Beijing and Shanghai dining help.

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Marshall Gelb
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#1 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 18th, 2014, 5:38 pm

We will be going to China for the first time this Fall. We will be with my SIL, who was born in Shanghai and lived in Beijing, but we still need some tips from the Berserker family. We will also be in Xi'an and Chengdu. [dance-clap.gif]

Really excited about this one!


Cheers!
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#2 Post by doug johnson » August 19th, 2014, 12:24 pm

In Beijing I always look forward to duck at the Scitech branch of Ya Wang (Duck King restaurant)...awesome duck, just don't expect great ambience or formal service. I also like the baozi at the famous baozi branch right outside the entrance to wang fu jing snack street.

In Chengdu there are some nice spots in Kuan Zhai Xiangzi where you can watch Sichuan opera and feast. Must try dishes there are the shui zhu yu and gong bao ji ding. Also definitely try a Sichuan hot pot restaurant and if you want a true local vibe go for some chuanchuan.
Last edited by doug johnson on August 20th, 2014, 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Post by Mark Y » August 19th, 2014, 1:09 pm

The best duck in Beijing is at Quan Ju De. The best location (there are several) is the one at Qian Men.
You probably should have someone book you a table or risk waiting a while. it's expensive, but it's spectacularly good. Now some will argue other places are 'just as good' but cheaper..
yah there are cheaper places, but no there aren't better places. Quan Ju De isn't QPR. it's just the best there is.. and with a 6:1 exchange rate, you probably don't care that the one time you're in Beijing and having duck, it costs $35 vs $25 elsewhere.

XiAn - go to the muslim street, and eat the street bbq stuff.. it's dirt cheap, but woaaaa ti's good.. drool.. Also you can have a 'dumpling' fest in XiAn as well.. good but the street food is hard to pass up :)

ChengDu - SiChuan hot pot once for sure.. see what 'spicy' really is if you've not had it.
Just know that everything is quite spicy here.. so 'medium' might be too much even.
Enjoy some cold noodles if you're going in the summer time.. it's delish, and cheap

Curious - are you going to Jiu Zhai Gou (Valley)? probably good to go for 2 days depending on time of your/dates you're going to be there.. Fall in Jiu Zhai has lots of people but it's some of the most beautiful scenary you'll see anywhere in the world.

Shanghai - to me Shanghai food is boring, too sweet, and mediocre. The city has nothing except business/finance, and food.. so since i don't like the food, i find the city quite a bore.
If you can day trip to HangZhou (West Lake) and another day to SuZhou (Gardens and cheap trinkets), they're lovely places..

Those are 3 amazing cities and Shanghai. Have a great time.
Y.e.

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#4 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 19th, 2014, 10:16 pm

Mark and Doug; Thank you....nice info!

Great start! flirtysmile

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#5 Post by Paul L i n » August 21st, 2014, 1:16 am

Marshall, I was just in Shanghai last year (check out my FB album for pics) and had a wonderful time, so I am very envious of your upcoming trip. One of my musts whenever I visit is the Din Tai Fung in Xiantiandi. Yes, I know there is one in Arcadia and (now) in Costa Mesa, but these two US locations really do not hold a candle to the one in Shanghai (and of course Taipei). In the same mall, there is also Crystal Jade, which does outstanding hand-pulled noodles and dim sum. I especially recommend their crispy pork belly. For a bit of a spurge and a nice view of the Bund, Mr & Mrs Bund is whimsical and delicious, especially the foie gras with pomelo and the short rib teriyaki. For a cheap but absolutely delicious snack, try Yang's Fried Dumplings. I was not impressed with Table No. 1, however. Even though Jason Atherton is a Gordon Ramsey protege, the food just did not live up to the hype.

Have a great time!

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#6 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 21st, 2014, 11:02 pm

Thanks [thankyou.gif] Paul; Need to talk before I leave.


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#7 Post by Z. Hu » August 21st, 2014, 11:37 pm

Go eat lots of Shen Jianbao in Shanghai! Probably one of my favorite foods.

My family is from Chengdu and besides eating my aunt and uncle's cooking, I love the street foods. .25 for some bao zi or $1 for some delicious noodles.

If you want to try hot pot but don't want the hole in the walls, there's a local chain called tanyoto that's clean and good.

http://travel.cnn.com/most-creative-kit ... gdu-092981

I went to Yu's Family Kitchen in my last visit to Chengdu. The presentation was excellent and if you have a big group, it's pretty cheap per person. Some of the dishes were very good but there were a few misses too.

