Tag Archives: Beijing

Chinglish, Events, Extraordinary Eats / ,

AIDS Soup isn’t the Weirdest Thing at this Local Restaurant

Sure, every restaurant may have a maggot-filled dish called Insect Story, and what’s a Chinese restaurant without a Jacopetti-inspired Monkey Head offering (even if it is just a bowl of fried mushrooms).

I don’t know, however, of a single other Beijing restaurant that boasts acquired immune deficiency syndrome sheep placenta soup.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 9 Comments
Cute & Kawaii, Extraordinary Eats / ,

Hello Kitty, Hello Beijing!

Asia’s newest Hello Kitty restaurant, Dreams Hello Kitty, may not be open yet, but it’s getting reeeeeal close. We snuck inside for a few sweet pix before getting ousted…

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Modern Ruins / ,

Creepy Statue in an Abandoned School (in a neighborhood that’s almost gone)

Last week, DK and I stumbled on a strange abandoned school in northern Beijing. We were looking for the city’s largest recycling center, but this mad statue was a far tastier find.

Seven demonic babes, lounging, suckling, emerging from the concrete.

“Can you imagine seeing this every day? As a kid?”

It was strange. But so was the trip.

The sprawling neighborhood, the entire neighborhood, is being demolished for new high rises. Block after block was sprayed in the graffiti’d 拆, for “demolish.” Red banners wrapped across buildings and trees read “Quickly quickly, move move” in Chinese pentameter. A man cycled by, his tricycle piled high with his bulging luggage.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 9 Comments
Uncategorized / ,

Bizarre Beijing: CityWeekend’s Tribute to AsiaObscura

Maybe you missed it, but fresh on the heels of their coverage of our taxidermy efforts, the the October issue of CityWeekend was devoted to Bizarre Beijing! Of course their research ended in the pages of AsiaObscura. Heh heh.

They recommend
– the unmissably gory Daoist statues of Dongyue Temple
– the quirk in miniature of World Park
– the wild Beijing Stamp Museum (including 3D North Korean stamps of Charles and Di)
a little-Tokyo maid cafe, and — of course…
Fake Disneyland.

See their full article here.

Or just enjoy the sweet editor’s letter below. Thanks, Sienna and CityWeekend!

/ by Dean Pickles / 2 Comments
Extraordinary Eats / ,

Awesomely Steampunk Portable Corn Roaster

Found this fellow in an alleyway behind my house the other day, roasting corn on the side of the road.

“What’s this machine called?” I asked. I was amazed, watching him flip the cobs from one tube to another, moving them closer and further from the flame below. Constantly he was rolling the tubes, handling the cooked corn with discarded husks.

He took a while to register the stupidity of the question, before answering, “It’s a roast corn machine.” (烤玉米机) Ah.

His awesomely rusty roast corn machine was screwed on top of a large beat-up tricycle, and powered by sticks of wood and wheels of coal.

“I built it himself,” he said. Not surprising — the chimney on the top of the machine was clearly banged together from spare bits of scrap metal. He sells 200 or more ears a day, he said, with a massive bag of uncooked ears at his feet. At 4 RMB a pop (60 cents), he sold 10 or 15 while we stood there.

/ by Dean Pickles / 2 Comments
Our Weird Projects, The Taxidermy Diaries / ,

CityWeekend Covers AO’s Taxidermy Efforts

Yesterday morning, I exploded with glee when I realized our Pyongyang Too book had been covered in the wonderful Drawn & Quarterly — a whopping year ago!

Now if that wasn’t good enough, yesterday was also the release of the new issue of CityWeekend magazine, their back page a very fun article devoted to WooLand, me, and taxidermy! Nice!!! Thanks, CW!

/ by Dean Pickles / 6 Comments
Chinglish / ,

Another Mind-Blowingly Incredible Menu

After the insane Cultural Revolution restaurant menu, I didn’t think I’d ever be impressed by mistranslated food titles again. Boy, was I wrong.

Below are some of my new favorite dishes from our local duck restaurant.

One dish wasn’t mistranslated at all. And it’s my favorite… spicy, awesome, and a weird unexpected bone in the middle. Oh, yes….

As seen at JingZun Peking Duck Restaurant, No 6 Building Nouth [sic], Holiday Inn Express Opposite Chunxiu Road [sic], Chaoyang District, Beijing. 010-6417-4075.

/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Chinglish / ,

Possibly the Best Menu of All Time

Beijing’s Cultural Revolution Restaurant has one of the most bizarre stage shows (video here) and some entirely inappropriate fashion statements, too, but it also has one of the worst best menus I’ve yet seen. Here are some of my favorite dishes…

Classic, eh?

/ by Dean Pickles / 3 Comments
Extraordinary Eats / , ,

On Horse Meat Sashimi

It finally happened. We ordered the horse sashimi.

“You want what?” said the waiter, unsure.

“Horse meat,” I slurred in Chinese, that last bottle of sake harming my already-poor pronunciation. “Raw horse meat.”

The waiter looked at WooLand, who wasn’t listening, and then at me, and he finally shrugged and wrote it down. Clearly this wasn’t a dish foreigners often ordered.

马肉刺身 (Mǎròu cìshēn) is apparently a delicacy in Japan, and I’d long been dreaming of ordering it here. It’s served up sliced thin like carpaccio, with mashed ginger and scallions and onions and soy sauce. There, it’s called basashi (馬刺し).

