern BEST GULOU/ NANLUOGUXIANG/ HOUHAI 4corners

Outstanding Mao Mao Chong Modernista BEST SANLITUN The Bar at Migas Outstanding The Local d lounge Revolution BEST LIDO/SHUNYI Xian Bar, East Beijing Hotel Outstanding The Irish Volunteer The Garage BEST SHUANGJING The Brick Outstanding Plan B Main Street Restaurant and Bar BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE Yugong Yishan Outstanding Temple Bar 4corners BEST LOCAL DJ DJ Wordy Outstanding

Bite-Size Buddha BB Deng BEST PLACE FOR DANCING Dada Outstanding The Bar at Migas Destination BEST NEW BAR/CLUB Hidden House Outstanding Ink 8-Bit BEST VALUE The Local Outstanding Mao Mao Chong Revolution BAR OF THE YEAR Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Outstanding The Brick Janes & Hooch NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR Dada Outstanding The Bar at Migas Spark

EDITOR’S PICKS BEST FOR COCKTAILS Mas

Kempinski Hotel Beijing

BEST FOR DANCING Chocolate

BEST NEW CLUB Vivid, Conrad Beijing

BEST FOR WINE Aria, China World Hotel

BEST TERRACE/ COURTYARD Luga’s Villa

BEST CRAFT BEER Paulaner Brauhaus,

BEST DECOR LAN Club

BEST VALUE Eudora Station

Check out the Beijinger website for more on our 2014 Reader Bar & Club Awards.

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Sip, nibble, gulp, chew, guzzle, savor, feast

FOOD & DRINK RAMEN // RUM BROWNIE // SODA MIXERS // BEST BAR FOOD

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PHOTO: COURTESY OF RITZ-CARLTON FINANCIAL STREET

Is indulgence so wrong when everything is so tiny? Treat yourself to a dainty afternoon tea at The Ritz-Carlton Financial Street.


nibbles and sips OPENINGS Chef Brandon Trowbridge, who is behind Nola, will be opening a new venue soon. The small juice bar and coffee shop is located in the China View building at the East Gate of Gongti next to V Plus lounge. The producefocused cafe will serve organic coffee, juices and a selection of salads, sandwiches and main courses. Beijing’s hotel scene is welcoming two new sports bars just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup: Java Terrace in the Beijing Marriott Hotel Northeast and Level One at the Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace. REOPENINGS AND SECOND BRANCHES On Gulou Dongdajie, the much loved Cafe Zarah has finally reopened after a several-month closure for renovations. The space has almost tripled and now includes courtyard and rooftop seating as well as an airy main room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The lines must have gotten too long at hip Sichuan favorite Zhang Mama in Andingmen. The big news around that part of town is the opening of their second branch on Jiaodaokou Nandajie. HAPPENINGS Boutique hotel The Orchid in Gulou has started a new weekend brunch from 10.30am-2.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The a la carte menu features standard Western breakfast fare including Andy’s Craft Sausages, pancakes, egg sandwiches and an RMB 30 special for glasses of sparkling wine. The Bar at Migas is offering a mixology class every Tuesday  where award-winning mixologist, Francesco Angotti, teaches you how to make six classic cocktails. RMB 500 gets you instructions (and you can drink your creations, of course) and the tools you need to recreate them at home. Down two-for-one cocktails at the new happy hour at Cicada Ultralounge from 6-9pm, featuring signature drinks like the P.S. I Love You and Spiced Caipirinha. Flamme has launched their new spring and summer menu and headlining it is a drink yet uncommon for Beijing bars: a DIY cocktail. It boasts rum, pineapple juice, bitters and soda water in beakers and a syringe for RMB 70.

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VIA ROMA

A NEW LOOK FOR THE KEMPINSKI ITALIAN

photos: ken

three flavors spaghetti

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WHAT’S NEW restaurants Daily 11.30am-10.30pm. 1/F, Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, 50 Liangmaqiao Lu (6465 3388 ext. 5707) 花样罗马:朝阳区凯宾斯基饭店亮马桥路50号 50m southeast of Liangmaqiao station (Line 10)

I

f you could only eat one nation’s food for the rest of your life, what would it be? All roads lead to Rome. Italian cuisine is primus inter pares for its unfussy use of the best ingredients and the fact Italians all seem to live a couple of days past forever. Via Roma is a reimagining of The Kempinski’s La Gondola but it’s had more than a much-needed lick of paint. It’s now open all day with an airy, modern space to match. The new look is a breath of fresh air, as is the new service style. Everything but the a la carte dishes is presented via trolleys at the table, providing more of a family restaurant feel than most hotel eateries aspire to. The highlight is the wine trolley, which offers a chance to try several of 100 wines, each served by the glass. Nice touches, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the eating is very good indeed. Chef Francesco’s menu of rich flavors at a matching price point (plus 15%) features the expected classic dishes alongside the delightfully unexpected – wood-fired goose liver pizza (RMB 258). The veal ravioli (RMB 128) is worth the trip on its own. Tender parcels of succulent calf smothered in sage butter will have you grasping for superlatives and bread to mop up the sauce, but perhaps not in that order. It’s no surprise the dish features on the degustation menu (RMB 598). Via Roma’s simple, decadent fare is your new reason to get a personal trainer on speed-dial. Jonathan White Also try: Cepe, Tavola

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WHAT’S NEW restaurants

pan-fried dumplings

TETSU AND KOTETSU A JAPANESE TWOSOME Daily 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-1am. 1/F, Longbao Building, 36 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District (186 1133 2968) 朝阳区麦子店街36龙宝大厦1层 550m southeast of Liangmaqiao station (Line 10)

O

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category containing a smattering of different variations. For summer, a small heap of cold udon with bits of deep-fried tempura batter (RMB 38) will be a welcome deviation from the steaming broth with which we are familiar. Rice with hash, omelet and sausage (RMB 58) recalls memories of a student canteen breakfast in Hong Kong and might have been better skipped. But then, amid a flurry of middling fare, the kitchen surprises with the crispness of the thin batter on the chicken tempura matched with cinnamon notes in a mild curry udon. For more than just noodles, come in the evening when the menu broadens to include yakitori and other grilled dishes. The food does not astound, yet strangely, there is something slightly comforting in this. It is satisfactory and familiar – exactly what you want in a neighborhood joint. Cat Nelson Also try: Suzuki Kitchen, Toriton

june 2014

photo: KEN

n the ground floor of an unremarkable grey office building, a new pair of cozy one-room restaurants, Kotetsu and Tetsu, typifies the unaffected intimacy that separates Beijing’s Japanese from many of the eateries dotting the city. Under a dozen tables to each and with not even a hallway between the facing doors, waitresses with whiskey and sodas in hand shuttle easily between the two. Through the doorway to the left, Kotetsu specializes in motsunabe (RMB 50-128) – an offal-based hot pot, here made of beef intestine, as is most common. More recognizable Japanese fare – teppanyaki and grilled fish, also appears. The lunch menu is limited largely to ramen (RMB 45-58) and curries (RMB 35-58) with a dozen options for toppings such as tonkatsu, chicken, hamburger steak and beef croquettes. Next door on the right, Tetsu goes big – with thick udon noodles in abundance. Hot udon, cold udon, udon in curry, “fusion” udon, and “winter-summer special” udon, each


WHAT’S NEW restaurants

CAFE DE SOFA OUT OF THE HUTONGS, INTO CBD Daily 10am-10pm. 1/F, Bldg E, World City, 8 Jinhui Lu (8590 3098) 沙发咖啡馆:朝阳区金汇路8号世界城商业街E座1楼 600m south of Dongdaqiao station (Line 6)

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his offshoot of the Houhai café has migrated eastward out of the hutongs to brighten the heart of CBD with another much-needed space for kicking back with a book, a laptop, or – if socializing is your jam – a pal. Liquids prevail: 21 kinds of non-alcoholic, noncaffeinated beverages (RMB 26-42), 14 varieties of coffee and espresso drinks (RMB 26-52), nine liquors and simple cocktails (RMB 30-65), and six kinds of beer (RMB 20-40). You won’t be at a loss for hydration – or variation. It’s all here: Vietnamese coffee, starfruit juice, tequila shots and even Nespresso. Cheese milk tea (RMB 32) is intriguing, by reason that it is exactly what the name states. The menu reflects the ownership – Taiwanese and enthusiastic. Lurou fan (braised pork over rice, RMB 36) nods to the traditional Taiwanese part, and much of the rest (sandwiches, pasta, waffles) to the enthusiasm. The kitchen excels with the braised pork – it is salty and fullbodied – while the smoked chicken with cheese sandwich (RMB 52) with its deli meat and processed cheese recalls a ski lodge canteen, which, in some regards, may be a fond memory. Cat Nelson

photo: sui

Also try: The Bookworm, Zuihong Lou

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june 2014


dining feature

Boozehound bites BEIJING’S BEST EATS FOR INEBRIATES by Cat Nelson

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he best defense is a good offense – or so the story goes. We’re not normally aggressive people, but when “offense” means pounding a burger along with your beer, all bets are off. Staving off a hangover was never so delicious. Slow Boat Brewery Taproom took home the gold for

Bar Food in this year’s Reader Bar and Club Awards with The Classic, their take on the timeless cheeseburger. Great Leap Brewpub’s beer-battered fried chicken and Plan B’s Dry Ribs received laurels as well. We can attest to their worthiness, but dove a little further into the winners’ menus for our top picks.

The Fryburger, RMB 50 Slow Boat Brewery Taproom It’s a law of science: putting two great things together makes one better thing. Always. The Fryburger is just that kind of brilliance. A classic cheeseburger gets tricked out with a layer of beer-battered seasoned fries and a smear of spicy house-made sriracha-honey aioli. Slow Boat may have won with The Classic, but trust us, fork over the extra ten kuai and treat yo’ self.

photoS: EP

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Wings, RMB 35 Plan B A pound of wings. Need we say more? Pick your poison from a choice of four variations: Buffalo, honey mustard, Sichuan pepper or Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, served with a smattering of fresh vegetables – because your mother would want you healthy. Go on Wing Wednesdays for the RMB 25 special on the poultry pinions. A pound never felt so light.

Pork Belly Sandwich, RMB 45 Great Leap No. 12 Flagship Brewpub Perfect for marathon drinking or with a lunchtime pint, Great Leap’s pork belly sandwich is a lesson in luxury. Accented with a heap of crispy coleslaw and a spicy aioli, the melt-in-your-mouth pork in a sesame bun has been cooked for six hours and braised in clove, five-spice and a touch of sugar. The trendiest – and most delicious – of all alcohol sponges.