Have a great time!
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#8 Post by P. Moy » August 23rd, 2014, 8:15 am

Ever since Shanghai was designated as a Special Economic Zone by the Central Government in 1984(?), it has become the premier commercial and financial center of China. Yes, the economic activity in Shanghai is intense, but this city of over 20 million people offers the visitor a plethora of interesting things to do and see that can keep one's interest occupied for weeks. Like any great city, Shanghai is a cultural center - museums, art galleries, temples, music, etc., abound. Take a walk along the historic Bund and you will feel the ghosts of Shanghai's colonial past. If you're in the mood for jazz, check out the old jazz band at the Peace Hotel (go before 9pm). You may even see some musicians who were playing back in the days before the Revolution. In the mood for an unparalleled view of the night skyline? Go to the rooftop bar of the Indigo Hotel, have a cocktail or two, or a bottle of wine, and marvel at the spectacular view of Pudong to the east and Puxi to the west. The lights of Pudong and Puxi turn on at dusk, and by nightfall, you will see all of Shanghai lit up like you've never seen before. Be sure, however, to get to the Indigo Hotel well before 10pm because after that most of the lights of the city are turned off.

A few words about Shanghai cuisine. It is true that the food is characterized by some sweetness, the result of culinary influence by neighboring Wuxi and Suzhou. It is only poor restaurant cooking, however, where the food is marked by an overt sweetness. The glories of Chinese cuisine have always been in the home, and it is here that Shanghai cuisine really shines. My wife's grandmother was from neighboring Ningbo, and her cooking was never sweet, but pleasantly salty, a quality of all Ningbo cooks. As Paul Lin above recommends, I second Din Tai Fung for all manner of dumplings, but especially xiao long bao. Simply wonderful. For a change of pace, try Lost Heaven, where the cooking of Yunnan Province is on display. I spent lots of time in Yunnan Province, and I can say that the kitchen at Lost Heaven does Yunnan cuisine proud.

China is full of parks, and it's no different in Shanghai. Take a stroll through People's Park, and you will see something that can only happen in China. There is a place in the park where match making parents hang up the "resumes" of their sons or daughters. Marshall, assuming you don't read Chinese, have your sister-in-law translate some of these "resumes". Priceless!!!

I wish all of you a great time in China!
Peter Moy

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#9 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 23rd, 2014, 10:14 am

Zhi and Peter: Thank you so much for your detailed information...Very much appreciated. flirtysmile Since photography and food are two of my very favorite pastimes, I fully expect to be overwhelmed with the scope of China. This is a trip I have been looking forward to for a long time and am getting more and more excited as the trip draws near.


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#10 Post by Alan Rath » August 23rd, 2014, 8:15 pm

Luckily you will be traveling with Xiaopei to run interference for you. When I was in Beijing in December, it was like running a gauntlet to deal with all the hustlers who will sidle up and start chatting, particularly around any tourist attractions. All connected to one scam or another. Even I, as suspicious as I am, got taken INSIDE of the Forbidden City by a fake art scam. Not a big deal to me, like $40, but it was bizarre to think that a commercial sting operation is allowed to be set up and run with the obvious approval of whoever manages the City. Enjoy, but be wary, everything about China seems to be a potential scam.
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#11 Post by Paul L i n » August 24th, 2014, 9:18 am

Wow, could you have painted China with a bigger brush? Scam artists are found everywhere. Where there are tourists, there are likely to be scams. So I think your comments apply to all tourist destinations, not just China.

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#12 Post by Mark Y » August 24th, 2014, 9:46 am

Paul L i n wrote:Wow, could you have painted China with a bigger brush? Scam artists are found everywhere. Where there are tourists, there are likely to be scams. So I think your comments apply to all tourist destinations, not just China.
I think scam wise, China is a lot better than places like Turkey/Brazil/India etc..
but Hawkers wise, there aren't many places worse ;)
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#13 Post by doug johnson » August 24th, 2014, 10:44 am

Alan,

If you go to China again and don't want to be bothered by the hustlers, you only need to know 2 words of mandarin: 1) bu, 2) yao.

Put them together, don't even worry about the tone, and repeat as needed. It really works!

