Lantern festival

The center also had put on his clothes light. During a stroll on Nanjing Road, we were able to balance the huge red decorations we were about to hang throughout the street.

Passage through the Xujiahui area: impossible to forget you’re about to leave the year of the monkey to pass in the year of the rooster, as the bird is declining in all forms in the shopping district.
Around these big red balls as floating in the sky and our ears not been spared either the incessant noise of firecrackers.

I thought that they were banned in Shanghai, as well as fireworks, considered too dangerous. Perhaps she prohibition concerned that the city center, she was lifted, or can you break it without too many complications …? The fact is that we have seen firecrackers and fireworks, in particular 8 Years Eve, where he wants better not count sleep early: your neighbors will remember your good memories …:]


The Chinese New Year’s Eve is supposed to happen around a good meal with your family? Well that’s what I did, I spent the evening with Sandrine and we could see the famous fireworks woke Minhang all night.

Festivities in Beijing

We were there in the last year of the rooster. And the next day we put the focus on Beijing, hoping to see other customs for the next days festivities.

And we were disappointed overall. No dancing dragons on the horizon throughout our journey. In fact, I have since learned that these dances were held on specific days of the fortnight, and perhaps they occur in more neighborhoods as around tourist spots.

We are not quite empty-handed, arriving at Beihai Park, we saw a group of dancers accompanied by drums, always colorful.
(C) S.Monthéard
By cons, in Beijing we discovered another related event New Year festivities: the first Sunday after the new year, we were in the midst of a veritable carnival in one of the temples of the city.
While we were looking for in fact the Lama Temple, we were attracted by the animation that reigned near a place that looks like a temple.
We had already noticed people wandering the streets proudly kinds of dolls scarecrows or other adornments strange, and they were even more numerous.

Last entry was a dense crowd that moved from all sides. We heard singing karaoke coming from behind the walls. Guided by them, we came across a real carnival with games and jackpots (lint hugest each other) to the key.

Then we continued our little tour, more or less to the vagaries of crowd movements, to find avenues of stalls offering kitschy toys we could find in our neighborhood in raffles. And 12 obliges a black cloud before attroupée food stalls noisy, smoky and fragrant.
It was not the dragon dances, but it was mind-blowing and exhausting


We will not see anything more to Beijing to find the holiday spirit we must wait to return to Shanghai, ready for the last day of the Spring Festival: the Lantern Festival!

My friend told me…

Just like Christmas in our western lands, the Spring Festival (known in our latitudes as Chinese New Year) is the most important festival of the year.

Before coming to Shanghai, I spent two years in Paris in the 13th district, 500 meters from Chinatown. I then discovered the famous dragon dances and parades as they are known around the world on the occasion of Chinese New Year.

But Spring Festival in China has nothing to do with what we can see in Chinatown metropolises. Here I could feel a real enthusiasm about the event, perhaps simply because this time I was in the heart of the festivities, not next.

The Spring Festival lasts 15 days, from 09 February to 23 February this year (yes I know it is time to write this article:]), and well before February could feel the importance of the party in preparation .
Unable to find a way through the aisles of Auchan.
The truth about the idiot who walked on the head

The doors of my neighbors and shops currencies relative to traditional good wishes calligraphy on red paper, or a red diamond and gold with at its center the character “fu” 福 synonymous with happiness and abundance.

I also noticed that very often, the character was placed upside down. So, because when even the Chinese know how to write the place, I asked myself a long time what was the reason. I ended up looking a bit, and I learned that the reversed fu is actually a pun to mean the arrival of good fortune, thanks to the disambiguation of “dao” which means “upside down” and “arrived”: “fu dao the” ie “fu is upside” but also “happiness has arrived!” Never last for a good pun these Chinese)

Beijing Duck

Skip to Beijing without eating duck, it would be a sacrilege, in any case you would spend next to something …
A young Pekinese who was part of the convoy to the Great Wall advised us: to eat the best Peking duck is the Quanjude restaurant to be!

Indeed, LA culinary specialty of Beijing, it is not tanghulu 😉 is the Peking Duck!
So obviously we wanted to try, and of course in the rules of art.
For this, the most famous address in the capital: the Quanjude near Qianmen.

Address in his pocket, and without any indication as to know that we had to go down to the station Qianmen, so we launched a search of the famous restaurant. The problem of finding the first avenue because Qianmen, this is not good but it’s big star, and then to identify among the many restaurants neon provided, which showed the three characters that we were interested . Because we had already suffered a few setbacks in the search for specific addresses in Beijing, we were particularly proud to have found us before being left to die of hunger on the cobblestones of Beijing.

But then, attention, in fact, the first restaurant we found was actually the Quanjude version of fast food … fits very well, but customers were crammed around tables and ate paper plates, weird … something else weird, just before entering the “fast-food duck,” a man we arrested had to sell us a ticket that was a number, but he wanted to do anything in this issue?

The answer was not long to know … When the waitresses “fast-food” were spotted our surprise, they quickly realized that this was not the place we were looking good and then also because in this restaurant where there were only Chinese laowai therefore, they wanted … surely go to another restaurant, the true, the beautiful, the place where everyone wants to eat duck in beautiful plates …
And … when I say everyone, that is everyone! Especially on February 14 do you think … When we arrive, the entrance is packed with people standing seeming to wait quietly, then naturally I inquire with the hostess, who told me that n ‘ there is no problem to eat 2 tonight, and hands me a smile … that a number of our position in the queue .. where the man who wanted to sell us his number earlier

Good and well we had time to do a little round … Everything is provided for this purpose, because it is possible for relatively comfortable chairs to see through a window in the kitchen cooks bustle around an endless row duck ready to take the pin!