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june 2014


IPPUDO

RAMEN HAS NEVER BEEN THIS GOOD IN BEIJING

photos: courtesy of IPPUDO

akamaru

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june 2014


WHAT’S NEW restaurants Daily 11am-10pm (last order 9.30pm). B23a, B1, Kerry Centre, 1 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District (8529 8771) 一风堂:朝阳区光华路1号嘉里中心地下1层B23a 300m southwest of Jintaixizhao station (Line 10)

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as ever an egg so beautiful? Cross-sectioned and exposed, the creamy, tangerine-orange center –encircled by the purest white – floats atop a dark slick of charred garlic oil. This is the Special Akamaru (RMB 55), a formidable tonkotsu (pork bone) broth cloudy from fat and splashed with a carmine red miso paste, julienned tree ears, chopped scallions, two sheets of seaweed, six slices of pork, and that stunning half of egg on black oil. Ramen should be about extremes and at Ippudo, it is. In time: A broth that takes days to prepare, but noodles plunged in boiling water for 20 seconds, tops. In taste: the complex, layered flavor evoked by a salty broth against the clean simplicity of wheat, salt and water. In texture: the smooth liquid of soup and the firm, chewy pull of the noodle. Eat every other bowl on the menu, and then the classic shiromaru motoaji (RMB 39) will strike you as elegant and understated when your first impressions were: intense, deep and rich. What is really all those things, though, is that sublime akamaru, which elevates the tonkotsu broth into something almost fit for ablutions. If the idea of bathing in pork bone broth bores you, take solace in the options of the Sapporo tradition of miso-based broth or Tokyo’s more modern soy sauce base (shoyu). The ritual of ramen at its finest means extra noodles for the hungry – a practice called “kae-dama” (RMB 3, 80g; RMB 5, 135g) – and toppings galore. Indulge in these, perhaps a concessionary order of chicken wings (RMB 30) and caramel pudding (RMB 16), and don’t fret skipping the rest. Cat Nelson Also try: Wuxin Ramen, Invincible Ramen

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WHAT’S NEW restaurants

spaghetti carbonara

JENNY’S HIDDEN CELLAR Jenny wang's neighbor in shunyi

Daily 10.30am-10.30pm. 2/F, Pinnacle Plaza (next to Jenny Wang), Yuyang Lu, Tianzhu, Shunyi District (8046 2836) 顺义天竺镇榆阳路荣祥广场对面Jenny Wang超市旁边2楼 1km southeast of China International Exhibition Center station (Line 15)

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I was halfway through my confused American “fragrantfried” spring chicken (RMB 68), prepared rotisserie-style and presented with the head still intact, when the chef admitted they actually had no affiliation with their supermarket neighbor. With that cleared up, however, I was able to appraise Jenny’s without my grand, mom and pop diner expectations. Strictly speaking, the place wasn’t so bad. Their house carbonara (RMB 48) was addictively salty and creamy, the homemade bread and butter pudding (RMB 32) had a luscious layer of caramelized sugar crystals, and their waitstaff left me complaint-free. When I saw their plastic to-go bags, printed so boldly and plainly with “Jenny’s” in blue capital letters, I realized that underneath its farcical fanciness, Jenny’s Hidden Cellar can do the basics. A hungry grocery shopper doesn’t need much more than that. Jessica Rapp Also try: Grandma’s Kitchen, Annie’s

june 2014

photo: sui

hat I wouldn’t give for a supermarket café. Imagine if Jingkelong offered a small dinerstyle space where you could snag a freshly made Chinese donut and a cup of green tea, settle atop a silver stool and chitchat with fellow shoppers. There’s something incredibly convenient and sensible about eating at a grocery store. That’s why I was thrilled when a Shunyi resident informed me Jenny Wang’s in Pinnacle Plaza opened a restaurant. I pictured Jenny’s enterprise as being a lively, brightly lit deli with a green interior and shelves of freshly baked bread. It might smell like cake batter and stock organic juices and cream sodas in a buzzing fridge. But Jenny’s Hidden Cellar was dark and dusty. Beams of light over-exposed stuffy, white tablecloths and wine racks through kitschy, white window screens. Its menu, christened with the phrase “Life’s Simple Luxuries” was a familiar one – a grab bag of steaks, pastas and cuisines from around the world.


JUST DESSERTS

CU JU

THE RUM-SOAKED BROWNIE Daily 6pm-late. 28 Xiguan Hutong, Dongcheng District (6407 9782) 东城区细管胡同28号 500m northwest of Zhangzizhonglu station (Line 5)

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photo: mitchell pe masilun

’m no stranger to homemade food, but there are some things that are best consumed from a box. It’s hard to do a righteous cheese dip without a crockpot of Velvetta, for example. Macaroni certainly tastes better when its pasta comes in celestial shapes. And let’s face it – when you’re 12 years old, you can’t party hard without a box of Funfetti cupcake mix. But there’s one treat that, until recently, I thought I couldn’t consume in Beijing unless I whipped together one of those quick, box mixes courtesy of Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker: the brownie. The few made-fromscratch versions I’ve tried around town have proven too dusty, too thick, and frankly, too expensive, so I always have my eggs, oil and mini-marshmallows on hand just in case I get a craving. The First Love at Cu Ju changed all that. I’m selling my tabletop oven. Heck, I’ll even burn

my boxes of Duncan Hines. This brownie is a square of moreish, fudgy perfection whose recipe can only be outdone by itself plus a shot of Cuban rum. But for once, it’s not the alcohol that will have you rolling on the floor. The catalyst is the rich batter of excessive chocolate and butter. This boozy dessert changes lives – just ask Cu Ju owner and rum aficionado Badr Benjelloun. He says it was through this brownie, consumed for the first time at a Thanksgiving dinner in Florida back in 1998, that he first realized his passion for rum. “My friend’s 90-year-old French grandma asked for some rum to go with the brownie, saying it was ‘too dry,’” he says, adding that later, the gran used this excuse again to nab a second helping of her son’s Jamaican gold rum. “I figured if she did it at her age, I wanted some too.” Jessica Rapp

Disclosure: cu ju owner badr benjelloun is cto of true run media

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WHAT’S NEW restaurants

LA PIZZA ITALIAN BUFFET A NEW CONCEPT FROM THE PIZZA SUPERSTARS

Daily 11am-3pm, 5.30-11pm. 4/F, 3.3 Shopping Center, 33 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (5136 5990) 朝阳区三里屯路33号3.3服装大厦4层 1km northwest of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)

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you’ve collected on the fresh-cut bread that’s brought to the table. At the back, soup stations cater to vegetable and seafood palates, though the curse of the buffet befalls this particular item – soups are too cold to stomach. The main of octopus with cherry tomato (RMB 148) was slightly chewy, but kept warm in an ocean of cherry tomato sauce and delivered with a flourish by the attentive, but not overbearing, waitstaff. While a true Italian experience it is not, there is no doubt this value buffet is a cut above the average. Erin Strong Also try: Annie’s Italian Restaurant, Matta

june 2014

photo: mitchell pe masilun

rom the same team behind La Pizza, La Pizza Italian Buffet has redeemed the word “buffet” from the regular association of disappointment. The new venture provides a selection of Western fare guaranteed to please those searching for a taste of the Continent. Purchase one of several main dishes (RMB 148-218) – a steak-heavy menu should entice meat-lovers – and gain access to a large buffet. The spread includes two central tables well-stocked with fresh salads, ham sliced on request, strong Italian cheeses, and various one-bite desserts. You’ll need multiple trips to laden your plate sufficiently. Stack the cheeses, meats, and other cold antipasto


LAST ORDERS

RICHARD LIU

FOUNDER, CANADIAN ALUMNI NETWORK & CANADIANS IN CHINA

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fter 25 years in Beijing, Richard Liu is moving back to his native Canada with his family this summer. He considers tough culinary choices and assembles classics for his final meal in the capital.

skins from Baoyuan Jiaozi; gongbao jiding (宫保鸡丁) from Xiao Wangfu; a variety of dim sums from Tang Palace; juicy racks of barbecue pork by Dickson’s; and traditional Peking duck by Quanjude.

Venue The Great Wall of China. I’ve done so many awesome events at that iconic locale for over two decades. I would invite the restaurants up to host a food pavilion, so why not close with a bang? And of course the Great Wall would offer the best spot to watch a sunset on the last day and hopefully without a hazardous pollution level.

Dessert Simple yet sweet mango pudding with sago (西米露) from Tai Hing Private Kitchen, and bingtang hulu (冰 糖葫芦) from the stall in Qianmen. Entertainment We’ll kick off the evening, literally, with martial artists (male sword and female whip) as the sun sets over a variety of Canadian wines and spirits. I always appreciate traditional Chinese music with the erhu and zither, which would ease us through the dinner. That would be followed by one Peking Opera act from Farewell My Concubine just before dessert. After dessert, a wicked mask changer would perform together with a live female drum performance group. Finally, a spectacular fireworks display closes the evening on an explosive high note. I did say “close with a bang.”

Starters Jianbing guozi (煎饼果子) with youtiao (油条) by the guys who sell from Nanlougu Xiang as they remind me of my good old student days. A Red Lantern Cocktail by Mix at the Four Seasons Hotel kicks off the drinking with a classy touch of erguotou.

Catch one of Richard’s final Beijing softball games. Check beijingsoftball.com for details.

Photo: COURTESY OF RICHARD LIU

Main course China is so vast and it’s cuisine is so varied, so the mains would be a compilation of well-loved dishes, from fresh noodles stretched by a Haidilao noodle entertainer; handmade guoba jiaozi (锅巴饺子) in colorful purple

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BACK FOR MORE

MIO

AN ITALIAN MOTHER’S SON IN THE KITCHEN Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10pm. 3/F, Four Seasons Hotel, 48 Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (5695 8522) 朝阳区亮马桥路48号北京四季酒店3层 200m northeast of Liangmaqiao station (Line 10)

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s age settles in, I’ve increasingly experienced those revelatory moments when I realize I may be becoming my mother. It’s less worrying than fascinating – and were I Marco Calenzo, this would be strictly a blessing. We caught his mother on a working holiday (she’s obliging, too) when she joined her son in his kitchen at the Four Seasons. In Mrs. Calenzo’s hands, food of the home and hearth is remixed and elevated for the dining room table. Four sturdy squash blossoms, breaded and flash-fried, concealed nibs of anchovy so that flowers take on the taste of the sea. The spiny artichoke forgets its thistle heritage when Mrs. Calenzo strips it down to its tender interior, chops the tip blunt and transforms it into something supernatural with caramelized, undulating edges and a soft briny heart. Calenzo honed his skills in Michelin-starred restaurants, but it’s easy to imagine that whether nature or nurture, there’s something in the bloodlines. Classic tastes from the kitchen table are remixed for the dining room one.