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#14 Post by P. Moy » August 24th, 2014, 11:28 am

So, Alan, if everything about China seems to be a potential scam, where else did you get scammed?
And that you got scammed inside the Forbidden City, whose fault was it? As Doug says, your friend in China is "bu yao".
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#15 Post by c fu » August 24th, 2014, 12:27 pm

Mark Y wrote:
Paul L i n wrote:Wow, could you have painted China with a bigger brush? Scam artists are found everywhere. Where there are tourists, there are likely to be scams. So I think your comments apply to all tourist destinations, not just China.
I think scam wise, China is a lot better than places like Turkey/Brazil/India etc..
but Hawkers wise, there aren't many places worse ;)
Bangkok is the worst. White people get taken for scams all day long [snort.gif] [snort.gif] [snort.gif]
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#16 Post by Alan Rath » August 24th, 2014, 12:50 pm

Sorry if some of you are offended by what I wrote. I have traveled extensively around the world over 40 years (though not Asia). No doubt there are scammers everywhere, but in my experience (and I'm sure because the differences in appearance are so obvious), I have never, ever been so bombarded by scam artists as I was in Beijing. Couple that with commercial dealings I've been involved in, leads me to my own conclusion that China has a culture that is steeped in dishonesty and corruption. I don't think that's really saying anything new, is it? Maybe it's unfair to judge by experience in the capitol city, where tourists abound, but I have some similar experiences in other less touristy cities as well.
P. Moy wrote:So, Alan, if everything about China seems to be a potential scam, where else did you get scammed? And that you got scammed inside the Forbidden City, whose fault was it? As Doug says, your friend in China is "bu yao".
Thank you for the phrase to use next time. Whose fault? I guess mine, ultimately, as a naive, trusting American tourist. I assume the Forbidden City is on the order of a U.S. National Park or Monument, no? Owned and controlled by the government. Does it seem reasonable to expect a full fledged art gallery, supposedly selling original drawings by the local art schools, is entirely a scam? I'm not talking about someone set up for the day on the sidewalk, I'm talking about rooms inside a building, plastered with art objects everywhere, official looking staff, cash registers and all. I bought a small hanging for my son's girlfriend, who is Chinese and an artist herself. Wasn't a lot of money, and frankly I still feel like I got my money's worth, but it was nothing more than a scam - with much more expensive art farther back in the room to hook the bigger fish, I'm sure. There is not a chance in hell you would find an operation like this in any major museum or national tourist attraction in the U.S. or Europe. Clearly someone who manages the Forbidden City is allowing this, and I assume profiting from it. Or is it even worse, and the government itself is behind this? Take your pick, it was pretty disturbing to me.
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#17 Post by Mark Y » August 24th, 2014, 1:09 pm

Alan Rath wrote: I'm talking about rooms inside a building, plastered with art objects everywhere, official looking staff, cash registers and all. I bought a small hanging for my son's girlfriend, who is Chinese and an artist herself. Wasn't a lot of money, and frankly I still feel like I got my money's worth, but it was nothing more than a scam - with much more expensive art farther back in the room to hook the bigger fish, I'm sure. There is not a chance in hell you would find an operation like this in any major museum or national tourist attraction in the U.S. or Europe. Clearly someone who manages the Forbidden City is allowing this, and I assume profiting from it. Or is it even worse, and the government itself is behind this? Take your pick, it was pretty disturbing to me.
Hey Alan, just curious (and honestly curious), how is that a scam vs say a scam in Turkey where they take u to a club and basically rob you and force you to pay a ton of $$ for a drink?
I guess to me a 'scam' is where u get your money 'taken' for nothing in return.. what you describe sounds like a heavy tourist premium?
i.e. u pay $40 for a piece of art work that probably some local drew up.. ok but it looks nice yah? did u vastly overpay probably.. but not sure if 'scam' is the word?

Can you describe the scam part b/c i've been inside the forbidden city countless times, admittedly i've never looked to buy anything hahaha. but i'd be curious to be on the look out next time! [wow.gif]

Another example, i go to Egypt, the guide tells me, my meals is $5.. (cheap!) his meal while eating with us is around $0.25. We're eating the same thing.. Is that really a 'scam'? or just tourist premium?

