Monday, April 27, 2009

The Beans Play Host (or, Florence Tries All Manner of Street Food)

So, we got back from Shanghai last Friday and had a couple more days with Flo & Preston before they headed back to the states. The apartment feels so empty now without two extra bodies.

J and I passed out after dropping the kids off at the airport...almost a month straight of marathon hosting can really wear you out. But hey, that's how we roll. And between the fun of seeing family and good friends, and all the amazing food we've been eating, we really can't complain. :)

I thought I'd post some pics of our time with our guests here, but I should point out how funny it is that every group of people we host has very different ideas about what they "have to see." For my parents, it was random cultural or historical stuff (they'd been before, so no Wall or Forbidden City for them), and for Flo it was all about re-creating moments she saw on travel shows with Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain. Preston's non-negotiable was Shanghai. Hehe. Anyway, here are some pics from our adventures:

Part I: The Mais

We squeezed into three-wheelers.
From Beijing Dou

Then let my dad pretend to wheel my mom around.
From Beijing Dou

Took them to Houhai,
From Beijing Dou

where we fed them candied Haw on a stick (you know those little round flakes we used to eat as kids? These are the fruit they come from!).
From Beijing Dou

We ate lots of yummy food.
From Beijing Dou

Visited the Bird's Nest, of course.
From Beijing Dou

We took them to the zoo...
From Beijing Dou

Where they all saw pandas for the first time!
From Beijing Dou

Andrew, the budding filmmaker, captured colonial architecture in Tianjin.
From Beijing Dou

And of course, we took them to get foot massages...
From Beijing Dou

which I'm pretty sure was their favorite part. I mean, look at 'em.
From Beijing Dou

Part II: Floston

Preston had been to Beijing before, but this was Flo's first time on the mainland. So, we did some of the usual things.

Like take goofy pics
From Beijing Dou the Forbidden City.
From Beijing Dou

No pictures of the Great Wall, because I sent Floston on the Boot Camp Great Wall Tour From Hell. I'll save that story for another post. In fact, maybe I'll let Florence tell it as a guest post. ;)

In Shanghai, we walked the underground tunnels...
From Beijing Dou

to the Bund.
From Beijing Dou

And had dinner in an old train station.
From Beijing Dou

(Sorry, this is me playing with my crappy iPhoto effects, because the color of this photo was all out of whack.)

It was all good and fun, but we all know the real focus of their trip (besides the shopping) was...

Street Food!!!
From Beijing Dou

Flo was OBSESSED! So, we ate meatballs filled with more meat, and soup.
From Beijing Dou

Preston tried Josh's fried potato-egg thing.
From Beijing Dou

And Flo fell in love with these candied strawberries on a stick (same stuff we fed my parents, but with strawberries, which for some reason are especially sweet and juicy here).
From Beijing Dou

In Shanghai, we had little soup buns,
From Beijing Dou

and big soup buns,
From Beijing Dou

and everybody's favorite, STINKY TOFU!!
From Beijing Dou

We also had these amazing shengjian bao (fried meat-filled buns topped with fresh scallion and sesame seeds) that I'm now kicking myself for not capturing on camera. They were so YUM.


Anyway, so that's how we've been spending our time.

Now, who wants to visit?? :)


Lena said...

awesome post! and I had always wondered what haw flakes came from, thanks for enlightening us :) that food looks amazingggggg

Anonymous said...

oh me, pick me!!!
maybe i'll have a couple of free weeks after I graduate next year...

Mind of a Stranger said...

You make me miss China just for the food!!! :D

Sarah said...

will you bring me home the panda with the big butt? i want it so baaaaaaaaad!

M.dou said...

@Sarah hahah yeah the panda with the big butt is pretty awesome. last i heard, they're on some endangered species list and aren't too easy to transport, but i'll see what i can do. :)

Florence said...

Yay! Thanks for your wonderful hospitality :o) I love that pic of your mom with the bigbutt panda. I miss you guys... as well as all the yummy food.