In the tonno tonnato (RMB 178, all prices exclusive of 15% service charge), he riffs on a traditional vitello tonnato. A curious avalanche of pale powder slips down the slope of the bowl in an auburn pool of gel and black beads. A brutish slice of seared bluefin tuna dwarfs a tiny, but exquisite veal croquette. Then the first forkful reveals this: the dish of the duo of ocean and pasture. The avalanche mystifyingly melts from frozen flakes back almost into the texture of yellowtail tuna, and the auburn pool unveils itself as a very adult veal consommé jelly. The flavors of the trafila pici (RMB 225) are delicate – long lengths of house-made squid ink pasta, king crab and a subtle carrot coulis – but the colors are almost cartoonish in contrast. Calenzo must be the perfect son – sensitive, tender with a residual boyishness. Of course, a mother knows, nothing would be as delightful without an explosion. A sumptuous pair of langoustine and foie gras (RMB 285) arrives with the evening’s most stunning moment: a gorgeous smattering of 25-year-old balsamic from when a single strawberry quarter hit. Cat Nelson

photo: photo: KEN SUI

banana split

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ALLEYWAY GOURMET

KYLIN PRIVATE KITCHEN GINGER SOUP FOR THE FOREIGN SOUL

Daily 10.30am-2pm, 5.30-11pm. 6 Qilinbei Hutong, Dongcheng District (6407 3516) 麒麟阁私房菜: 东城区麒麟碑胡同6号 550m east of Nanluogu Xiang station (Lines 6 and 8)

photo: sui

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ecently, I stumbled upon an article from April 1990 in the Los Angeles Times titled “How to Buy and Use Ginger Root.” It very endearingly begins: “Formerly available only in Asian markets, this rhizome (a creeping stem that lies under the surface of the soil) today may be purchased in most supermarket produce sections.” Would you believe that there was a time when we were so innocent? The author would have done well in her research to snake her way up the first hutong just east of the Jiaodaokou and Di’anmen intersection to study Kylin Private Kitchen’s “Baby Ginger Food Series” – a name nearly as a remarkable as the dish. Age does transformative things, and the ginger – thick-skinned, gnarled and brown – with which we are most familiar has felt its touch. But here, the purple-tipped and cream-colored rhizome has been harvested young and imparts a gentler taste and texture. What could Baby Ginger Food Series ever teach the

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LA Times? That the best way to instruct your readers on how to use ginger is this: julienne that new, naked subterranean stem and submerge it in stock. Toss in bundles of vermicelli, pockmarked bars of chewy tofu, ribbons of cabbage, chopped red bird’s eye chillies, wood ears and rounds of small green pickled peppers. The outstanding broth is everything at once. Chillies give it heat, Sichuan peppercorns a subtle tingle, pickled peppers a sour pucker, cabbage the depth that every successful soup needs and finally, ginger that extra dimension of zing. It should arrive on the table in a huge tureen in an amount enough for four to six. Give seven choices of protein – three fish (RMB 108-168), chicken (RMB 98), beef (RMB 128), bull frog (RMB 138) or soft-shelled turtle (RMB 288) – and three levels of spiciness. What did Los Angeles really need to know in 1990? This is the best undiscovered soup in China. Cat Nelson

june 2014


Q&A

UNDER THE RUG

WAYNE WANG, OPERATIONs MANAGER, THE RUG by Cat Nelson

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anye Wang has been overseeing The Rug since the beginning and knows the organic restaurant scene inside and out. It’s only a fledging market in Beijing, but The Rug has been one of the forerunners in the movement. Read on for Wayne’s insights on the city’s changing attitudes about eating out and where to buy organic. Where does the inspiration for The Rug’s interior design come from? The inspiration for The Rug Chaoyang Park was to create

a breezy airy area where people could relax while dining out. The whole concept was around “home” or a family getaway cottage with a nice front patio. Since it was our first shop, we needed a space friendly enough that strangers would not hesitate to come in to try.   On the other hand, we gave The Rug Sanlitun much more of an “uptown” theme so that the minute you walk in, you would forget you are in the center of China. Not to mention, it provides much more of a modern, chic environment that blends in with the Sanlitun area.   Since opening the original location of The Rug several years ago, what have you learned about trying to serve organic, local food in Beijing? At first it was tough to earn trust from both ends (organic produce providers and customers), but after three years of not giving up, I think we have learned that the trend of eating out has changed. People are starting to think twice before they pick a restaurant. They now want good food, good value, and also to do a good thing for the earth. What have been the biggest hurdles that you’ve had to jump? How did you do that? Team building is the hardest task we have encountered. We realize that we have to help the team understand why we want to focus on providing organic healthy eating and what the company core values mean to society and should mean to them. We start with weekly sharing and training sessions for our employees. We also invite outside speakers to expand their knowledge. Only when our team grows can we can grow.

Swing by the original homey Rug or the new stylish location for a taste of their newly launched summer menu.

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photo: photo: Joey Guo KEN

What advice would you give to people interested in sourcing local, organic produce in Beijing? Nowadays it is not that difficult to purchase organic products in Beijing. The Beijing Organic Farmers’ Market, where you can buy fresh goods from farmers directly, hosts regular gatherings around town each week. Lohas supermarket is another option.


WOKIPEDIA

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X IS FOR …

… xigua西瓜 China’s ultimate summer snack isn’t native here, hence its designation as being from the West. Served year-round, it is an encounter with watermelon salespeople that often gives foreign visitors their first taste of price-fixing. Dine at any Chinese home in Beijing, and in many restaurants, and the meal will end with sliced watermelon, the seeds being spit on the table or the floor. … xiangcai香菜 Also known as yansui (芫荽), coriander or cilantro is a popular ingredient in Beijing cuisine. Expect to get some along with chopped spring onions on top of the sesame paste that accompanies lamb hotpot (shuan yangrou) or its spicier Sichuanese cousin, Chongqing hotpot. Not native to Beijing or northern China, Xiangcai is thought to have antioxidant properties, although it can also produce allergic reactions in some. … xifan稀饭 Among the delights found in Chinese cuisine, xifan or rice porridge is among the dullest of the dull, and yet a breakfast staple for millions of Chinese. Essentially similar to the usually flavored congee, xifan is the easiest way to reuse leftover rice. Although normally a more wheat-consuming area, it’s quite popular in Henan province. Cooked rice is soaked, then heated in water with the opportunity to add herbs, spices, or small fruit, depending on preference and local custom. Like the rice itself, xifan isn’t the center of a meal, but some people won’t feel like they’ve eaten unless they’ve had it. … xia虾 This one is a simple favorite: shrimp. In China, they tend to be peel-and-eat, but they also find their way into numerous regional cuisines, even in provinces that are landlocked. They appear as part of the flavoring in a lamb hotpot as xiami, literally “shrimp rice,” tiny shrimp so small it feels like they should have been thrown back. Shrimp are now also consumed as xiahua, a shrimp paste. There’s also our favorite xia – the “dragon shrimp,” or longxia, known in English as lobster. But that’s a tale for another letter.

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june 2014


TASTE TEST

GET INTO THE MIX BUBBLY BOOZE BEDFELLOWS by Kipp Whittaker

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ooner or later, you are bound to find yourself at a party with only bottom shelf spirits and the flat end of numerous soft drinks. While vodka is known for being the most versatile of spirits, pairing and

mixing with almost anything, there are carbonated combinations that should be avoided at all costs. We found out what they are so you don’t have to.

Orange Fanta (RMB 3) “Smells drinkable, with a pungent citrus aroma, but in the end it’s very aggressive and artificial. Kind of like Boy George.” “Actually not bad if you don’t care about becoming completely infertile or diabetic.” “It’s super sweet and filling my mouth with an undesirable filmy residue, but it doesn’t taste terrible.”

Jianlibao Vanilla Ice Cream Soda (RMB 4) “A feral cat might be curious enough to give it a try because it’s fairly creamy, but cats and humans alike will suffer the consequences if mixed with vodka.” “This tastes decidedly melamine tainted.” “It’s like washing down a mouthful of foundation powder with a shot of vodka.”

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photo: ken

Peach Fanta (RMB 3) “Like a delicious peach-scented hairspray, I could drink this if it was my only option.” “I wash my vegetables in filtered water and despise most sodas, but this one works with the vodka very well. I might try this one again.” “Still artificial with lots of additives, but a less offensive taste than the others.”


VERDICT The fruitiest of the sodas had a commanding flavor, which, when blended with vodka, resulted in a taste more like medicine, or cleaning product. The best of the bunch was definitely peach Fanta because the taste acted as a decent mask to dull the edge of the spirit. The old standbys, like tonic water or Sprite, are still preferable but next time you find yourself at a house party at 3am surrounded by the half empty detritus of ten different flavored sodas, reach for the Fanta.

+C Lemon Schweppes (RMB 4.5) “A substantial amount of vitamin C, but the flavor resembles a Flintstones vitamin that’s been chewed up and washed down with a swig of vodka.” “Tastes a lot like lemon-flavored Alka-Seltzer thrown into a glass of vodka. That’s some sort of Mad Men hangover cure, I believe.” “Only five additives, but I still feel like my biological clock jumped forward a couple years with this one.”

Green Apple Mirinda (RMB 3) “After adding the vodka, you could probably clean your toilet with it.” “This is better than I expected. A bit like vodka infused with apple Jolly Ranchers.” “I wish there was smoke billowing out from the top. It would look like a witch’s brew.”

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Lizhi (lychee) Zhen Zhen (RMB 4.5) “This tastes like a Pokémon drowned in alcohol, it’s sweet, but bitter, with the taste of cartoon death.” “I reckon this is exactly how effervescent nail polish remover should taste.” “I assumed this would resemble a lychee martini, but it’s more like taking a swig from a Harajuku girl’s perfume.”

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drinks feature

LOCAL BUZZ

BEIJING’S CRAFT BREWERIES CELEBRATE BREAKTHROUGH YEAR AT FESTIVAL by Kyle Mullin

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n the past year, Beijing’s craft brewing scene has gone from enjoying a pleasant little buzz, to reveling in intoxicating success. Veteran brewpubs are undergoing massive expansions, and new breweries are popping up and fermenting rapidly. The trend’s rabid thirst is best satisfied at the annual Beijing Craft Beer Festival, which will be held from June 6-7 at Galaxy Soho. Find out more about some of those providing the suds at the festival.

GREAT LEAP BREWING

Great Leap opened in 2009, long before Beijing’s current craft beer craze had truly taken hold. They spearhead and co-ordinate the annual craft beer festival. Thoughts on this year’s fest: Managing brewer Carl Setzer says: “One of the best things about this festival is how we bring in brands from outside of Beijing that locals might never have had chance to access before.” Their essential suds at this year’s fest: The Hidden General IPA alludes to China’s first feminist icon, Hua Mulan, and the ingredients are equally steeped in Mandarin tradition – from the 100 percent local malt, to the domestic Qingdao flower hops, and flavors stemming from dried Chrysanthemum flowers and green tea.

