For real this time! I’m back. As I look back on my journal entries, I realize that I’ve skimped out on detailing a lot of the adventures that I had. As I was saying in my previous post, I’m going to take my journal entries and detail them here for you guys, and so in this next post, I’ll be walking down memory lane to September 21, 2012 (backtracking a little, I know).
I may not have noticed when I was in Beijing, but things happen really fast! With classes, activities, meeting new friends, you can get caught up in the hurricane of events and not realize how much is going on! My entry about Bambi was on September 25 – but I could have easily written about so many other things that happened so close in proximity as well! So here it is —
September 21, 2012
Well, yesterday was quite cool. I had been meaning to take some cooking classes for a while. We have a BC coordinator that was supposed to help us find cooking classes, but I think because all the ones that he found was a little bit expensive, I took matters into my own hands!
With a simple search into Google (with a VPN, of course), I found hutongcuisine.com and although it wasn’t the cheapest thing I could do in Beijing on a Friday afternoon, they had the largest variety of dishes to choose from, AND they spoke pretty English pretty well.
I invited some girls in our program, and after out Friday morning Chinese classes, we set out to find the hutong!
A hutong is an old, old alleyway that is made up of traditional courtyard styled living spaces in Beijing. Think Mulan buildings. Very outdated, and very rare. There have been a lot of new new age, modern restaurants popping up in hutongs for a more “authentic and speakeasy” – like feel. The Taco Bar being one of them – which I will HAVE to tell you guys about eventually.
After getting a little lost, we finally had Li Ge Ge come find us. What a nice guy!
We were signed up to learn how to make 3 types of dumplings, 2 with meat fillings and one with vegetarian filling, and to watch Brother Li make stir-fried noodles – all from scratch! Fret not, we got the recipe and whatnot for the stir-fried noodles, and we got to eat it afterwards!
Brother Li gave us a rundown of how it was going to go, then gave us all jobs to do, mostly chopping veggies – but I’ll show you guys instead of just describing everything.
Putting the filling together wasn’t all that hard, but it was the folding of the dumplings that gave us all the most trouble! After about 35 failed ones, I finally got a decent looking one!
So after all the dumplings were made, Brother Li started making the dough for the noodles, and as we watched in awe as he turned some flour, water, and sale into the prettiest looking noodles, his older sister was prepping the hot oil inside.
After we finished up outside with the noodles and prepping the veggies, we all went inside to fry the dumplings and watch the master at work. Watching Brother Li make the stir-fried noodles was like watching an artist at work – we just stood in awe.
Needless to say, it all tasted amazing, and although I paid a little more for the classes than I had hoped, it was definitely worth it. I walked away with 4 recipes, a full stomach, and an experience not to be replicated elsewhere.
Happy camper, I am.
That’s all for now! More next time (:
Now for more pictures! —