Btw i'm not offended by what you say.. i think China is filled with corruption ;) i'm really just curious b/c i've been so many times and i've never had anyone sell me art!
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#18 Post by Alan Rath » August 24th, 2014, 2:22 pm

Mark, as I read about all the potential scams, the ones you describe are prevalent as well (tea house, club, etc., grossly overcharge, then I assume threaten you with either violence or report to the police to get you to pay). I never got beyond chatting for a while with some lovely young girls out in the open among thousands of other people, so didn't find out what actually happens. The tourist premium you describe is kind of a scam, not sure if your guide was just laying off his cost on your bill, or the real cost was actually 25c. I guess that's just expected everywhere, maybe even here in a way - if you've ever taken a wine tour of any kind through Napa, there's a good chance the guide/driver took you to at least one place where he gets a kickback from purchases you make. I had that happen on a corporate outing sponsored for some customers who were visiting. I could see the hard sell and obvious linkage between the guide and the "winery" (a storefront wine tasting outfit off Healdsburg square that no longer exists). I tried to kick my friends under the table, but when the VP of a large Silicon Valley tech company (who is your boss) falls for it, you keep your mouth shut ;)

The Forbidden City art scam worked like this (for me): I was inside the FC, i.e., inside the paid admission walls. Went through it from south to north, then turned back to get out the front entrance. As I was wandering through the grounds, and attractive young lady found me, started talking (obviously) in near perfect english, then told me about a student art show they were having. I was pretty much done for the day, just trying to kill jet lag, so agreed to look at it for fun. We went through a large wooden door to another courtyard, and then into a decent size art gallery/shop, with stuff plastered on the walls all over. She gave me her pitch about some of the art being done by professionals and teachers, and some of it being done by students, and that sales would contribute to funding the art school. I'm not stupid, and am pretty darn skeptical. Had actually already dealt with a couple of similar pitches outside the FC on the public street. But being located inside the walls seemed to give this a little more authenticity - and this wasn't some popup art stand on the street, like you see in Paris, it was a large, fully equipped room, with tons of stuff up on the walls, clearly not something you could do even overnight. As I said, I bought something that was nice to look at as a Xmas gift for my son's Chinese gf. Overpaid, and it was certainly a print, not an original, now that I understand the scam. So instead of buying an airport souvenir, I bought a Forbidden City souvenir for a few more bucks. Thing is, there were much more expensive pieces in there, and much more sophisticated sales guys (adult, well dressed men) hanging around to up-sell someone who might fall into the trap of believing they were looking at real art.

Couple of web sites that outline the most common scams:
http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china- ... s-beijing/
http://www.chinatravelsavvy.com/advice/scams/

If you look Chinese I assume they would never approach you. Westerners (or any non-Chinese) are the targets.

Different cultures have different expectations, obviously. American culture is very trusting, I'm unusual having spent a lot of time throughout South America bargaining for everything and dealing with that different culture. If you do move here, get ready to see people trying to bargain for products with the Costco cashier ;) Seriously, I've seen it.
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#19 Post by Mark Y » August 24th, 2014, 2:38 pm

Oh fascinating.. i've heard a lot about the 'art school' scam outside forbidden city.. but like you, i've never heard about it INSIDE the walls.. that's quite odd..

And yah his cost is actually 25 cents.. it's not a kickback.. he's got a arabic menu but the number in the price area is the egyptian equivalent of 25 cents. :)
I asked him if i randomly pointed to something on his menu, can i pay his prices? ;)


Alan Rath wrote:Mark, as I read about all the potential scams, the ones you describe are prevalent as well (tea house, club, etc., grossly overcharge, then I assume threaten you with either violence or report to the police to get you to pay). I never got beyond chatting for a while with some lovely young girls out in the open among thousands of other people, so didn't find out what actually happens. The tourist premium you describe is kind of a scam, not sure if your guide was just laying off his cost on your bill, or the real cost was actually 25c. I guess that's just expected everywhere, maybe even here in a way - if you've ever taken a wine tour of any kind through Napa, there's a good chance the guide/driver took you to at least one place where he gets a kickback from purchases you make. I had that happen on a corporate outing sponsored for some customers who were visiting. I could see the hard sell and obvious linkage between the guide and the "winery" (a storefront wine tasting outfit off Healdsburg square that no longer exists). I tried to kick my friends under the table, but when the VP of a large Silicon Valley tech company (who is your boss) falls for it, you keep your mouth shut ;)

The Forbidden City art scam worked like this (for me): I was inside the FC, i.e., inside the paid admission walls. Went through it from south to north, then turned back to get out the front entrance. As I was wandering through the grounds, and attractive young lady found me, started talking (obviously) in near perfect english, then told me about a student art show they were having. I was pretty much done for the day, just trying to kill jet lag, so agreed to look at it for fun. We went through a large wooden door to another courtyard, and then into a decent size art gallery/shop, with stuff plastered on the walls all over. She gave me her pitch about some of the art being done by professionals and teachers, and some of it being done by students, and that sales would contribute to funding the art school. I'm not stupid, and am pretty darn skeptical. Had actually already dealt with a couple of similar pitches outside the FC on the public street. But being located inside the walls seemed to give this a little more authenticity - and this wasn't some popup art stand on the street, like you see in Paris, it was a large, fully equipped room, with tons of stuff up on the walls, clearly not something you could do even overnight. As I said, I bought something that was nice to look at as a Xmas gift for my son's Chinese gf. Overpaid, and it was certainly a print, not an original, now that I understand the scam. So instead of buying an airport souvenir, I bought a Forbidden City souvenir for a few more bucks. Thing is, there were much more expensive pieces in there, and much more sophisticated sales guys (adult, well dressed men) hanging around to up-sell someone who might fall into the trap of believing they were looking at real art.