SLOW BOAT BREWERY

This brewery prides itself on the IPA that is famously beloved in bars across the Western world. This no-nonsense beverage is the meat and potatoes of any true brew master’s recipe book. Slow Boat’s rendition is sturdy enough to satisfy even the fussiest of hopheads. Thoughts on this year’s fest: Slow Boat co-founder Chandler Jurinka says: “We hope that the attendees find favorite beers, as well a host of beers that push their palette in different directions.”  Their essential suds at this year’s fest: Jurinka promises top-secret twists on old faves, adding: “We will be using different ingredients … but we won’t go so far off the rails that drinkers wouldn’t understand that what they are drinking is firstly a beer.”

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JING A

From wasabi to Sichuan peppercorn, this brewery is fearless in its selection of ingredients, while also putting careful thought into uniquely Beijing themed recipes that lures both locals and foreigners. Thoughts on this year’s fest: Co-founder Alex Acker says: “It’s a great chance for Beijing craft fans and newbies alike to get out and try the best locally brewed beer China has to offer. That plus, hands down, it’s one of the best parties of the year!” Their essential suds at this year’s fest: The Airpocalypse Double IPA is appropriately hazy and unfiltered. Upon its debut last month, this drop was sold at a discount that coincided with the day’s AQI pollution index. Never had so many hoped for a smoggy day.

NBEER PUB

Owner and former Beijing Homebrewing Society president Yin Hai ages many of his ales in wine barrels for a mature flavor that proves patience is a virtue. Thoughts on the local brew scene: Yin Hai says Beijing’s brewers are the best in China. “A lot of people really appreciate the local beer here, unlike other cities that admire imports.” Their essential suds at this year’s fest: Their Blueberry Wheat Ale features local organic berries, while their stout is aged in barrels made of local lumber.

PANDA BREW

What started as a shelf-sized hutong brew pub has since made a big buzz with its wheat ale, which won the silver medal at this year’s Shanghai Craft Beer Festival. Panda Brew plans on opening its new brewpub in July. Thoughts on the local brew scene: Owner Dinghao Pan says: “We started a little late compared to the Shanghai microbreweries, but we’re growing fast and I think we will lead in China this year or next.“

photo: ken

Their essential suds at this year’s fest: Pan says his wheat beer is the perfect initiation for anyone new to craft brews. “We brewed a recipe and balanced the flavors and aroma so they’re suitable for the Chinese market. The taste is mild and not too bitter but full of flavors and the after-taste is very good.

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TAP INTO FANGJIA HUTONG’S LESSER KNOWN CRAFT 44

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photos: ken

BEER KEG BREW PUB


WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS Daily 6pm-midnight. 65 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District (157 1097 6140) 东城区方家胡同65号 650m southwest of Yonghegong Lama Temple station (Lines 2 and 5)

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like beer. I like it better than sex,” Ming Bo quipped when asked why he started brewing beer. Beer Keg Brew Pub, his love child, may just be the best beer brewing in Beijing. For Bo is a beer scholar, a beer disciple. For The Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops by Stan Hieronymous lays open at page 176 at a chapter called “Alpha Acids and Beta Acids” on one of four tables inside the micro space. He studied under Master Gao, founder of the first China-owned brewery and author of Get Your Own Brew. He is also a perfectionist. “You can’t cut corners and make beer this good,” Adam Gottschalk, an alcohol importer, explains over a Hoppy Amber (30 RMB). And it is indeed hoppy, unusual for an amber ale, but this doesn’t overwhelm the sweet tones of floral malt. The 13 Stout is a little too sweet and sour. Right now, there are six kegs tapped: a lager, four ales, and the stout. The Catbird Ass 90 minute IPA, a nod to Dogfish Head Brewery in the US, was not available on our initial visit, but we returned. Its sharp bite cuts open taste buds, allowing for its full, bitter taste to be realized. Ming Bo says he daydreams about becoming a “true brewer” by studying the art abroad, then returning to start a “real” microbrewery. But Bo: ‘I brew, therefore I am,’ and by that logic, you are a true brewer. I asked him why his regulars are all Chinese. “Nevermind,” he said. “Once foreigners taste my beer, they’ll come back.” Reed Russell Also try: Panda Brew Pub, NBeer Pub

the catbird ass

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WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS

SHANG BAR

SIP CHARMING COCKTAILS IN THIS NEW ROOFTOP POOL Daily 10am-midnight. Emperor Hotel Qianmen, 87 Xianyukou Hutong, Dongcheng District (6701 7790) 东城区鲜鱼胡同口87号 400m west of Qianmen station (Line 2)

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The inspiration for most? You guessed it: Water. In a split decision, we tried the “Water,” a decidedly sweet choice for summer with its transparent mix of Dita Lychee Liqueur and peach vodka. If you like romantic stories, then you may enjoy the Beauty in the Golden House – a twirl of white rum, raspberry syrup and lemon juice dedicated to assumedly shuai Han Dynasty Emperor Wu who begged his mother to help him woo his cousin A’Jiao. Dare we say it, she later became empress. In fact, you could say Shang Bar is suitable for a hot date – the pool is open late and anyone can access it for RMB 258 for three hours. Trying to decide between a dip and Quanjude next time you’re in Qianmen? Ask yourself, what would Wu do? Jessica Rapp Also try: Yun Bar, Purple Jade Country Club

june 2014

photo: ken

eijing’s new Emperor Hotel branch in Qianmen is all about getting wet. The space is thematically saturated with waterfalls and topped with its latest introduction just in time for summer: a rooftop pool. The 84sqm basin is one of the few of its kind in Beijing, set far away from the madness that is Qianmen’s commercial district and hovering above a bed of grey roofs. Tucked underneath the pool are tiny tiles the color of Dreamsicles complemented by a turquoise wall. It’s all part of appropriately named Shang Bar, which services a spacious terrace and an equally hefty array of cocktails, wines and spirits. Shang Bar’s cocktail list was devised under the guidance of the former Ritz Carlton UK Vice President, and we guess he must have loved martinis – sour apple, ginger pineapple, and chocolate are among the options. House cocktails span four pages.


WHAT’S NEW BARS & CLUBS

MADO BAR THE NEW GREEN FAIRY ON THE BLOCK Daily 7pm-3am. 60 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng District (186 1066 0116) 东城区宝钞胡同60号 500m northeast of Shichahai station (Line 8)

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hile Mado has a decent selection of beer, cocktails and daily drink specials, the focus of this joint is the green fairy. I ordered the Reality Absinthe (RMB 60 per 30ml serving) because proprietor Sean Wang said it would be more bang for my buck. After schooling me about its preparation and history, he brought down a treasure from the top shelf: a bottle of Kubler 53 (RMB 100). This absinthe is considered one of the finest in the world, and with a mere sip, the RMB 40 difference between the two selections was obvious. Wang has been personally collecting the boutique spirit for the better part of ten years and boasts an enviable collection. Mado’s breezy roof terrace provides a perfect view of the Drum and Bell towers, while the interior is decorated with the leafy sacraments of Beijing’s counter culture. You’ll also find foosball, music performances on the weekends, and a projector for live sporting events. For those simply seeking hallucinogenic elevation, you won’t find it at Mado. Most absinthes currently in production only contain 35mg of wormwood. It would require seven liters to channel the green fairy from Tom Verlaine’s day, which would be the end of you. Kipp Whittaker

photo: ken

Also try: Modernista, Salud

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IRON Bartender

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hree bar masters. Three “secret” ingredients. One judge. Would Beijing’s cocksure mixologists fumble when faced with an unusual condiment or unfamiliar fruit? Or can they concoct a drink to

impress one tough taster? In the spirit of Iron Chef, we put our bartenders to the test by announcing a secret ingredient, giving them ten minutes to conceive of and create a mix, and finding out just how creative a cocktail can get.

THE CONTESTANTS

ANDY CHEN Capital M Hailing from Hebei Province, Andy began his bartending career about five years ago in a Gongti club after a year in bartending school. In 2012, he joined Capital M, where he can be found whipping up (or sipping up) his specialty, a dry martini. Behind the bar, he’s careful and calculating, but creative. You can bet he’s got the classics mastered, like Capital M’s Mojito, uncommonly flavored with imported limes.

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ZHANG LIN Cafe Zarah Zhang Lin took a six-month break from making cocktails when Cafe Zarah, his seven-year project recently labeled “best cafe in the city” by Bespoke Beijing, closed for renovations. He considers himself a coffee man, but his skills behind the bar suggest otherwise. He has an exciting new drinks list on the way for the expanded Cafe Zarah, which reopened in early May.

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STEPHANIE ROCARD Mao Mao Chong Stephanie founded the hugely successful Mao Mao Chong in 2008, but try to pin her down there for more than a few weeks and you’ll be out of luck. Her drinks expertise is highly sought after and utilized elsewhere in the city, including by those behind new Xingfucun bar, BBC. Find her at her home base leading her new cocktail making class starting this month.

photoS: mitchell pe masilun

ISAIAH LI Frost Isaiah exhibits a certain infectious enthusiasm in his bartending, which may partly be attributed to his young age. The 18year-old practically landed behind the bar counter after finishing school and learned the craft by following his superiors’ recipes down to exact measurements. But he’s already developing spicy, self-propelled skills in a certain area – his claim to fame is the Bloody Mary.

THE JUDGE


Isaiah

Andy

Zhang Lin

SECRET INGREDIENT

ROUND 1

YAKULT

White rum, amaretto, Yakult, sugar syrup, vodka, Thai lime juice

Isaiah

Gin, elderflower syrup, Yakult, lime cordial, white wine

Andy

Vietnamese coffee, Malibu, Yakult, spicy mango syrup

Zhang Lin

Verdict: In proper barista spirit, Zhanglin brewed a nice coffee, but one that completely masked the milky Yakult. Andy’s elderflower syrup was also overplayed, but ultimately contributed to the most balanced and satisfying cocktail. SECRET INGREDIENT

ROUND 2

YANJING BEER

Tomato juice, a few drops of Tabasco, topped up with beer

Isaiah

Campari, Laphroaig (smoky whiskey), chilli vodka, splash of beer, dash of orange bitters, lemon zest

Vodka, grenadine, topped up with beer and the juice of one lime slice

Verdict: Zhanglin’s fruity cocktail may appeal to non-beer drinkers, while Isaiah’s has a spicy, yet balanced kick. However, it was Andy’s smoky pairing that Stephanie declared the winner and a “bold move.”

Andy

Zhang Lin

SECRET INGREDIENT

ROUND 3

KETCHUP

Cointreau, ketchup, chilli vodka, Thai lime juice, sugar syrup

Tequila Blanco, Cointreau, ketchup, salt rim, topped up with ginger beer

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Bombay Gin, vodka, salt rim, ketchup

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Verdict: Isaiah’s cocktail needs to be a bit more sour to attain perfection. Stephanie is reminded of Chinese herbal medicine (in a good way) when sipping on Andy’s winning combination of ginger beer and tomato sauce.


