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What to Do in Beijing-Part 2

Suburban Cool | 3 p.m.

郊区的艺术酷地 | 下午3点


红砖美术馆 Red Brick Art Museum.jpg

The sprawling 798 Art District is still the hub of Beijing’s contemporary art scene, although the last decade has brought commercialization in the way of souvenir shops, boutiques and cafes, distracting from the galleries. Head farther afield — literally in the dusty suburbs beyond the Fifth Ring Road — to see experimental art in less-crowded spaces. Designed by the provocative Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the Three Shadows Photography Art Center, a stark, gray brick and concrete space, is said to be the first gallery in China devoted to photography, exhibiting works that, at times, explore the grittier side of modern Chinese life (free admission). At the new Red Brick Art Museum, near an outlet mall in the countryside, the focus is on video and installation works — think of charred New Zealand milk cartons as a comment on China’s food safety concerns — though the real draw may be the tranquil Chinese garden and angular, modernist red brick building itself (20 renminbi).

不断扩张的798艺术区仍是北京当代艺术图景的中心,不过,过去十年的商业化让这里出现了很多纪念品店、服装精品店和咖啡馆,它们抢走了画廊的一些风头。往郊外走,一直走到五环外尘土飞扬的郊区,去不那么拥挤的展览空间看看实验艺术。三影堂摄影艺术中心由容易引发争议的中国艺术家艾未未设计,它是一个朴实的灰砖混凝土建筑,据说是中国第一个专门的摄影作品画廊,有时会展示探索现代中国生活现实一面的照片(免费参观)。新开的红砖美术馆靠近郊区的一个名牌折扣购物中心,它专注于视频和装置作品——烧焦的新西兰牛奶纸盒代表着对中国食品安全的担忧——不过也许真正吸引人的是安静的中式花园和棱角分明的现代主义红砖建筑本身(20元)。

Duck Dressed Up | 8 p.m.

精心制作的烤鸭 | 晚上8点


全鸭季 Duck de Chine.jpg

Duck devotees face a tough choice in Beijing — with so much kao ya (roast duck) to choose from, how to pick the right place? Duck de Chine succeeds in elevating the dish to a higher plane. Set in a renovated factory with exposed beams and elegant red lanterns, this is the kind of place that has Bollinger on ice and a gong to announce the arrival of your bird. There’s even an art to preparing the duck: First, it’s crisped in an oven with date wood to enhance the flavor, then carved tableside and wrapped expertly in a pancake with a swirl of house-made tian mian jiang (sweet bean sauce) and radish, celery and leek slivers. Fortunately, the high production value doesn’t come with steep prices — a whole duck costs just 268 renminbi. Reservations are a must for a table and duck; it takes over an hour to cook.

烤鸭爱好者在北京面临着一个艰难的选择——有太多做烤鸭的餐馆,怎样才能找到合适的呢?全鸭季成功地把这道菜提升到了更高水平。店铺由工厂改造而来,房梁露在外面,悬挂着优雅的红灯笼,这里供应冰镇堡林爵香槟,上菜时会敲一下锣。在这里,做烤鸭简直是一种艺术:首先将鸭子放在炉中,用枣木将皮烤脆,以增进其风味;然后在餐桌边切开鸭肉,将其和自制甜面酱、萝卜丝、芹菜丝、葱丝一起卷入薄饼。幸运的是,这里堪称物美价廉——一整只烤鸭才268元。必须提前预约才能订到桌位和烤鸭。要花一个多小时才能烤好。

Hutong Hooch | 10 p.m.

胡同烈酒 | 晚上10点


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Before a government-enforced austerity drive killed all the fun, banquets in China used to be riotous affairs fueled by copious shots of the blinding grain alcohol baijiu. With baijiu producers now seeking new markets, the liquor has moved from the banquet table to the low-lit cocktail bar. At Capital Spirits, a hutong speakeasy with antique wooden furniture and no sign on the door, a mostly young crowd sips shot glasses of the rocket fuel from a menu that varies by strength (from the lighter, rice-based Guilin Sanhua to the 106-proof Maotai Prince) and flavor (the bar infuses its own pomegranate, garlic and Sichuan peppercorn baijius.) An “intro flight” of four types is 40 renminbi. The ultimate challenge is the intimidating Five Snake Liquor (20 renminbi per glass) — a baijiu containing, yes, five dead snakes that’s supposedly good for arthritis and male virility.