Couple of web sites that outline the most common scams:
http://www.tour-beijing.com/blog/china- ... s-beijing/
http://www.chinatravelsavvy.com/advice/scams/

If you look Chinese I assume they would never approach you. Westerners (or any non-Chinese) are the targets.

Different cultures have different expectations, obviously. American culture is very trusting, I'm unusual having spent a lot of time throughout South America bargaining for everything and dealing with that different culture. If you do move here, get ready to see people trying to bargain for products with the Costco cashier ;) Seriously, I've seen it.
Y.e.

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#20 Post by c fu » August 25th, 2014, 8:11 am

Lesson learned Alan. If anyone comes up to you speaking English in a non English speaking country, walk away ;)
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#21 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 25th, 2014, 8:32 am

Mark Y wrote:
Paul L i n wrote:Wow, could you have painted China with a bigger brush? Scam artists are found everywhere. Where there are tourists, there are likely to be scams. So I think your comments apply to all tourist destinations, not just China.
I think scam wise, China is a lot better than places like Turkey/Brazil/India etc..
but Hawkers wise, there aren't many places worse ;)
I think scams can happen anywhere and I am not particularly concerned about the practice in China. I have spent time in Turkey and Bangkok and emerged unscathed. [snort.gif] Yes, I will have my charming SIL with me plus, I still have a touch of my "Bronx" attitude [rofl.gif] which always travels with me. As an aside, I was at a concert event with fellow Berserker Barry L. and he made a major point of explaining the charm of "BU YAO." I certainly understand that these things can occur but I certainly am not going to worry about it.

So, thanks for the warning but let's return to more food and touring tips! flirtysmile

Cheers!
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#22 Post by Mark Y » August 25th, 2014, 8:48 am

Charlie Fu wrote:Lesson learned Alan. If anyone comes up to you speaking English in a non English speaking country, walk away ;)
Couldn't say "Bu Yao" to the little honey when all you're thinking is Yao Yao Yao!
Yao.jpg
Yao.jpg (57.12 KiB) Viewed 1476 times
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#23 Post by Alan Rath » August 25th, 2014, 9:17 am

Charlie Fu wrote:Lesson learned Alan. If anyone comes up to you speaking English in a non English speaking country, walk away
Of course [cheers.gif] But let me ask, if you were solicited inside, say, the Smithsonian (paid ticket entrance with guards at the doors, and everything run or contracted by the federal government), would you be more or less inclined to think it was legit? The scam itself was minor, I wasn't hurt financially or in any other way, but the fact that it happened in the situation was, to me, another sign of how far the country has yet to progress. As Marshall requested, let's let this go, was just throwing out my own personal experiences.
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#24 Post by c fu » August 25th, 2014, 1:04 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
Charlie Fu wrote:Lesson learned Alan. If anyone comes up to you speaking English in a non English speaking country, walk away
Of course [cheers.gif] But let me ask, if you were solicited inside, say, the Smithsonian (paid ticket entrance with guards at the doors, and everything run or contracted by the federal government), would you be more or less inclined to think it was legit? The scam itself was minor, I wasn't hurt financially or in any other way, but the fact that it happened in the situation was, to me, another sign of how far the country has yet to progress. As Marshall requested, let's let this go, was just throwing out my own personal experiences.
Cheers
I wouldn't know, I don't fall for scams [snort.gif] [snort.gif] [snort.gif]
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#25 Post by Z. Hu » August 25th, 2014, 9:17 pm

I once went to a US national park and they charged me 2 quarters AND a penny to turn my freakin penny into a worthless trinket with a picture of the park. Lesson learned! haha

JK Alan. Even my parents got scammed in China. They were in a restaurant and didn't ask how much the steamed fish was per kg before they ordered. The fish dish cost them $200 US. But then again, he got scammed by a person asking for his social over the phone here in the US too.
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#26 Post by Marshall Gelb » August 27th, 2014, 10:58 pm

Z. Hu wrote:I once went to a US national park and they charged me 2 quarters AND a penny to turn my freakin penny into a worthless trinket with a picture of the park. Lesson learned! haha

JK Alan. Even my parents got scammed in China. They were in a restaurant and didn't ask how much the steamed fish was per kg before they ordered. The fish dish cost them $200 US. But then again, he got scammed by a person asking for his social over the phone here in the US too.