Made in China

HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES? IBREW’S RAPID GROWTH by Jim Boyce

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photo: COURTESY OF Jim Boyce

eijing’s hopping craft beer scene ranks among including two beers and two ciders – an apple and a the city’s top food and drink stories over the past pear. He has also experimented with peach, cherry and decade. It wasn’t long ago that the appearance of blackberry ciders. icy Stella taps or the listing of Rogue Dead Guy Ale in a Fisher’s ciders weigh in at about six percent alcohol handful of bars caused great excitement. and, he stresses, develop aromas and tastes far more than Now we are spoiled, with hundreds of options, and are mass commercial products. see a growing number of people taking the DIY route, with “A cider bottled two weeks ago will look, feel and taste the Beijing Homebrewing Festival contest last December completely different than one aged two or three months,” drawing more than 50 entries. he says. “The younger cider is less tart and less carbonated. But if the beer scene is on a steady The older cider has mellowed but is tart footing, cider is still taking baby steps. like a sparkling apple wine.” “IF THE BEER SCENE IS There are many imported brands, but He also likens what he calls the “craft ON A STEADY FOOTING, beer revolution” in China to what has been few homemade varieties. Brandon Fisher CIDER IS STILL TAKING happening in wine. “What evolved origiof iBrew Homebrew Beers and Ciders is BABY STEPS” among them. nally from wine tasting has captured the His cider success came quickly: he brewing scene. Folks are looking for the joined the Beijing Homebrewing Society in early Octo- bouquet or nose, the body or mouth feel, the overtones ber, finished his first ciders and beers in late November, and undertones and finishing flavor.” and saw both earn third-place spots at the December But at the end of the day, it’s all about enjoyment. contest. “It’s a great way to bring people together,” he says. “I got a lot of good responses and many people are “It sets aside cultural differences and creates interesting very interested in hand-crafted cider,” says Fisher. “It’s not discussions.” your regular commercial cider.” You can try products from IBrew at NBeer Pub and He then launched iBrew over Chinese New Year and 12SQM. production has grown from two initial 20-liter batches to 400 liters per month, and rising, with his portfolio Follow Brandon’s progress at livebeijingmusic.com/ibrew.


p.s. we ate you Every month, we like to shine a spotlight on the most delicious dishes we’ve stumbled upon recently. Eat it up! half rack spare ribs Home Plate BBQ, RMB 150 This succulent flame-charred rack of ribs are barbecued for six hours, then served with cornbread and your choice of two sides. Embrace your Frank Underwood Southern gentleman sensibilities with this fall-off-the-bone delicacy. cheesecake The Other Place, RMB 20 We are inundated with mediocre cheesecake in hutong cafes. This one luckily does not follow that sad trend. There is a creamy and decadent body with a subtle taste of lemon and a thick delicious crust. Get some coffee and enjoy it in their comfortable courtyard. beef and egg porridge Huo Ji, RMB 25 This place is always a go-to joint to set your stomach at ease before hitting up the Gulou party zone. These delicious congees are incredibly satisfying and pair well with one of their southern-style sweet pork buns (cha shao bao, RMB 12). Afterwards, you’ll find yourself in a blissful state and ready to thrash to the techno beat till the wee hours. tomate moutarde tartine Cafe de la Poste, RMB 36 What’s not to like about melted fromage and tomatoes on toasted French bread smeared with mustard? It’s simple and proven to settle your lactose cravings. Though this tartine is a dish you could easily knock up in your college dorm, Cafe de la Poste sources quality ingredients make it a sought-after starter. nang cake with meat Crescent Moon, RMB 48 This sloppy pizza-esque dish from Xinjiang features nang bread stacked with lamb, carrots, onions, and spiced gravy. The meat is piled on with a high concentration of tasty lamb gristle, carbs, and a slightly psychoactive combination of spices.

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Things to do, places to be, stuff to try

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How do you see Beijing? p63

COFFEE // CORE FITNESS // FRENCH THEATER // BEIJING MUSIC DAY

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photo: courtesy of the organizers

Witness top-drawer DJs Armin Van Buuren and Afrojack electrify the crowd while you soak up the splendor of mankind’s greatest fortification on June 1.


Inspect-a-gadget NESPRESSO U This chic coffee maker is designed to let you make espresso at your home or in the workplace with minimum effort. Just add a Nespresso coffee capsule and let the machine take care of the rest. Available in four colors. nespresso.com RMB 1,399

PHOTO: Courtesy of the brands

by Joey Guo

MADAM SOLO Whatever way you choose to fix your coffee – with a filter or al fresco – this chic porcelain coffee pot lets you enjoy freshly brewed coffee in four minutes. evasolo.com RMB 1,190

PRIMADONNA S DE LUXE ECAM 26.455.M Bringing this professional coffee machine home is like bringing a coffee shop to your kitchen. All the classics – espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato and more – are available at the push of a button. Just add beans and leave the rest to the pro. delonghi.com RMB 22,000

UNPLUGGED Simplicity at its best. The straightforward design works sans any sophisticated technology and is easy to clean. It’s an ideal sidekick for the classic caffeine hound, is available in four colors and, best of all, has an affordable price tag. koziol.de RMB 320

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FEATURE

PEKING RHAPSODIE

CAPITAL GETS IN ON FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE FOR THIRD YEAR by Kyle Mullin

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ome music festivals feature amphitheaters, throngs of fans and glitzy stage setups. This is no such event. Attendees of the third Beijing Music Day, or Fête de la Musique, on June 21 will witness a ragtag bunch of folksters and offbeat up and comers. Most of the 30 venues will have intimate, bare bones setups that forgo electro trends in favor of organic rhythms. But make no mistake – this is not a “small” festival. Coordinated in conjunction with the French Embassy, 2013’s Beijing Music Day spanned 36 venues across town, hosting a total of 55 events witnessed by an estimated 8,000 attendees. This year’s event is slightly streamlined but still staggering in scale, featuring popular venues like 2 Kolegas, MAO Livehouse, and Jianghu.

Organizers are inviting cult international artists, including the French experimental troop Mein Sohn William, but the real buzz stems from Beijing’s intricate honeycomb network of avant-garde folk acts, who mix wholesome traditionalism with stinging experimentalism. “This is all about introducing bands that don’t often have the opportunity to play on bigger stages,” says Festival Director Elie Rosenberg, adding that the festival’s sprawling, bohemian nomad vibe will be complimented by a strictly free ticket policy. “There’s no entrance fee, we’re trying to stimulate this underappreciated scene by making the festival as accessible as possible.” Here’s just a sampling of some of the acts confirmed for this year’s outing.

photo: courtesy of the organizers

DONG ZI This Hubei-born acoustic virtuoso strums melodies that are so subtle, they sound like brittle branches cracking in a gentle breeze. Dong Zi is equally tender away from the stage according to music blog BeijingDaze, which says: “He’s been part of just about every charity show there was in Beijing over the past few months,” before declaring Dong Zi to be one of the city’s most criminally underrated acts.

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ZHANG SAN Like a mysterious sci-fi nomad, equally rooted in local and exotic influences, Zhang San (aka gypsy guitar sage Djang San, aka Zhang Si’an or Jean Sebastian, axe wielder for experimental troupe The Amazing Insurance Salesman) is an artist full of fascinating contradictions. According to smartbeijing.com, he has been “supplementing his growing battery of traditional Chinese string and wind instruments with loop pedal layering, synthesized backdrops, and home studio experimentation.”

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FU SHA AND SO ON Rosenberg says he’s most excited to see this folk troupe lead by Guizhouborn vocalist Fu Sha, who has been building a steady underground buzz in Beijing thanks to his eclectic experimentalism. “His music makes very interesting use of an accordion, which gives it a French touch. But his vocals really showcase his Dongzu minority group heritage, which is joyfully expressive.”

Be sure to check beijingmusicday.com regularly for updated listings. june 2014


CHICHI & RORO VINTAGE

HIPSTER HOUNDS AND TIME-HONORED FLAIR

photos: mitchell pe masilun

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WHAT’S NEW Venues & shops Daily 1-10pm. 60 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District (158 1097 5451) 东城区五道营胡同甲60号 500m west of Yonghegong station (Lines 2 and 5)

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first caught up with vintage trailblazer Li Hua and his pooch, Billy, in 2012 while I was on my way to Ikea. The duo was manning a shop behind the Central Academy of Fine Arts campus, next to an art supply store. Their space was stuffed with old clothes, shoes and jewelry, and I managed to snag an armful before I could make it to the meatballs. Now, I’ve found Li again, and this time, it’s in Wudaoying. He’s grown a handlebar mustache, married his girlfriend, and acquired a second pooch – a black French bulldog named Honey. He has also opened his second vintage store, Chichi & Roro. Li is always one step ahead of the trend. Nowhere in Beijing is there such a large collection of antique porcelain dolls – an arguably eerie, childish touch to an otherwise charming store – and darling designer bags sporting labels like Coach, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci. A small section of puffy sleeved dresses, loafers and pill boxes almost go unnoticed next to all that snake skin, macrame, and suede. For the needle-fearing folk who have yet to pierce their lobes, candy-colored clip-on earrings are on offer at RMB 150 a piece. And what retro shop in Beijing these days would be complete without a selection of old fashioned eyewear? It’s priced at RMB 200, a steal compared to most boutiques around town. If you’re wondering how on earth to pull them off, turn to Li, naturally. Don’t be surprised if you find him slurping down a bowl of noodles, sporting large specs, a pair of suspenders and a bolo tie. Jessica Rapp Also try: Delia, Nostalgia Vintage

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WHAT’S NEW Venues & shops

MIDDLE KINGDOM FITNESS

WEIGH IN ON FLEXIBILITY FOCUSSED FITNESS See website for schedule. 129B Guanghua Lu Soho, Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang district (156 5232 6889) www.middlekingdomfitness.com 朝阳区光华路光华路Soho129B号 500m north of Yonganli station (Line 1)

