Beijing Hutong Delicacies – rich in history, great in taste

Hutong originates from the word hotdog which translates to a well in Mongolian. The word comes from the fact that people used to in ancient days build a well and live around it. Today’s hutongs are formed by buildings lined up on either side, making a narrow lane or alleyway in the middle. Initially hutongs were 9 meters in breadth but today they can be a tight squeeze at 40 centimetres or slightly more comfortable at 10 metres. They are characterised by an intricate network of twists and turns which to a newcomer does possess the danger of becoming lost.

Hutongs are rich with history. They were residences of famous people especially in the art circle. Writers, poets, painters; they all lived in this maze, breathing in the rich cultural diversity that comes from a place so crowded. In fact for some hutongs is an encyclopaedia of Beijing.

A normal greeting when you bump in to someone at a hutong is Ni chi le ma? Meaning have you eaten? Spreading their aroma and authentic flavours in these labyrinths are an endless dish of dishes, some that are part of a fast disappearing culinary heritage. What it offers is a one stop spot for anyone who wants to experience and appreciate the varying cuisines of China without having to wander.

Yangrou chuanr can trace its origins to Xinjiang. These mutton kebabs smothered in cumin are extremely popular and so are roujiamo. Sort of like a Chinese version of hamburger, it is pita bread stuffed with delicious combination of shredded pork, cucumber and spicy chilli sauce. Singing praises of the Sichuan region is spicy hotpot malatang. A mix of this and that, the boiling red broth can include anything and everything both vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike.

Beijing has many hutongs and to explore them all you need to find is a good choice of accommodation here. Serviced apartments Beijing is a good choice as you can go out for your meals unlike hotels that serve food as part of the deal. However that doesn’t mean you compromise on comfort. There are plenty of luxury apartment in Beijing to choose from. One of the most popular is Somerset Grand Fortune Garden Beijing.

Japanese Cuisine: A Unique Spin on Ordinary Seafood

An emphasis on fresh ingredients, a concentration on primarily seafood and its unique, tantalizing presentation are the hallmarks of Japanese cuisine that sets it apart from the rest. The cuisine that is enjoyed by many at present is not strictly Japanese for it was subject to western influences in the 20th century. Regardless of this evolution, a number of Japanese dishes such as sushi, tempura and sashimi still remain favourites.

Traditional Japanese cuisine allows the discerning epicurean to enjoy steamed white rice, usually presented in a small bowl with a number of side dishes such as a miso soup. Another factor that distinguishes this cuisine from others is its reliance on seasons for certain types of dishes. Traditional ingredients used include meat, dairy products, soy sauce and miso but mainly the Japanese opted to exploit their natural location and concentrate on the use of seafood in their cuisine. Furthermore, the limited use of oils in preparation and the dependence on steaming and stewing makes their dishes more palatable and healthy.

In Japanese gastronomy, the most commonly produced dishes are tempura, i.e. battered and deep fried seafood and vegetables, yakitori grilled chicken, sushi and a host of other grilled, stewed, steamed, stir-fried and pickled dishes. The cuisine also distinguishes between special dishes which are made on special occasions. For example, Botamochi is a rice dumpling associated with spring, Osechi during the New Year, a steamed rice cake called Chimaki made for the Gion Festival and Sekihan which is served during any occasion that gives cause for celebration.

When dining, the usage of chopsticks is quite frequent and in most restaurants in Beijing, the correct use of chopsticks is considered to be an important element of table etiquette. Observing proper table etiquette is considered to be an integral element of the cuisine as well and therefore in Japanese cuisine, it is customary to eat everything that is presented and when drinking, it is customary to wait till a toast is made, whether it is a formal or informal dinner. Therefore, it is best to keep such etiquette in mind when dining in a Beijing luxury hotel. If you are staying in the city and wish to dine at a world renowned hotel, The Peninsula Beijing is an ideal choice for the service is impeccable and their meals are delectable.

Through the Hutongs of Beijing – A Glimpse of Times Past

The 21st century cityscape of Beijing; skyscrapers of eclectic shapes made from steel and glass reflecting the sunshine. For a city looking so far into the future, some of its most striking features are from its past. Go behind the high rise buildings and onto the hutong alleyways to travel to Beijing of a bygone era.


The Beijing Hutongs

Dating back to the Yuan dynasty of the 13th century, hutongs were created by connecting a ‘siheyuan’, a traditional housing unit with a courtyard, to another. Centred around the Forbidden City, the hutongs were arranged according to the social hierarchy of its residents; the merchants and officials closest to the palace, and the artisans and labourers living farther out. The houses of the wealthy are beautifully decorated with pillars and carved roof beams and spacious landscaped courtyards. The more recently constructed houses clutter the outskirts of the city and lack the orderly nature of older ones.


The breakneck speed of modern Beijing is slowed to an almost village-like atmosphere of the hutong, where shouts of peddlers echo, and old men sit in front of shops talking all day. From the regal imperial hutong of the royal eunuchs to the charming surroundings of the Drum and Bell Towers, ramble along pathways lined with trees to get a glimpse into the life of ordinary Beijing citizens of centuries past. They are best travelled on a bike, which can be rented, on a trishaw, which are abundant, or on foot. The hutongs are gaining popularity among modern visitors who want to see something more rustic than the lavish life of emperors and the grand Imperial Palace.


Sadly, the modernization of Beijing has caught up with this slice of the past. Numerous hutongs are being demolished to make room for high-rise buildings and many residents have left for better living conditions. A white plaque marks the protected hutongs, selected to preserve not just a historic structure, but the way of life that surround it.


This piece of living history is an easy visit for a guest at a 5 Star Hotel Beijing. The convenient location of The Peninsula Beijing offer access to the city’s modern attractions as well as historic sites, making it a good choice for travellers. Its stylish interior promotes a serene atmosphere where guests can enjoy the very best of services and facilities that is only fitting for one of the city’s best Beijing luxury hotels.


The Beijings Hutong