Hey Zhi!!! I collect those pennies! [rofl.gif] [rofl.gif]



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#27 Post by c fu » September 2nd, 2014, 5:35 am

Z. Hu wrote:I once went to a US national park and they charged me 2 quarters AND a penny to turn my freakin penny into a worthless trinket with a picture of the park. Lesson learned! haha

JK Alan. Even my parents got scammed in China. They were in a restaurant and didn't ask how much the steamed fish was per kg before they ordered. The fish dish cost them $200 US. But then again, he got scammed by a person asking for his social over the phone here in the US too.
china on china crime.
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#28 Post by Andrew Gelb » September 8th, 2014, 5:07 pm

Wow, having been to China a few times, and obviously heading there again with the family, this certainly has been some interesting reading!

Andrew

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#29 Post by j boyce » September 9th, 2014, 7:13 am

I won't claim it is the best duck in Beijing, but I am a fan of Xiao Wang Fu at Ritan Park, for a couple of reasons: 1) duck is only one item and I like the side dishes there and, more importantly, 2) the view of the park is superb if you get a table on the rooftop. The park is a great place for a stroll and people-watching -- people fishing, flying kites, doing taichi, etc.

For a good reasonably priced meal, I also suggest trying the hot pot at Haidilao. The service here is excellent, you can make your own dips, they do noodle-pulling demonstrations amidst the diners, at least some venues give manicures / peanuts / fruit to people waiting, and so on. This place is well-regarded by almost everyone I know in Beijing, whether local or foreign. I've usually gone to the one in Sanlitun South. You could check out the Sanlitun North area, basically ground zero for the city's Western food and wine scene, before or after your meal.

I would also recommend popping into a fruit, vegetable, etc market, San Yuan Li, north of Sanlitun, is pretty popular. There's one closer that I visit and I always come away with something fun, whether it's lotus seeds or Shandong jian bing (a kind of pancake) or the first batch of this year's walnuts. I know it's not dinging, but it's food, and it's a lot of fun poking around these places.

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#30 Post by Marshall Gelb » September 10th, 2014, 12:49 pm

j boyce wrote:I won't claim it is the best duck in Beijing, but I am a fan of Xiao Wang Fu at Ritan Park, for a couple of reasons: 1) duck is only one item and I like the side dishes there and, more importantly, 2) the view of the park is superb if you get a table on the rooftop. The park is a great place for a stroll and people-watching -- people fishing, flying kites, doing taichi, etc.

For a good reasonably priced meal, I also suggest trying the hot pot at Haidilao. The service here is excellent, you can make your own dips, they do noodle-pulling demonstrations amidst the diners, at least some venues give manicures / peanuts / fruit to people waiting, and so on. This place is well-regarded by almost everyone I know in Beijing, whether local or foreign. I've usually gone to the one in Sanlitun South. You could check out the Sanlitun North area, basically ground zero for the city's Western food and wine scene, before or after your meal.

I would also recommend popping into a fruit, vegetable, etc market, San Yuan Li, north of Sanlitun, is pretty popular. There's one closer that I visit and I always come away with something fun, whether it's lotus seeds or Shandong jian bing (a kind of pancake) or the first batch of this year's walnuts. I know it's not dinging, but it's food, and it's a lot of fun poking around these places.

Cheers, Boyce

Thank you Boyce. The trip is getting closer and I am getting more and more excited. Of course, more tips are still appreciated. flirtysmile Next week we have our Global Entry appointments and that will be a big plus.

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#31 Post by John Coop » September 11th, 2014, 8:36 am

Marshall, I'll be in Beijing Oct 1st - 3rd before going on to Benxi, Sanya and wherever the girlfriend takes me!! I''ll be in China for 3 weeks and I keep get more excited everyday!!

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#32 Post by doug johnson » September 11th, 2014, 10:05 am

Benxi? Your girlfriend must have family there!

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#33 Post by John Coop » September 11th, 2014, 10:16 am

Yes, I'm going to meet the family. Should be an interesting trip.