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fter my first class at Middle Kingdom, my arms ached for a week. I shouldn’t have been surprised, as I’ve hardly moved for months. But the introductory session, one of a six-part “Elements” course (RMB 800) that all new members are put through, seemed a gentle enough opener. I felt as if I’d spent an hour listening and asking questions as Middle Kingdom boss and trainer Tim Hill introduced the basic concepts and movements that Middle Kingdom’s fitness classes are founded on. Yet as Hill explains the importance of the “hollow body” for basic strength and posture, he’s also nudging me through a series of squats, pushups and ring rows that are deceptively taxing. By the time I complete the closing fitness test in an unspectacular eight minutes (the Middle Kingdom record for men is under four), I’m exhausted. I’m also aware that I will benefit from coming back for more of this. Middle Kingdom offers drop-in classes for RMB 100, and

various membership plans at reasonable prices. Facilities are modest the gym itself is tiny – but they have all you need to improve your fitness. If you want TVs and running machines, go elsewhere. Hill rejects the “CrossFit” label some have given his gym, but embraces a similar ethos, with classes combining circuit training, gymnastic-style movements, kettlebells and weightlifting. Session two eased me into the latter, helpfully demystifying an art I had thought best left to preening bodybuilders and WWE wrestlers. Rather than muscle for muscle’s sake, Middle Kingdom puts the emphasis on the practical benefits of exercise – greater flexibility, injury prevention, and learning new skills. I’m all for that, but won’t be signing up for the more specialized classes teaching Olympic weightlifting or aerial silks (swinging around on ribbons, circus-style) just yet. Iain Shaw Also try: Prime Gym, Fight Republic

photo: sui

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Page Turners

SHENG KEYI’S FIELDS OF WHITE MAN Asia prize nominee examines life in the big city by Steven Schwankert

photo: courtesy of penguin china

“O

ne February morning, I woke up to something alarming that had happened overnight – the whites of my eyes had grown larger than my irises, tiny black bubbles swimming in a vast white mass. Imagine if you were walking down a narrow street and came face to face with a big dog. It was the sort of look you would see in its eyes. I stared into the mirror for a moment. I pursed my lips and tilted my head as I tried to think of what might have caused this startling change.” That’s the cheery opening to Man Asia Prize nominee Sheng Keyi’s Fields of White, translated by Shelly Bryant, a new e-book-only offering from Penguin China. In the 1980s, Japan’s salarymen became famous for working themselves to death, drinking and smoking into the small hours after grueling days at work. Today, white collar workers in China face some of the same issues, with baijiu-fueled nights mixed with social pressures and for some, complications they create themselves such as extramarital affairs. Kind of a Bright Lights, Big City for 21st century China, the world of the bailing is Sheng’s canvas for Fields of White. Thirty-one-year-old Wu Zhongdong is the protagonist and victim of the story, making his way with a sales career, a wife, a mistress, a string of bills, and some developing health problems. Fields catches Wu at the moment when it’s clear he’s gone too far. His wife and mistress know about each other, and the client he’s attempting to bed, Duoli, is a rare source of wisdom and guidance in his life. He missed being fired from his job by a single order from her, and he has a tough time getting along with colleagues. It’s packed with bits of contemporary China that readers who have been here for even a year or two will recognize. The story isn’t set in any particularly city, but will certainly resonate with Beijing readers. Fields of White is neither an uplifting nor inspiring read, but it could push salespeople off their career paths. “I should reiterate that we in sales are virtually able to hold our urine in any condition – hot, cold, skinny, fat, drinking spirits, wine or beer. We never worry about kidney disease. In order to survive, we have to sacrifice certain organs – our lungs to smoking, our hearts to drinking

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and our genitals to prostitutes,” Sheng’s Wu says. While the ending seems farfetched, it’s an engaging and quick read, one that may push readers with language skills to want to read the original Chinese version, or to Sheng’s most famous work, Northern Girls. If nothing else, it will make you raise an eyebrow towards your company’s sales department, especially on days when they arrive at the office looking worse for wear.

Fields of White is available now on Amazon.com.

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GET THE LOOK

STEEL SPRING STRONG LOOKS FROM BEIJING'S STYLISH

by Jessica Rapp

MARIO DUYUCHEN Principle M Mario Duyuchen has been with new tailor, made-to-wear menswear and image consultant brand, Principle M, since its start in March 2013, but a few of his friends know he also has his own label brewing. Handy at the sewing machine, Duyuchen makes crafting clothes his relaxing hobby, designing one-of-a-kind dresses and shirts using spontaneously bought leather, wool and cotton.

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photo: mitchell pe masilun

His style: Elegant, classic, and simple His favorite item of clothing: A black or beige Burberry-inspired trench coat because of its versatility Last thing he bought: A casual woolen sweater plucked from Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok What he’s wearing: Double-breasted suit by Principle M, self-designed traditional Chinese shirt with Maostyle collar, 1980s leather shoes by Botega, and socks bought in Japan


FANG FANG Trash & Diamond A pioneer of Beijing’s secondhand scene, Fang Fang prefers sporting the diamonds in the rough as opposed to mainstream labels. Even when it comes to handbags, opting for classic, quality vintage over the poor craftsmanship common in big-name collections. She is currently collecting summery used clothing for her new Wudaokou store.

photo: mitchell pe masilun

Her style: Independent, one-of-a-kind secondhand or vintage pieces, supplemented with red matte lipstick Last place she shopped: Nearly all of Brooklyn’s secondhand shops Guilty pleasure garment: Bags and sunglasses. “Every time I go out, I make sure there is a spare pair of sunglasses in my bag because sometimes I change my mind!” What she’s wearing: Secondhand jacket by Issey Miyake, shirt by her friend’s label, Chaotic Studio, skirt donated to Trash & Diamond, and vintage shoes from Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok

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FEATURE

POLAR PERSPECTIVES PHOTOGRAPHIC VIEWPOINTS oF CONTEMPORARY CHINA by Kipp Whittaker

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bring it to a new audience in Beijing. Eighty images were collected from platforms such as Weibo, Facebook, Flickr, and other photography websites. Through assembling them together, they hoped to create a dialogue about whether Chinese and international photographers possess similar visions of contemporary China, and if not, how these photographers from different countries and cultures arrive at different understandings of a single society.

june 2014

photos: harry kauffman, victor chenovsky, mate, guanzi tian

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a Risong, director of Inter Art Gallery, and actor-cum-photographer Jonathan Kos-Read, have generated an exhibition of internetsourced photography called Us-Them that traverses different views of modern China through the lens of Chinese and international artists. The collection was originally exhibited at the 2013 Pingyao International Photography Festival and due to its overwhelmingly positive reception, Inter Art Center in 798 decided to


MAO

KISS ME LOVE HER

The most interesting and arguably most successful part of the exhibition is the role of the curators in determining what is relevant to the theme of Us-Them. As the photos existed before the concept, we are encouraged to uncover how these photos relate to each other. Their selections provide a unique insight on how East, West, old and new are each converging to develop a chaotic landscape, informed by all the tools of modernity, along with relics that were left behind

LIMING DE HAIZI

and still shape the direction of the future. Ultimately what might seem unusual or foreign to one photographer may appear perfectly natural to another and it’s the responsibility of the observer to determine it these cultural perspectives can be clearly observed through the viewpoints of the selected photographers.

Follow intergallery.cn for upcoming exhibitions curated by Na Risong. TOTENINSEL

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S.T.A.R.S. ON STAGE SIFAN SHAO LIKENS CHINESE DATING SHOW TO FRENCH THEATER

by Jessica Rapp

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photos: KEN and courtesy of S.T.A.R.S.

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hen French-Chinese director Sifan Shao opened Gulou’s hutong boutique, S.T.A.R.S., two years ago, he intended to have theater rehearsal in the basement. Now, his dream has finally been realized, and with the help of costume designer Gigi Peng (Harper’s Bazaar China), he will put on his first French play with Chinese actors, an adaptation of Molière’s Les Precieuses Ridicules called Absolutely Refined. We talked to him about how he made Western classical theater work in Beijing.


FEATURE Why do a classical French play in China? Every time I came to China, all the plays I saw were boring. We have a real problem with a lack of good theater scripts in China. We have old Chinese classics, but many young theater directors like to put on avant garde plays, which are always very black and bland. What do you want people to learn from your play? Les Precieuses Ridicules (The Affected Ladies) is about two sisters who dream about having a refined, noble life. They meet two young men, who are real Parisian nobles, but their style doesn’t mirror what the women think nobles should look like. The ladies are rude to them, so for revenge, the men send their butler to meet them. He’s exaggeratedly dressed like a noble man, and the girls fall in love immediately. In the end, the real noblemen reveal themselves, and the girls are completely humiliated. approach, but the six actors I found are amazing. How can a Chinese audience relate to this? This play reminds me of a very successful TV dating show in China, Fei Cheng Wu Rao. The girls featured in the show are always very well-dressed and well-spoken, but they are unmasked when the man in question doesn’t have a good job. Then it’s impossible to be with him! When they talk about love, it’s just words. It reflects a social trend in China today, where people know how to talk the talk, but what they do doesn’t reflect what they say. Was it challenging to find Chinese actors willing to experiment with this style? I met a lot of actors . Many I met were not open to this new

Where did you get the inspiration for the costumes? I asked Gigi to concentrate on the significant details of 17th century clothing – like the corset ­– and present them in a contemporary way. Maybe people see the costumes and say: “Wow, it’s wonderful! I can wear this today in the street!” like what Vivian Westwood did. Which costume best represents your personality? The golden one! Catch Absolutely Refined at Beijing Pioneer Theater of NTC on June 18-22.

GIGI’S BLING-BLING: THE COSTUMES OF ABSOLUTELY REFINED If there was a way to describe the flashy, bauble-covered noble costumes by stylist Gigi Peng using inspiration from today’s Chinese society, Shao says they would be called “tuhao jin,” a slang term often used to describe China’s nouveau riche, and a word the media recently used to mock products like China’s exclusive gold-colored iPhone 5S.

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GET OUT

SHANGHAI

THE CITY WE HATE TO LOVE by Steven Schwankert

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here was a time when we Beijingers hated Shanghai. We hated its seeming opulence. We poo-pooed its “history” from a mere century or so ago, compared to our long, rich past. We turned up our noses at their “cuisine,” a semblance of creatures that crawled out of the river and onto a dinner plate. But now, Shanghai’s place in the world is undisputed. In 30 years, a Blade Runner-like skyline has risen from the mud flats on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River. It has hotels included on world’s best lists, and currently has more international residents than Beijing. Shanghai is just, well, more civilized. A taxi ride is a pleasant conveyance there. Lines are (more) orderly. Service is certainly better at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It’s not perfect. The winters are freezing and without heat, and their Mandarin isn’t so hot. Prices are much higher there too, but at least now they’re pleasant reminders of a city we’ve grown to like more and more.

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WHERE TO EAT The city’s most famous Shanghainese restaurant is Meilongzhen. Fish, both freshwater and saltwater, are the menu’s focus. Make a reservation, this place is busy and popular. Although she loves Capital M, her Beijing restaurant, we know that M on the Bund is owner Michelle Garnault’s favorite, and we can understand why. Enjoy signature dishes like the slow-cooked lamb and, of course, M’s Pavlova for dessert, as barges and cargo ships sail slowly by.

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photo: sf brit (flickr)

WHAT TO SEE The city’s main attraction is the Bund, an Indian word for waterfront or river bank. Stroll along the promenade at night and gaze on the marvel of Pudong. Take a photo – there may be more buildings by the next time you visit.

