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Two Chinese Beers The World Could Live Without Extraordinary Eats 

Two Chinese Beers The World Could Live Without

Sitting in the back of my fridge, I just found a pair of abominations: lemon juice beer and pineapple flavor beer. Where they came from, god only knows. But it was time to get rid of them. Brewed in Beijing — out in the chic and rural Shunyi, in fact — the Yanjing-brand lemon juice can was filled with nature. Malt, rice, hops, sugar and apparently real lemon juice… I was impressed! Granted, there was “edible flavor,” but the small print insisted “Quality Grade: Excellent.” I was sold. And yet,…

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Beijing’s Supercool Steampunk Printing Museum Offbeat Museums 

Beijing’s Supercool Steampunk Printing Museum

“There’s nothing like that around here,” said a shoe-repair man. Two waitresses laughed at us, and a woman selling onions gasped. “A watermelon museum?” she asked, “Really?” So we tried the Printing Museum instead. It was closed. The 12-foot-tall black doors, the entire four-floor building, was firmly locked. I’d read about a great statue of the father of printing, Bi Sheng, and sprawling planographic exhibits. But it, like the Watermelon Museum, was just out of our grasp. Until Michelle discovered an unlocked door leading into a basement. “Let’s go!” she…

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Hello Kitty Dreams, Hello Awesome Reality Cute & Kawaii Extraordinary Eats 

Hello Kitty Dreams, Hello Awesome Reality

“You ever feel like you’re stuck in a wind-up music box?” Michelle asked. The walls were pink. The waitresses were dressed as dolls. Piano keys tinkled softly. There were balloons and glitter and an off-season Christmas tree. We were trapped in a music box. That’s how Hello Kitty wants you to feel. Welcome to Hello Kitty Dreams. Chefs wear toques under Kitty-dressed walls… Surfaces are pink or padded or bedazzled or glow… And little girls pose dutifully over and over again. The frilly Antoinette cuteness only gets cuter from there….

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Sheep Placenta AIDS Soup Chinglish Events Extraordinary Eats 

Sheep Placenta AIDS Soup

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. That’s right: AIDS soup, the most improbably-named dish at the inconsolably-named Forgotten Perfume restaurant. The small text opens with the words “A fish sex sweet,” and continues to boast this soup is great for those with “frail body, hepatosplenomegaly,…

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

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Bizarre Beijing: CityWeekend’s Tribute to AsiaObscura Shameless Promotion 

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….

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Awesomely Steampunk Portable Corn Roaster 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…

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CityWeekend Covers AO’s Taxidermy Efforts Our Weird Projects Shameless Promotion 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!

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Another Mind-Blowingly Incredible Menu 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.

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On Horse Meat Sashimi 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…

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Beijing Supermarket Sells Crack, Aisle 4 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).

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Best Skirt in the Worst Spot Possible 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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Disgusting Chinglish from a Tasty Buffet 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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