My family shares my love of dumplings, so my mom had already researched some of the best places to go. It turned out there was one near our hotel so we went there for dinner on our first night. It wasn’t particularly fancy and we were the only foreigners who came into the restaurant, but they had one English menu that they let us look at and we picked out some dumplings. They came out piping hot and they were one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. Our two favorites were lamp & cilantro and then pork and mushroom. I don’t know if I will ever be able to eat dumplings anywhere else again because these were so incredible!
The next day, we spent some time at some of the religious sites in Beijing and then the boys and girls split up because we had different interest. For my mom and I, it was obviously cooking and for my dad and husband, the war museum sounded worlds better than sitting in a cooking class all day. So, we went our separate ways and caught up later that evening. Ryan and my dad headed to the Military Museum…
…while my mom and I went to a Chinese market tour and cooking class. It was awesome! The market tour was great because they walked us around and showed us some of the spices and vegetables that we likely hadn’t seen before and the best way to use them in your cooking. Cooking Tip from the Tour: She said the secret to making stir fry taste really good is to use garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. I’ve tried it a few times since and it adds a great flavor to the dish, especially when you use fresh ginger.
Afterwards, we went to the cooking class and we learned how to make 3 dim sum dishes – a chicken/noodle dish, chicken & sticky rice in Lotus leaves, and then the sticky rice balls with sesame seeds on the outside and red bean paste in the middle. It was really fun to make them ourselves and they were absolutely delicious! My favorite were the sticky rice balls – I absolutely live the red bean paste!
We took the market tour and cooking class at The Hutong in Beijing. It is definitely worth checking out if you have some time in Beijing – they have all kinds of neat tours and classes – they call themselves a Cultural Exchange Center so you will find a broad range of things from many different cultures, including China but also many others. In our cooking class, we had people from South Africa, Costa Rica, Germany, UK, US, and Australia – it was really great to interact with people from all over the world and learn something new. It is a bit hard to find because it is in the Hutongs, but they’ll meet you at a restaurant near the subway station and walk you there if you ask them to. It’s a good idea if you tend to get lost (like us!).