在政府厉行节俭、扼杀乐趣之前,中国的宴会一度是杯筹交错的场合,一杯杯烈性白酒穿肠而过。现在白酒厂家正在寻找新市场,白酒离开宴会桌边,来到灯光昏暗的鸡尾酒吧。首都酒坊是胡同里的一个地下酒吧,里面摆着复古木家具,门上没有招牌。顾客大多是年轻人,他们用小酒杯一杯接一杯地啜饮这种烈酒。这里的菜单按照酒精度数(从度数较低的米香型桂林三花酒到53度茅台王子酒)和口味(这家酒吧自己酿制了一种含有石榴、大蒜和花椒的白酒)分类。“入门组”包含四种酒,价格是40元。终极挑战是吓人的五蛇酒(20元一杯)——没错,这种白酒里泡有五种死蛇,据说能壮阳,治疗关节炎。

Parks and Recreation | 8 a.m.

公园和消遣 | 上午8点


颐和园 The Summer Palace.jpg

The Forbidden City, the former imperial palace at the center of Beijing, can feel overwhelming with the sheer number of courtyards and rooms, not to mention the pushy tourists. A far more peaceful alternative on the weekend is the imperial family’s former country escape, the Summer Palace (30 renminbi admission). Yes, the park gets its fair share of tour groups and Jazzercising grannies, but it’s easy to ditch the crowds by hiking the pine-shaded hill behind the palace and taking in the view of the lake below. As you wander, follow the sounds of music; you might find a choir of hundreds in their Sunday finest belting out patriotic Communist tunes with a brass band, or a Peking Opera soloist performing in a pagoda for an audience of one.

提到北京市中心的故宫,光是想想众多院落和房间就让人望而生畏,更别提推来挤去的游客。周末,还不如去旧时的皇家别墅——颐和园(门票30元),这里要安静得多。是的,这个公园也有不少旅游团和跳广场舞的大妈,但是你可以躲开人群,到宫殿后面松柏成荫的小山上漫步,一览山脚下的湖景。漫步时,跟随音乐的声音,你也许能找到几百人的合唱团,他们身着周末盛装,在铜管乐队的伴奏下高唱共产主义爱国歌曲,或者你能在宝塔里找到京剧独唱者,做此人唯一的听众。

Designer Dumplings | 1 p.m.

高档饺子 | 下午1点


瑜舍酒店 The Opposite House hotel.jpg

The Opposite House hotel, with its green glass facade and soaring atrium draped in steel mesh, exemplifies the bold new architectural aesthetic taking root in Beijing. While staying at the hotel might be pricey (rooms start at 1,850 renminbi per night), the dim sum menu at Jing Yaa Tang restaurant (118 renminbi per person) is a real bargain. Feast on fluffy barbecued pork buns, pan-fried turnip cakes and homemade walnut milk (it tastes like a sweet soup) and then take in the Japanese architect Kego Kuma’s futuristic design in the lobby-cum-gallery space. The showstopper is a 19-foot-tall, 5,000-plus-drawer modern take on a traditional apothecary cabinet — a fitting symbol of how the traditional continues to influence the new in a city with thousands of years of history.

瑜舍酒店的正面是绿色玻璃幕墙,高高的中庭里悬挂着钢丝网,这表明大胆的新建筑审美正在北京扎根。在这家酒店住店可能过于昂贵(一晚房价1850元起),但是京雅堂的点心自助餐很是超值(每位118元)。先尽情享用松软的叉烧包、煎萝卜糕和自制核桃露(喝起来像甜汤),然后在兼作画廊的大堂里欣赏日本建筑师隈研吾的未来主义设计。最精彩的是一个有5000多个抽屉的19英尺高现代版中药柜——这恰好说明,传统仍在影响这座有几千年历史的城市。

2016-06-24

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