One of my favourite places in Beijing is Nan Luo Gu Xiang (or, Nanluoguxiang), a quaint little street packed with bars, café, restaurants, boutiques and souvenir shops. It's a blend of past and present with the iconic hutongs and siheyuan (courtyard houses) transformed into modern commercial spaces. In winter evenings its usually quieter and less crowded, which makes it all the more peaceful and alluring.
Do take your time to peer into the shops, they are all quite different and unique in their own ways, a far cry from those tourist markets where every stall seems to be selling the same things over and over again.
Food-wise I can't comment much, because other than the churros I had, it was just a cup of coffee and some cake - the latter of which was (terribly) forgettable. There's some eateries offering Western grub, while some others appear to be serving up a variety of Taiwanese snacks and sweet treats. Popular with the Chinese youths.
It was a cold night when the both of us were walking along Nan Luo Gu Xiang after our amazing dinner at Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant. I didn't think I could possibly fit in anything else after all that food, but I saw this inviting little stall and did a double-take. Maybe I'm not so full after all ;)
In such cold weather, how does piping hot Churros and hot chocolate sauce sound to you? Sounds absolutely awesome right! This was something I could not resist one bit, and it was a good thing I couldn't because boy was it good. The churros were crisp and light, while the smooth, hot chocolate sauce was just a delight to slurp on as it dribbled down the wrapper. Pure comfort food.
Continue your leisurely walk to Hou Hai, Beijing's popular waterhole that's packed with lively clubs and pubs. Be prepared for some touting, but don't feel pressured and just take your pick on the type of music that you like. If pubs and live bands aren't your thing, be entertained by some sensual belly dancing instead, I enjoyed that quite a lot too. Clubs are beyond me now, but I heard some are worthy pick-up joints for a midnight tryst or two.
Merry, Merry Christmas to one and all! :)
Nan Luo Gu Xiang Street,
Dongcheng District, Beijing.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D and Canon Ixus 80 IS.