Lest time to eat chinese food

Beijing, we were part of a tour bus, program, Badaling Great Wall for the next morning, and Ming Tombs for the afternoon. And between the two then?

Well for lunch, our little car and we were led to what is probably the single restoration site near Badaling.
By restoration site must understand a sort of self left at all wind surely nice spring but obviously empty in February, and a little diner / greasy spoon with the Chinese secret, all of course with this it takes souvenir stands all around. Our guide told us that a restaurant was superior standing around, but one – she was careful to tell us where and 2 – we did not really want to pay cash for a restaurant tourists.

So we went to the greasy spoon, and we ate noodles! It was actually the only thing I could recognize both the name and inspired confidence that we …
Well, next to the Great Wall in Beijing and Shanghai Minhang, whenever you eat noodles in a greasy spoon, you are entitled to show!
Noodles are prepared in front of you, as I say, it prepares … On pastry informs the chef kneads, stretches and separates twirls under your eyes that soon found in our large bowl floating in a soup well hot and decorated, this time among other things, strips of beef boiled … ah niurou the mian!

Of course we paid our noodles 3 times the price that I pay in Minhang, what are the laws of tourism, but that did not stop then go take a tanghulu, just to wait before resuming car

Miam ! I love food

Well, actually, this restaurant, I’m talking about is mainly because of the name, especially in English, see for yourself
The “Come & Wait”, it makes me smile more … And when you eat it then?
The advantage of this restaurant was that it was right next to the train station, in front of our hotel and open until late at night, because in the midst of the Chinese New Year holiday in Beijing restaurants tend to close after the first service at around 19h, if not to open at all …

So we’re going, we waited a bit much … it is true, but I assure you, we had to eat, and fortunately it was not bad

Chicken chicken

The Summer Palace is perhaps the largest historic site in Beijing that we visited. Already we had to earn it, because getting there was not a piece of cake, but our little legs were a number of kilometers on the site to see as much as possible.

For those that follow, I know I’ve told this a bit, but if I would insist, it is because sightseeing in Beijing, especially when we go to the Summer Palace, it gives hunger

And there, even if most of the time we find it unfortunate that the merchants from the temple invade historic sites, we are still very happy to find the lake of the Summer Palace, a small vendor that does not offer you a chocolate bar or packet of sweets, but real food: breaded chicken sleeves all hot! (advantage in winter in Beijing)
Can be read on the face of Sandrine how much it was a pleasure
Anyway all that to say, to visit sites of Beijing, you can go to provide a picnic gargantuan, there you find happiness for 2 yuan.

New year in summer?! :p

Another harbinger of the approaching New Year: the streets are deserted Minhang. Dongchuan read, usually so full of life, is a ghost street where restaurants closed one after the other, the only remarkable activity being undertaken major work here and there to open a new bakery “Christine” or simply refresh the restaurant .

In fact, the entire population of Minhang seemed an appointment at the counter read Humin to buy train tickets.
As it is imperative on the eve of New Year, the Chinese have a family gathering around a gargantuan meal until the end of the night. They therefore across the country and this period is thus synonymous with heavy traffic that earned me wait a few hours when I wanted, just at that moment preparing my trip to Beijing.
New Year’s Eve in Shanghai
Just before the start of the Spring Festival, I was in Shanghai, Sandrine and we discovered some of the customs of the new year.

7, we went to visit the Longhua Temple (forthcoming article … one day …) and on the way we actively participate in a custom Chinese New Year: launch our wishes for the new year in a “wish tree New Year “(name of my composition), and especially to ensure that they remain hanging:] because otherwise, your wishes are not met!

We bought a “lot of new year wishes to hang on the tree” (ba) to 15 yuan, which included 4 pieces of “tissue greetings new year” (ter) beautifully painted and adorned with various small objects and red and gold pouch, in which we had put the “fabrics wishes new year” before launching into the tree.

Sandrine before and I have applied to write our vows on 2 pieces (we secretly kept two others memories), total immersion in Chinese culture requires, I’ve written in Chinese.

The tanghulu

The tanghulu … this is probably what is best in Beijing!
Finally we find elsewhere in China, I’ve even eaten since on the Bund in Shanghai, but not as much and as well as in Beijing, capital of China and tanghulu

Tang-hu-lu: tang which means sugar (not soup, it’s the same phoneme but not the same tone, see) and hulu which means calabash … this is what is said in my book of Chinese courses for explain this strange word.
But hey, what are these calabashes sugar? In fact tanghulu, these are the “kebabs” fruit frozen inside a layer of crystallized sugar a bit like …
It is still unclear huh, that’s right … luckily the camera was there!
In Beijing it’s everywhere these vendors who carry around their carriage tanghulu bouquets. Obviously, this is one of the favorite treats of Beijingers who are specialists.

I’ve tested the first time on the first day in Beijing, the first night in fact, after the episode of the Mongolian pot, which I had left as a hollow stomach …

And then, almost every day of our stay in Beijing was marked by a tasting of tanghulu, to such an extent that we were able to conduct a very thorough study of the quality / price tanghulu in Beijing, which Here are the results:

the ideal is two kuai le tanghulu: for that price you can have a very good and mostly seedless (like here on the side of Qianmen)
we offer you a tanghulu 1 kuai? better refuse every time it is full of glitches …
3 kuai, in a pinch, but if there are glitches, there you are really having (as is possible if you take one on the site of the Great Wall of China …)
But why she speaks seed? you say.
Just because the tanghulu, true, authentic, consists only of small apples (pome fruit par excellence). Of course you can find other kinds, with strawberries or exotic fruits, it grows even fantasy to alternating colors and everything, and yes not believe the market is very diverse tanghulu
Nevertheless, for these derivatives have tasted, I think again, nothing beats a real tanghulu small dark red apples shining under the light sugar frozen streets of Beijing and seedless …