Back home in the States, however, it’s completely illegal. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senator, has been working with The Humane Society to make sure no-one enjoys a nice plate of mare. His latest bill, pushing it further, will see that no more “children’s ponies are inhumanely transported and slaughtered, their meat shipped to places like France, Italy, and Japan for human consumption.”

Good thing I wasn’t in France, Italy or Japan!

Here in Beijing, the plate arrived an hour later, the steed gorgeously laid out with thin slices of garlic riding it like little sashimi cowboys.

“No horsin’ around here,” WooLand cried, as she carefully lifted a slice. It was a full, deep red. This is the color of meat. In Japan, the meat is called Sakura (桜), or Sakura Meat (桜肉), because it reminds people of cherry blossoms.

It was also chewy. And dripping, almost as if it had been injected with water.

“All the farmers do this,” my friend Little Yellow had told me, a few days earlier. “They inject their animals with water, so they can sell the meat for more money.” Steaks from our local grocery are heavy, but so bloated they can be ripped apart with your hands.

“I don’t think this is done to horse meat, though,” she told me later. “Beef, and pork, but not horse.”

This sliced stallion maybe was a frozen ride. That hour we waited, an hour of defrosting. I didn’t get the feeling this was a dish many people ordered.

We rolled it up tight around the garlic and scallions, and dipped it in soy sauce. Wrapped in so many flavors, like a burrito, the meat was reduced to a delivery mechanism. A thick and chewy tortilla of spicy glory. Maybe Lindsey has it right. Perhaps this is an inhumane use of a healthy children’s pony.

Next time I’ll try the donkey, and see if that’s any better.

Izaka-Ya, 4 Gongti Beilu (across from Rock and Roll Club, in the alley behind the Bookworm), Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
北京朝阳区工体北路4号

/ by Dean Pickles / 6 Comments
Chinglish / ,

Beijing Supermarket Sells Crack, Aisle 4

We haven’t seen this Jingkelong supermarket sign ourselves, but reader Randi sent it in, adding, “Apparently, their marketing strategy is to appeal to customers at two different ends of the spectrum — or maybe this is a brilliant plan to encourage people with a bad habit to try to offset its effects.” Classic.

膨化食品 (Pénghuà shípǐn) is actually just junk food. If you’re really looking for ready rocks, ask for “可卡因” (Kěkǎyīn).

/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Copyright Carelessness / ,

Best Skirt in the Worst Spot Possible

You may have seen my post about the Red Restaurant, where dancers, singers and audiences recreate and celebrate the years of famine and starvation of the Great Leap Forward, and the torture and slaughter of the Cultural Revolution.

Something I left out was this lady. While many were dressed in the red guard dress of the day, remembering Mao and Jiang Qing and 1970s China, she chose a different style of celebration. She wore her South Park skirt.

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Events, Theme Parks / , ,

Return to Fake Disneyland? Sweeeeeet!

This past weekend, AO hosted our third BeijingObscura outing: a return to the magnificent Copyright Infringement Park, aka Fake Disneyland! Thanks to everyone who made it–it wouldn’t have been the same without you, and your absolute awesomeness!!!

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/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Copyright Carelessness / , , ,

More GameSpot Logo-Theivery

I found a flyer on the subway, for Beijing’s “岭郡ONE: Tuscany Romantic life” apartment complex, units from 430 sq-ft. Clever… looked like an ipad.

WAITASECOND!!!

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Chinglish / ,

Disgusting Chinglish from a Tasty Buffet

Not that many nights ago, WooLand and I were thrilled to be invited to one of the great linguistic banquets of the season. Government ministers, foreign diplomats, prominent magazine editors — it was a real who’s who of language and culture. And then we saw what was for dinner… Oh, boy… Clearly, if the linguists can’t even get this right, chinglish has nothing to worry about.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 3 Comments
Chinglish / ,

Non-beach Things from Beijing’s Fake Beach

They’re strict about this….

They were out of this….

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Extraordinary Eats / ,

Red Onion-Flavored Red Wine

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/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Chinglish / ,

No Nearing, No Spanning, No Spitting Please

/ by Dean Pickles / 1 Comment
Other Obscura / ,

Man on Bike and Chicken on Beer

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Events / , ,

Crab Island Revisited

Oh, what a day! Perfect skies, plastic palm trees with rubber coconuts, terrifyingly rusty water tubes, toxic water, and incredible meat on a stick. All in the flight path of Beijing International Airport’s, just a few miles away. (Vroooooom!)

Only one person actually howled, “That was the best day of my life,” but we concur. It was the best. Now let’s just see if Copyright Infringement Park (on Sat, July 23rd) can hold a candle to this!

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/ by Dean Pickles / Leave a comment
Copyright Carelessness, Excellent Products / ,

Plants vs Zombies, The Chinese Knockoff Toys

Zombies — along with time-travel — are banned in China. (So don’t watch my Beijing zombie music video, Zombie Girl. Or buy a bootleg copy of my movie, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.) But that doesn’t stop Plants vs Zombies from becoming China’s favorite videogame. You hear the theme song on the radio, you see cut-outs in grocery stores, dolls are for sale on every corner. It’s easy to pretend you’re planting biennials to slay the oncoming zombie horde. Well, there’s also a thriving Beijing sidewalk trade in cheap knockoff toys! And they’re incredible.

At 1/2元 each, about 7 cents, these rubber flora and bloodthirsty hellknights bring all the fun of the videogame to tabletop life. Missing an iPhone? Try these.

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/ by Dean Pickles / 3 Comments