Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Beijing Is A Morning City

While New York may be the city that never sleeps (although I think that pertains more to Vegas), Beijing is very quiet at night. Since we arrived around midnight, totally energetic because our bodies were thinking it was noon, we took an initial walk around the neighborhood and noticed the lack of action on the streets at that time. Sure, there was a random convenience store, late-night restaurant, and even a 24-hour KFC (which we stopped in for some quick fries), the number of people we saw out and about was very low.

Daybreak, though, is a different story. With the sun coming up around 4:30am, the city quickly becomes alive with hustle and bustle. From the over-60-somethings doing their morning stretches (it's actually quite cool at that time) to the sanlunche rolling down Xueyuan Lu en route to their delivery destinations, the city seems to spring into action all at once. As a result, breakfast places teem with people who are on their way to work or students stopping off on their way to school. Baozi (meat-filled buns), jiaozi (dumplings), sweet tofu, and youtiao (Chinese-style donuts) are all standard fare. Also on the menu are hard-boiled eggs or delicious egg-filled crepes, which are made on the spot and can be eaten with lajiao (hot pepper) or not. Add a doujiang (soy milk) or a mizhou (rice porridge) and you are all set to start your day.

While I am a morning person, I'm not much of a breakfast eater. Yet, here, the choices are so plentiful and convenient (literally outside our apartment building), the most important meal of the day just got a little more interesting!



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