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#34 Post by Marshall Gelb » September 27th, 2014, 8:30 am

John Coop wrote:Yes, I'm going to meet the family. Should be an interesting trip.

We will also be spending some time with family but will have plenty of time for just the four of us........but then again, we are all family! [rofl.gif]


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#35 Post by Andrew Gelb » October 6th, 2014, 4:50 pm

John Coop wrote:Yes, I'm going to meet the family. Should be an interesting trip.
John:

Some unsolicited insight, which may be completely unecessary .... If she is taking you to visit the family, she believes the relationship is serious! Have fun! champagne.gif

Cheers,
Andrew

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#36 Post by david li » October 6th, 2014, 7:01 pm

The best duck place in Beijing is Da dong...
It offers a lot of modern take of traditional Chinese dish..
Cherry Foie gras is really nice..

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#37 Post by doug johnson » October 6th, 2014, 7:18 pm

david li wrote:The best duck place in Beijing is Da dong...
It offers a lot of modern take of traditional Chinese dish..
Cherry Foie gras is really nice..

no no no no no!

Why does everyone like Da Dong so much?

I got tricked by their reputation into going there…the modern take….it's a lean duck with no fat, no taste!

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#38 Post by Russell Faulkner » October 6th, 2014, 7:41 pm

Entry of fat at Da Dong when I went. I'd never declare it 'the best' though.

David, which other venues have you tried to claim Da Done is better than them?

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#39 Post by david li » October 7th, 2014, 7:12 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:Entry of fat at Da Dong when I went. I'd never declare it 'the best' though.

David, which other venues have you tried to claim Da Done is better than them?
I had Da dong many times both in Beijing and Shanghai. It is not that their duck is lean. They just roast it for longer time than traditional roast duck. I would agree that the meat is a little too dry. But the skin is super crispy. But the meat is not the main attraction when it comes to Peking Duck. It is always the skin. It is awesome with a little sugar.

They also offer other innovative dishes that I like. The cherry foie gras mousse and wasabi duck feet are a must try. For adventurous eaters try their sea cucumber. If you are brave enough, order some braised pig intestines (Jiu zhuan Da Chang). I had it with a bottle of 01 egon muller auslese and the pair is heavenly. champagne.gif

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#40 Post by david li » October 7th, 2014, 7:20 am

In shanghai, you should go to Jinxian Road. There are many small local restaurants that offer authentic Shanghai dishes.

The most famous Shanghai dish may be braised pork belly in sweet sauce. Almost every family has their own recipe and many restaurants offer their own version of this dish. One of the places I like is called Zhi Zhen Jiu Jia. They some a very special local pig (liang tou wu). The pork has a wonderful nutty and sweet taste. It used to be more expensive than kobe beef.

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#41 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 8th, 2014, 11:49 am

Thanks all! Trip getting closer so any more comments would be very helpful!

David Li; Thanks for your input.

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#42 Post by david li » October 8th, 2014, 11:59 am

Marshall Gelb wrote:Thanks all! Trip getting closer so any more comments would be very helpful!

David Li; Thanks for your input.

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You are welcome, Marshall

Let me know if you have any more question about Shanghai.

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#43 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 8th, 2014, 12:12 pm

David; Thanks again...Any more specifics about Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.

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#44 Post by Mark Y » October 8th, 2014, 12:16 pm

My view on Shanghai:
Spend as little time as possible (or as you need to) there, and move on to other parts of China. You can pretty much throw a blindfolded dart onto a map of China and end up in a more interesting place than Shanghai. A day to see the night lights, eat some food.. is plenty.

My Shanghai-nese wife may disagree.. ;)
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#45 Post by david li » October 9th, 2014, 7:17 am

Mark Y wrote:My view on Shanghai:
Spend as little time as possible (or as you need to) there, and move on to other parts of China. You can pretty much throw a blindfolded dart onto a map of China and end up in a more interesting place than Shanghai. A day to see the night lights, eat some food.. is plenty.

My Shanghai-nese wife may disagree.. ;)
I have to agree with your wife neener
Shanghai is one of the best cities in China for foodies. There are a lot of restaurants that offer Chinese regional cuisine. Hongkong and Sichuan food are very popular in Shanghai and you can find a lot of places that are top notch. If you are into Sushi, there are also a lot top sushi bars that are as good as most of of the top spots in US and the price is a little cheaper (top spots cost about 250-300 us per person.)

