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Speaking of Revolution at The Beijing Police Museum Offbeat Museums 

Speaking of Revolution at The Beijing Police Museum

“Have you heard about the coup?” “Only that there may have been one.” The Professor and I were making our way through Beijing’s Police Museum, a few blocks from where a coup would have happened. We’d already broken the door of a fake interrogation cell, and almost knocked over a motorcycle. We shouldn’t have been talking about such sensitive matters as well. But we seemed to be the only visitors, and the few guards weren’t paying attention. “I have a friend who works for a Chinese newspaper,” he continued. “I…

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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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Don’t Forget Your Cute Tiger Pictures Strange Tourism Theme Parks 

Don’t Forget Your Cute Tiger Pictures

After the horrors of the tiger park, I neglected to mention the cute photo ops at the end of the tour. I mean, how awesome is this vertical line of tigerocity? After taking the picture, the employee wrenched the doped-out cub from our cuddle. He shoved it in a medium-sized tupperware storage container. He clipped on the lid. And he walked away. The cub struggled for a while, but then went quiet. I wanted to cry. The other photo opportunity was to pose with a fierce photoshopped Siberian tiger. We…

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Small Children Feeding Live Animals to Tigers in a Chinese Zoo Strange Tourism Theme Parks 

Small Children Feeding Live Animals to Tigers in a Chinese Zoo

In northern China there’s a tiger park. Like so many things in China, it’s nothing like you might expect. To start with, there’s a menu at the gate. These aren’t animals to take home and domesticate. They’re fodder. Victims to be released on your tour. “Let’s get a cow,” I said. Michelle just glared at me. “But this is nature in its purest form,” I said. “It’s the circle of life. It’s the maintenance and renewal of the microcosm. Come on. So how about a sheep?” She kept glaring.

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The Great Chinese Chip Taste-Off Extraordinary Eats 

The Great Chinese Chip Taste-Off

Lobster and Cheese! Melon! Lemon Tea! Chinese potato chips enter a mad world of flavors… but are they any good? I invited over a dozen wary friends, and put these crisps-of-amazement to the AsiaObscura taste test… Oishi Melon Flavor Corn Curls Baked, not fried! 14 minerals and vitamins! 0g Trans Fats! The box screams how healthy these chips are. The audience screamed, too. One taster actually vomited. Just a little. “God, that’s disgusting!” “It’s like a dry sponge from Lush Cosmetics!” Existing somewhere between perfume-flavored and watermelon bubble gum, these…

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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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The Disastrous Fall of Sanmao Sweet Movies and Wild Books 

The Disastrous Fall of Sanmao

Remember the last time we visited that wretched and bruised little street urchin, Sanmao? Oh, what dark laughs we shared. Well, the other day I found two new Sanmao books. From 1980 and 1985, they were full of strips I’d never seen. I leapt with joy and overpaid for them — they were antiques, the old man insisted. When I flipped them open, though, I discovered something saccharine and horrible. What? He’s benching 90? He’s a master of calligraphy? He’s… he’s… what about the blood, gore and sick Chinese humor???…

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Classic Chinese Torture Methods (and their cute names) Historical Wonders 

Classic Chinese Torture Methods (and their cute names)

From the strange reign of Empress Wu Zetian (690-705): “Inviting the Gentleman into the Jug” – Place the victim in a large vat, and heat it to roasting temperature with fires around its base. “The Phoenix Suns Her Wings” – Hang the prisoner by his arms and legs from a beam, and spin him. “The Fairy Maid Presents Fruits” – Make the victim kneel, with a heavy rack around his neck. Weight it down further with large tiles. “The Jade Maiden Mounts The Stairs” – Force the victim to stand…

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Chisney & Koreansney: Local Disney Knockoffs Copyright Carelessness 

Chisney & Koreansney: Local Disney Knockoffs

We already have a Beijing ChineDisneyland, and the abandoned WonderDisneyLand. But what about these Disney knockoffs… Government-published Travel in Chinese language books… Papa Daniel Koreatalian diners…. Yes Madam (It’s My Choice) Body Lotion, at every local pharmacy…. My favorite, though, is this Disney toy I found in with other toys at the market down the street. I’m unclear on which movie she’s from, but it’s the one where the princess has a solar-powered boob jiggler. Does anyone remember that one? Will these copyright infringements end when Disney finally opens the…

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