WHERE TO STAY The Mandarin Oriental Shanghai has made its mark on the global hotel scene. In May, the property was named on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 Hot List of The Best New Hotels in the World, the only Shanghai hotel so recognized. Superior rooms, many of which have river views, run about RMB 3,500 per night, including breakfast. Le Royal Meridien is a comfortable base for travelers who would prefer to be on the western side of the river in Puxi. It’s a reasonable walk to or from the Bund, and close to People’s Square. Rooms can be had for about RMB 1,288, including breakfast.


Introducing the people who matter "I FOUND HIS STYLE INDIGESTIIBLE AND COULDN'T READ IT" See p69 "GONE ARE THE DARK DAYS OF BOTTLED CIDER OR BOXED WINE" See p68 "THE TERM EDM ALONE IS AN INSULT TO ALL GOOD ELECTRONIC MUSIC" See p70 "faces of death really helped me during a dark time in my life" See p71

MEET

photo: courtesy of the organizers

JIM NOBLES // PHILIPP GREFER // DAPHNE MALLET // DALE IRONS

Witness Justin Timberlake join Chinese megastar Wang Leehom on June 14 at the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium for an evening of booty shaking bliss.

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A Drink With

DALE IRONS OWNER/BARTENDER, 8-BIT

Who would you most like to go out drinking with? Cyndi Lauper. She would just wanna have fun. She also buys the rounds time after time.

my high school chums and rolling those bowls down the turf in the sun. It’s fun to be around the older laid-back locals and spin tales of the past.

How old were you when you started drinking? My father introduced me to the beer and lemonade cocktail, better known as “the shandy,” around the age of 15. As my tolerance grew so did the beer to lemonade ratio. I was growing up one shandy at a time.

What’s your favorite drink? I have a good friend from Romania who regularly travels between his home and Beijing. After visiting his family’s farm he brings back his grandfather’s homemade red wine. I like the way he describes the setting and his grandfather, he’s so passionate about the wine.

Where’s the dumbest place you’ve gone drinking? On a long distance bus in Vietnam. Didn’t really think that one through. The announcement that we would not be stopping for three hours was not at all welcome news.

Where’s your favorite place to go drinking? An unusual one, but that would be at the Mooloolaba Bowls Club in Queensland, Australia, getting together with

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Challenge Dale to a game of Mario Kart at 8-Bit.

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photo: mitchell pe masilun

What’s your idea of a good night out? Spending time with the people I care about. Activities, venues, music – they’re all important, but passing time in good company is what’s most important to me.

Has your favorite drink changed over time? Of course. Gone are the dark teenage days of bottled cider or boxed wine. Dark days. I am still developing my taste palate, a few years ago I could not have enjoyed neat spirits, but I am leaning towards this now. We’re at the bar – what are you having? On a warm day, I would be inclined to go for ice-cold beer or ale. On a cold winter night, I would usually opt for a glass of hot buttered rum or mulled wine. 


BOOKSHELF

DAPHNE MALLET

CURATOR, JIALI GALLERY

I pretend to have read Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, but I never have. It’s a classic French novel. I started several times when I was a teenager and was never able to finish it. I found his style indigestible and could never read further than 50 pages. A book that has changed my life would be The Dragon’s Brush by Fabienne Verdier. This book convinced me to move to China and realize my dream nine years ago. With a master’s degree in Chinese language and civilization, I was interested in understanding more about Chinese society through the prism of contemporary art. The last thing I read was Le Sentiment d’Imposture, an essay by famous French writer Belinda Cannone. She’s going to write the text for an upcoming exhibit catalog.

attitude she learned from her father. The game means finding something to be happy about in every situation. The book I took with me on my most recent trip was Bolivia, Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Pete Good. I went there and tried to understand the country’s background by reading this. It covers the whole of Bolivian history, while concentrating on the last twenty years. If you only ever read one book about China, make it Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China from Jung Chang. It’s a pleasant introduction to Chinese modern history through the life of three women from different generations. I wish I had written Le Parfum by Patrick Süskind. It was amazing how I was able to smell all of the perfumes the author was describing in the novel.

photo: mitchell pe masilun

My favorite book from childhood is Eleanor H. Porter’s Pollyana. My grandmother used to read it to me. It taught me to always be positive. Pollyanna’s Check out the Carlos Sebastiá Solo Exhibition showing at philosophy centers on what she calls “The Glad Game,” an  Jiali Gallery until Jun 21.

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playlist all good electronic music), bubblegum pop and noise music. What was the first record you ever bought? Appetite for Destruction by Guns ‘n’ Roses and Who Do You Think We Are by Deep Purple were my first records. Can you play any instruments? If so, what? I used to play guitar in a punk rock band, had a few piano lessons, and was very proud when I learned circular breathing for playing the didgeridoo. But for the sake of my environment, I’d rather stick to DJing these days. Name a song or record for your time in Beijing? It has to be Nova Heart’s (a Fake Music Media act) Beautiful Boys EP. I guess no other record has influenced my life in Beijing or elsewhere as much as this one. What is your favorite song to wake up to? “The Shape of Punk to Come” by Refused. After that one you are definitely awake.

PHILIPP GREFER CO-FOUNDER, FAKE MUSIC MEDIA

If you could date a music genre, what would it be? I would be quite promiscuous because dating only one genre would be a bit boring. Maybe it’s easier to state which ones I definitely wouldn’t date. They would be brain-numbing EDM (the term EDM alone is an insult to

What song would you want to be played at your funeral? When I was a kid I always thought it should be “The Show Must Go On” by Queen since I was a big Queen fan. Only later I learned that Freddie Mercury wrote that song after he discovered he was HIV-positive. Anyway, while the song is a bit cheesy, it still has a positive and strong message. Whatever happens to me personally, life goes on for those left behind. Fake Music Media is bringing CSS to Beijing. Check out that show at Tango 3F on Jun 28.

PHILIPP’S FIVE SONG PLAYLIST

“One Armed Scissor” by At the Drive-In

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“Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above” by CSS

“I’m Losing My Edge” by LCD Soundsystem

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“Scientist (Body and Soul Remix)” by William Onyeabor

photo: mitchell pe masilun

“Yeah (Crass Version)” by LCD Soundsystem


SCREENTIME

JIM NOBLES

FOUNDER, BEIJING HORROR FILM SOCIETY Have you ever walked out of the movie theater? If so, which scene made you say “I can’t watch any more of this”? Johnny Mnemonic with Keanu Reeves. The “dolphin” scene put me over the top. I avoid any movie with Tom Green, Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler after Little Nicky.

thematic music and a stellar cast. The “breathing” door kept me up for days.

Which character from TV/film would you most like to be? James West from the TV series The Wild, Wild West. He always had great taste and always got the girls.

What’s your favorite sequel? Aliens. I love the Ridley Scott original, but James Cameron did a great job with the sequel.

What line from a movie/TV show do you quote the most? ‘What is best in life?” “To crash your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of the women,” from Conan the Barbarian. What was your favorite movie when you were a child? The Lion in Winter with Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn is still one of my favorite movies.

Are you a rewatcher of films? Why or why not? Yes! Films are my favorite art form and just like listening to a good song over and over, I do the same with film.

What’s the best TV show theme song? Why? The theme from The Rockford Files. Every time I hear it, I want to race down the highway in a sports car at 100 miles an hour. Catch Jim as he hosts the weekly Beijing Horror Film Society screenings, every Monday night at Nanluogu Xiang’s Café 69.

Was there a film/TV show that helped you through a difficult period in your life? After breaking up with a girlfriend, Faces of Death really helped me during that dark time in my life.

photo: mitchell pe masilun

What hangout from a TV show or movie would you like to spend your spare time in? I was a fan of the TV show Magnum, PI and I loved the guest house that Magnum lived in on the beach in Hawaii. Moon base Alpha from Space: 1999 would also have been great. What movie does the most to squander the goodwill that it gained from a great opening? There are two. George Lucas with his Star Wars prequels and Steven Spielberg with the last Indiana Jones film. Add Shia LaBeouf to my list of actors I won’t watch again. What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen? The original Robert Wise 1963 film The Haunting with Julie Harris. It’s black and white, with great cinematography,

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What are you planning to do?

EVENTS

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.

CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy)

JUN 28 – The folks at FakeMusicMedia are pleased to bring you the new rave stylings of CSS. Their unaffectedly fun performances never fail to turn even the most static onlookers into fearless movers and shakers. Be prepared for some seriously steamy grooves that will rip up the Tango 3F and make you shake your tush. RMB 280, RMB 230 (advance). 9pm. Tango 3F (1125 7960)

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EVENTS

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4 1. THE 48 HOUR FILM PROJECT

JUN 6 – This worldwide project starts off with a wild and sleep-deprived weekend, where teams of filmmakers rush against the clock to complete a movie. The works are then shown on the big screen, and winning films have the chance to compete globally and be screened at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Free. 6pm. Meridian Space. (5160 0496)

2. NOISE ARCADE, GUIGUISUISUI, CHARM, THIN GAZE, PARALLEL

JUN 15 – A great lineup of Beijing’s supreme experimentalists. Expect lots of harsh tones and speakers being pushed to their limits. Not for those who believe music is dependent on a three chord progression or a rigid time signature. RMB 40. 9pm. School Bar (6402-8881)

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3. JEWELRY TRUNK SHOW

JUN 1 – Handmade, gemstone, jewelry brand, Amulet by D, features one-of-a-kind pieces from the latest collection. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings are constructed using raw materials personally collected by the designer on travels throughout Asia. Free. 1-4pm. Amulet by D. (No number) by.d@gmail.com.