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#46 Post by david li » October 9th, 2014, 7:22 am

Marshall Gelb wrote:David; Thanks again...Any more specifics about Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Marshall
Marshall

I will also suggest you try some local small restaurants that carter to local people. You have to try the famous soup dumpling (xiao long bao zi) at Jiajia Tangbao and the fried bao zi (shen jian man tou) at Xiao Yang sheng jian. Both are local small chains. You can find them pretty easily if you ask around.

If you are really adventurous, I would suggest you check out the "Dark cuisine". These are street vendor that specialize and perfect in one particular dish. There is a place sells shanghai style dumpling (Hun tun). People call it Er Guang Hun Tun. It literally means that you will not stop eating even if people are punching you in the face. And they are right..it is that delicious! [highfive.gif]
Last edited by david li on October 9th, 2014, 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#47 Post by david li » October 9th, 2014, 7:27 am

Marshall Gelb wrote:David; Thanks again...Any more specifics about Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Marshall

Almost forgot..you are very lucky to visit Shanghai in the fall. This is the season for local hairy crab. It is a real delicacy. (you can check out Bourdain's shanghai episode). The best place in Shanghai is called Cheng Wang Fu. They offer some set menu to give you a full experience of the crab. If you decide to go, I can give you some recommendation on the dishes that you should try there. [cheers.gif]

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#48 Post by Mark Y » October 9th, 2014, 8:24 am

david li wrote:
Mark Y wrote:My view on Shanghai:
Spend as little time as possible (or as you need to) there, and move on to other parts of China. You can pretty much throw a blindfolded dart onto a map of China and end up in a more interesting place than Shanghai. A day to see the night lights, eat some food.. is plenty.

My Shanghai-nese wife may disagree.. ;)
I have to agree with your wife neener
Shanghai is one of the best cities in China for foodies. There are a lot of restaurants that offer Chinese regional cuisine. Hongkong and Sichuan food are very popular in Shanghai and you can find a lot of places that are top notch. If you are into Sushi, there are also a lot top sushi bars that are as good as most of of the top spots in US and the price is a little cheaper (top spots cost about 250-300 us per person.)
Ah that i would agree with.. the food is excellent in Shanghai. :D

I guess i view it more from a tourist perspective.. where presumably you'd want to see some culture/history..
cities like Xi'An, Beijing, even Chengdu, Yunnan, (heck even SuZhou/HangZhou just outside of Shanghai) has shanghai beat for that..

but yah for food, Shanghai is excellent, and if you can get your hands on some of those hairy crabs.. .
My MiL buys them from the market and cooks them at home.. dear god.. you can take in a lot of cholesterol in one seating! ;)
Y.e.

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#49 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 10th, 2014, 12:48 am

david li wrote:
Marshall Gelb wrote:David; Thanks again...Any more specifics about Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Marshall

Almost forgot..you are very lucky to visit Shanghai in the fall. This is the season for local hairy crab. It is a real delicacy. (you can check out Bourdain's shanghai episode). The best place in Shanghai is called Cheng Wang Fu. They offer some set menu to give you a full experience of the crab. If you decide to go, I can give you some recommendation on the dishes that you should try there. [cheers.gif]

David; I would love to hear about the hairy crab as my sister in law is planning for us to try it. I do realize that it is a seasonal delicacy.

Cheers!
Marshall :)
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#50 Post by david li » October 10th, 2014, 5:31 am

Marshall Gelb wrote:
david li wrote:
Marshall Gelb wrote:David; Thanks again...Any more specifics about Shanghai would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Marshall

Almost forgot..you are very lucky to visit Shanghai in the fall. This is the season for local hairy crab. It is a real delicacy. (you can check out Bourdain's shanghai episode). The best place in Shanghai is called Cheng Wang Fu. They offer some set menu to give you a full experience of the crab. If you decide to go, I can give you some recommendation on the dishes that you should try there. [cheers.gif]

David; I would love to hear about the hairy crab as my sister in law is planning for us to try it. I do realize that it is a seasonal delicacy.

Cheers!
Marshall :)
Marshall

If your sister in law can read chinese, I would suggest her to check out this place
http://www.dianping.com/shop/500102

Following this link you can reserve table and buy a groupon like voucher for a set menu (at 60% off). Also, there is another little secret you will love. You can bring your own wine. Just ask for glasses. You should try to pair it with tradition Shanghai rice wine. (Huang Jiu). They are sweet and resemble sweet sherry. Also a nice bottle of chablis pairs very nicely with the rich crab. The best part of the crab is its roe. They also have a dish which the fat part of the roe is extracted and served on rice. If you bring a bottle of bubbly, it will be heavenly. I hope you enjoy champagne.gif

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