After devouring dumpling with the Chongqing Spicy Chicken, we walked to Nanluogouxiang Hutong, a trendy hutong where life has changed and turned modern in a short span of time, where the old has been restored and coexists with the new and trendy!
The narrow alleys of Nanluogouxiang give a wonderful glimpse into yesterday’s world, the old way of life and traditional Beijing culture, and highlight the dramatic changes the rest of Beijing has undergone. In fact the word "hutong" originates from the word "hottog" which means "a well" in Mongolian - in ancient times villagers dug a well and then lived around it. During the Yuan Dynasty a 36-meter-wide road was called a standard street, a 18-meter-wide one was a small street, and a 9-meter-wide lane was named a hutong. In Beijing, hutongs range from 40 centimeter to 10 meter wide.
The cobbled stone streets, gray-tiled houses and alleys crossing with each other form an intricate maze, in which it is fun to walk through them but also easy to get lost. Thankfully for us, Neeti and I were accompanied by Neelima, whose limited Chinese skills came in quite handy!
The Chongqing Spicy Chicken was merrily clucking away in my tummy otherwise the spare ribs would have it had it today!
The Chinese are still struggling with their English! I thought Strange and Odd more or less mean the same thing... And why the hell is this boutique called this way?
Summer heat means a good business for these juice shops, all of which serve exotic kinds of juices and refreshing mocktails!
Durian flavoured sweet cream dumplings... I tried them.... well, I did not find them great at all.....
The guys were thrilled to see me clicking their pic..... and perhaps secretly wished I would try their offerings...
Bomb chicken? Wonder what that is...? Certainly, my Chongqing Spicy Chicken from Mr. Shi's was indeed quite a bomb!
At last, in the heart of old Beijing, I found something I could get myself to say no to... I gave in to my temptation and had Churros. These are Spanish doughnuts, normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche. A theory says Churros were brought to Europe by the Portuguese from the Ming Dynasty China - the Chinese have something similar - you tiao or youzagwei.
A squid store.... after the Chongqing Spicy Chicken and the Churros, there was hardly any more space in poor little tummy!
Mr. Porky! The happy pig! Pork is an important resource in the Chinese economy and pork prices are a huge political issue, just like onions in India can make governments cry. It is believed that China maintains a strategic frozen pork reserve(!) much like the United States which has a energy reserve! Man, that's one of the reasons I like China! ♥
Dolls on display outside a trendy eatery!
The historic significance of this area is documented in the many plaques around here!
Ahh! Finally some shade, a welcome relief from the bright sun!
Flower tea - that was quite expensive - a couple of hundred yuans.....
People walk into these little shops and walk away with the food and drink of their choice!
A rickshaw, in the heart of Beijing!!!
A Chinese SX4!
Pausing for a while!
Perhaps a communist relic!
Mr. Porky again!