4. OPERA HOUSE

JUN 14 – Aussie DJs Tigersnake and Ransom are back, and with them is some of the freshest house that has partygoers grooving all over the globe – with a spritz of seasoning from Down Under, of course. Two-for-one mixed drinks until midnight. Free. 10pm. Ink (157 0122 3422)

5. RANDY BARRACUDA

JUN 28 – As one of the originals of the skwee genre, this innovative artist will funk up the dance floor with his sweaty jams. His very left field sound is a little bit soul with a dash of psych, but ultimately very funky and electronic. Expect some support from China’s native skweeheads. RMB 50. 10pm. Dada. (1108 0818)

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don’t miss PUB AND GRUB THE EXPERIMENT #3

JUN 3 – Jing A taps into the chef-pertise of Gordon Kutil at The Big Smoke Bistro to present a special menu paired with a selection of brews and the tapping of their third, secret experiment keg. RSVP required. RMB 300. 7.30pm. The Big Smoke Bistro. (6416 2683)

PADDY’S QUIZ: WORLD CUP SPECIAL

JUN 11 – Paddy’s quiz night will be remixed to commemorate the World Cup. Six rounds of World Cup-related trivia for the football historians, trivia nerds, and the casual fan. Winners get a minute behind the bar pouring their own drinks. Free. 8pm. Paddy O’Shea’s (6415 6389)

THE BREWER’S TABLE

JUN 25 – Join Alex and Kris for a monthly tour of the brewery and guided tasting of all six offerings on tap at Big Smoke, plus a bonus sample of whatever’s fresh in the tanks, all paired with delicious snacks from the restaurant. Space for this event will be limited to 10 firstcome-first-served seats, so email richard@capitalbrewing. com to book your space. RMB 120. 6-8pm. The Big Smoke Bistro (6416 2683)

LA FERIA

JUN 22 – Agua, Fez and Beijing’s first official qualified Flamenco school from Spain Portacones are recreating southern Spain’s famous fiesta. You won’t find bullfighting on Nali Patio roof just yet, but you can expect Spanish drinks, food, music, and, of course, flamenco dancing. RMB 150 (to purchase tickets, call the Protacones school at 136 4128 1842). 6pm. Fez

POOLSIDE BRUNCH PARTY

JUN 1 – Migas teams up with Dienastie sunglasses in a collaboration that celebrates pool season and Dragon Boat Festival in style. Chow down on all-you-can-eat buffet with heaps of paella, fresh salads, and homemade sausages, and wash it down with sumptuous drink specials. Surprise guest DJs will keep the beat. RMB 180. 12pm-Late. The Bar at Migas (5208 6061)

COCKTAIL CLASS

JUN 14 – Learn the tricks of the bartending trade with one of Beijing’s most skilled. Stephanie Rocard of Mao Mao Chong and BBC teaches students how to make four cocktails, and trainees leave class with their own cocktailmaking kit. Maximum six people for each class, so RSVP required. RMB 350. 3-5pm. Mao Mao Chong (138 1035 1522)

THE SANCTUARY SUMMER COURTYARD PARTY & BBQ

JUN 7 – The Other Place hosts a couple house/disco DJs for some open air afternoon tunes and barbecue. Featuring DJs Boflex, Juhstynn, Kaize, and MRG. Free. 3pm. The Other Place (10 6401 3269)

WORLD CUP WEEKEND

JUN 27 – Join the folks over at over at the famous Wudaoying mainstay for a whole day of football and rock ‘n’ roll. There’s nothing better to promote hooliganism than raucous music from the wildest bands in Beijing. Free. TBD. School Bar (6402-8881)

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EVENTS

1 1. BLACK + WHITE MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S PARTY

JUN 7 – From the people who brought you The Bunker party comes China’s first party-in-the-dark concept – an all-black room of hard techno and drum & bass. Next door, house and trance will be pumping in an all-white studio, where acrobats twirl and hang from an eightmeter ceiling. Contact bunkerdirections@gmail.com for more information. RMB 200, RMB 100 (advance). 10pm. Studio below Hujialou Subway Station (186 1196 0890)  

2. ABSOLUTELY REFINED

JUN 18-22 – French-Chinese director Sifan Shao presents an adaptation of Moliere’s famous Les Precieuses Ridicules with the support of the French Embassy. The play is performed in Chinese, but you don’t have to speak the language to appreciate the art in this artistic comedy. RMB 100180, RMB 50 (students). Beijing Pioneer Theatre of NTC (6559 7364)

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3. TOM CRUISE & KATIE HOLMES

JUN 7 – Yes they are named after the prototypical celebrity couple, marred by gossip and weird religion. Maybe this defines their sound, if you add some guitars and a vocalist described as Enya’s evil Chinese twin. They will be supported by Streets Kill Strange Animals and MeToo. RMB 60 (Entrance plus new 7” record). 9pm. XP (6404 9947)

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EVENTS 1. HOT CHIP (DJ SET)

JUN 14 – This UK electronic band needs little introduction. With five hit studio albums and numerous awards, they’ve become one of the most influential bands of the last decade. They recently released a cover of famed Nigerian synth king William Onyeabor, so you may find a dollop of this groovy charm when Hot Chip members Felix Martin and Al Doyle grace the decks on the Migas terrace. RMB 120 (includes one Heineken beer), RMB 80 (advance). 10pm. The Bar at Migas (5208 6061)

2. STARFISH PROJECT POP UP SHOP

JUN 6 – Fair-trade social enterprise jewelry company, Starfish Project, will host a pop-up shop for one night only to give Beijing residents a chance to purchase its fall collection before it officially launches. Starfish Project supports exploited women through the sale of mid-range fashion accessories. Free. 4-10pm. The Bookworm (6586 9507)

3. BAL MASQUE, BEATS AND MASQUERADE

JUN 28 – DJ Adrian Hernandez and DJ Seli’m are blanketing Courtyard 4’s prized dance club with funky house music in this burlesque masquerade party. No need to bring your own mask – those will be provided by a team of French promoters ready to revive the roaring ’20s of Paris. Two-for-one mixed drinks until midnight. Free. 10pm. Ink (157 0122 3422)

4. RELEASE PART II

JUN 13 – Release returns with some of the top names in electronic music, including headliner DJ Vato Gonzales, MC Tjen, and Outsiders (you’ll remember them from the Strawberry Music Festival). Talented local support by BB Deng, Bite-Size Buddha, Oshi, WengWeng, and more. With stunning video shows, live entertainment, and state-of-the-art lasers, this party promises to be the whole package. RMB 100 (early bird), RMB 150 (advance). 9pm. Tango (138 1097 4270)

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EVENTS

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3 1. MAGIC TOUCH

JUN 13 – It’s been a year since Magic Touch last came to the capital, but we are more than ready for a return visit from this amazing house music producer. He’s playing a live set with drum machines and synthesizers, followed by a DJ set so that we can get our rocks off to a full evening of smooth electronic jams. 50 RMB. 10pm. Dada (1108 0818)

3. CRACKER

JUN 28 – This one should resonate well with the generation X American expat crowd as this classic American alt rock was the sound of the ’90s. This show is brought to you by the good folks at Split Works and the US Embassy. RMB 80, RMB 60 (advance). 9pm. MAO Livehouse. (5717 1399)

4. HOUSING LEGENDS: DERRICK CARTER

2. SHADOWPLAY X WAVEFORM

JUN 6 – This Beijing based party/art collective will be combining a great mix of local DJs, including Dim Sum Disco and Ralph Zuckermann, with some of Beijing’s most innovative visual artists, to create a truly engaging spectacle till the early morning. Free. 9pm. Post Mountain MOMA (186 1195 0979)

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JUN 20 – You might remember him from Chicago’s house music wave in the ’90s, but DJ and producer Derrick Carter has been spinning at family parties since he was nine years old. He brings his technical skills and Chicago’s old scene to Beijing for a jumpin’ night of 4/4 beats. RMB 100 (includes one Heineken beer). 10pm. The Bar at Migas (5208 6061)

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EVENTS 1. MUSHROOM FESTIVAL

JUN 14 – Rockland brings you this two-day extravaganza of independent music. Some of the most original bands in Beijing will play for two nights, bringing you a true taste of the local scene, featuring Subs, Mr. Graceless, Chui Wan, and many more. 2pm. 2 Kolegas (6436 8998)

2. SINOTRONICS LABEL NIGHT

JUN 4 – Local experimental record label Sinotronics curates its first event at Dada. Exploring the depth of the Asian electronic music scene, this event will feature international

experimentalist Hashback Hashish from New Delhi, and Beijing based producers FAR/∞, and iimmune. Free. 9pm. Dada (1108 0818)

3. VALENTINO KANZYANI

JUN 13 – Dubbed the founding father of the Slovenian techno scene, Valentino Kanzyani is known from Ibiza to Moscow for busting out house all night on a whopping three decks. Catch him tasking the turntable on the terrace. RMB 70. 10pm. The Bar at Migas (5208 6061)

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PEKING MAN

GEORGE’S GUIDE TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY MOSQUITOES by George Ding

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osquitoes are nature’s most sadistic creation. Quiet and unseen, they subsist by sucking the very lifeblood from others, offering nothing in return but pain and misery. They are the investment bankers of the animal kingdom. Every summer, millions of mosquitoes invade our homes, offices and the bars we frequent, turning al fresco dining into a blood drive. But if you follow these tips, you’ll never have to donate another ounce of hemoglobin to these godless parasites. FEAR THE MOSQUITO Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on earth. If you’re not scared of mosquitoes, think of it this way: every bite is like playing Russian roulette with dengue fever. UNVERIFIABLE FACT! Mosquitoes have killed more humans than humans. Develop a healthy fear of them. Then turn that fear into a phobia. Then turn that phobia into a neurosis. Only then will you have the appropriate reverence for the destructive power of this insect and see them for what they really are: flying malaria syringes.

COVER YOURSELF HEAD TO TOE If you don’t want to constantly touch yourself, no problem. Wear thick garments that shield your flesh. Mosquitoes can’t get you if they can’t pierce your clothing. A burqa and Timberland boots provide the ultimate

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BECOME A MOSQUITO HUNTER Being terrified of mosquitoes is good, but not enough – you have to go on the offensive. Hone your senses until you become a mosquito detecting machine. The uninitiated will swat blindly but a seasoned mosquito hunter is always listening for that telltale buzz. Train until you’ve developed a preternatural instinct to recognize and triangulate faint buzzing sounds. If you can spend ten minutes in a public restroom stall without getting bitten, you are ready. UNDERSTAND THE MOSQUITO MIND To conquer an animal, one must understand it better than it understands itself. Know that mosquitoes can sense chemicals released by specific blood types, which makes people with type O blood the most likely to be bitten. Know that they track prey by detecting carbon dioxide and body temperature. Now you can turn the mosquito against itself, or at least the people around you. DID YOU KNOW? Pregnant women are warmer and exhale more CO2 than average people, making baby showers one of the safest places to be in summer. If your blood type is A or B, make friends with a type O and always have them with you when you go out. If your type O friend starts wearing a burqa, replace them with a pack of type O blood. Play mind games. If you see a mosquito hovering around you, don’t be afraid to offer it an open patch of flesh, luring it in before reducing it to two dimensions. If you follow these guidelines, I guarantee you won’t see any more mosquito bites. In fact, over time, you might even begin to miss them. But that is the price we have to pay to live in a more perfect world, a world without mosquito bites or investment bankers.

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photo: LUIS PRADO (THE NOUN PROJECT)

KEEP MOVING One fatal weakness of mosquitoes is that they can’t land on things that are moving, so always be shifting, dancing or rubbing your hands over the bare parts of your body. If you’re too embarrassed to constantly do this in public, let me remind you that it only takes a second for a mosquito to strike and then you’ve got West Nile virus.

protection. Don’t forget the dishwashing gloves.


the Beijinger June 2014  

Raising the Bar: The Changing Face of Beijing Nightlife