China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Since we landed in China around 6am and couldn’t check in to the hotel for a few hours our tour guide took us directly from the airport to the Beijing Zoo. Luckily, it was so early it was completely empty except for our group!

SAM 0039 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

This is the entrance to the Panda exhibit.

SAM 0041 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

The pandas are the cutest animals in the entire world. One of them was just sitting and eatin’ the entire time. I stood there watching him chomp, pick a new shoot, chomp some more, look at us, chomp… I die. Check out my instagram for a video of it.

SAM 0047 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0045 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Lunch in China I’m pretty familiar and comfortable with Chinese food. The Chinese restaurants I have been to near my house have the menus in Mandarin and a lot of traditional fare. So, the food isn’t ‘weird’ to me – it’s just exciting to try it from the source!

But, the squat toilet bathroom situation is a weird. Mostly because I’m not an expert at this game. SkinnyRunner please send me some tips on this.

SAM 0069 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

After the zoo we checked into the hotel, did a quick 5 minute shower/wardrobe change and headed back out to make the most of our time.

Ben and I made friends with another couple on the trip and went to lunch with them. We had Dim Sum at a place recommended by our tour guide. We were the only tourists there and it was busy, so you know it’s good wlEmoticon winkingsmile3 China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Braised Chinese kale with oyster sauce

SAM 0081 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Pork dumplingsSAM 0083 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Steamed pork bun

SAM 0084 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Shrimp and pork dumplings

SAM 0086 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

That green tamale looking one is chicken in gluttonous rice. It was ah-mazing! It was actually similar to a tamale! It was chicken tucked in the middle of smashed rice and it was seasoned perfectly.

SAM 0088 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Peanut noodles. This was amazing too! A little spicy, a lot delicious.

SAM 0089 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

After our bellies were happily full we headed to the Olympic Stadium “Bird’s Nest” via Subway.

SAM 0090 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0092 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

It was freezing but a gorgeous day!

SAM 0101 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0107 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0111 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0119 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

There was an awesome wall where the names of winners of the 2008 Olympics are engraved. SAM 0121 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic StadiumSAM 0123 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

On the way back we spotted this vendor selling some mystery food. It is a bunch of balls on a stick.

SAM 0125 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

Any idea what this is all about?

It is actually sweet! It’s like small balls of fruit (with seeds) covered with a candy apple style shell and sesame seeds.

SAM 0127 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

SAM 0129 800x600 thumb China Pandas and the Olympic Stadium

See ya later!

Question: Would you buy a mystery ball on a stick from a vendor?

(Disclaimer: This was part of the tour and I was very happy and excited to see the Pandas. But, I do have mixed feeling about zoos, especially after watching Black Fish. However, I’m not educated enough to address this topic right now.)

Comments

  1. says

    My husband goes to China for business every year, but all of his pictures have tons of people in the background. How in the world did you get China all to yourselves? He said I would like Japan better than China, but I would love to see the Great Wall. Looks fun, even the toilet.

  2. says

    Unless it not chestnuts on a stick? I saw something similar in journal article about China. Probably, I am mistaken ;) I never tried exotic food (whether can be considered land as this type of food? ) . Anyway, I surely would try everything!

  3. says

    I’m sorry to say I’m not adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. That’s my biggeat fear about traveling to foreign countries. Not the language, getting lost, people, etc…..but the food. I might starve.

    However, I’ve always wanted to go to China! The Great Wall! The Squat Toilets! One day ill go… :-)

    Enjoy your trip!

  4. says

    Ummm… the toilet situation would be enough to freak me out. Yikes. The food looks really good. My mouth was watering while I was looking at the photos.

  5. says

    Oh my gosh so I lived in China for the summer a few years ago, and I just want to say that it makes me incredibly happy that you’re getting to experience it! The squatty potty is a little weird to get used to (especially if you’re traveling on the road and the public toilets don’t have any doors, which is weird, but nobody cares so it’s okay once you get used to it) but you will indeed get used to it. Then you’ll notice that many of the locals assume that squatting position to relax just like we would sit down on a park bench! Enjoy your time!

  6. says

    Yes I love street food. I traveled to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and basically everything I ate for months was from street vendors. P.S. I never one time got sick.

  7. says

    I lived in Taiwan for 3 months and this post made me miss it so much! I miss the food like crazy – it tastes so much better there. I LOVED trying all of the mystery things on all of the carts all over town. We had a favorite cart that sat in a shady back alley but had the BEST food in town. It was a little smelly most of the time, but I loved being there. I hope you have so much fun. I’m super curious to see how using a Groupon for travel turns out!

    • Kendra says

      I lived in Taiwan too!!! Loved it there. The squatters get easier, just ahead your legs wide and check for splatter ;) I am not a mystery eater at all. Have fun.

  8. betty says

    i just watched black fish and it completely changed my outlook, as well. I’ve only been to the local zoo once to show my nieces, and always felt sad for the animals all cooped up.

    hope you have a great time!!! i’d try everything on a stick, just to experience everything I could while I was there. I love trying new foods on vacay!

  9. Angelica says

    I used to live in Japan and totally sucked at squatty potties. But their high-tech toilets are amazing! As for mystery food on a stick, I would NOT buy it if it was meat and I was in China. I prefer my dogs as pets, thank you. Also…”gluttonous” rice? You mean glutinous? Haha.

  10. says

    This looks like an awesome trip so far. Ive been to Hong Kong and the food was ah-mazing. All that food looks like what we had too. DELISH!

    atwohp.blogspot.com

  11. Jackie says

    My kids are from China and we just went back this summer on a heritage tour–Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Guilin. It was awesome! Enjoy your trip and I look forward to living vicariously through you.

  12. says

    I would say the best thing to do is to borrow some of my toilet seat covers that my dad gave me for Christmas.
    That, or just sit down cross legged on the floor and have yourself a grand ‘ol time.

  13. SamanthaK says

    OH MY! Are all toilets in China like that? Seriously, it is tricky enough when you have to make a quick pit-stop on the side of a gravel road or edge of a field when needed–how on earth does one do that on a regular basis for, um, everything? Well on the bright-side–if you aren’t able to get any running in, you may get a good leg workout using the toilets!

    Hope you have a fun & safe trip!

    Oh, and I’m not sure on the mystery balls-maybe if there was a good description of it, I’d try it. Your lunch looks delicious though!

  14. Erin says

    I visited China several years ago with my family and when I first saw a toilet like that, I seriously thought it was missing! I told my dad the toilet was “out of order” ha

  15. says

    After living in South East Asia for nearly a year, I prefer the squat toilets. Most of the time if you walk into a stall here with a regular toilet, there are foot prints on the seat. The people will stand on it just like a squat toilet! Haha! Either way, I’ve noticed here (Malaysia) all public restrooms smell horrible and are no where near clean. As for the street food…no way. I’ll eat local, but I need to know what it is FOR SURE! Enjoy your trip!

  16. says

    Hahaha on the squat toilet! Just take it as what you do on runs outdoors when you need to use the bathroom.
    Dim sum looks good! Did you try the “cheong fun”? It’s steamed rice noodles with a dough fritter wrapped in the middle with soy sauce.

  17. says

    I definitely ate those balls (fruit?) on a stick! I also ate a lot of mystery meats while in China.

    The bathrooms were no fun. Interestingly, the bathrooms on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru are the same!

  18. says

    Oh man. Italy was the same way. Hit or miss on the full restroom or the squat restroom. Yish. I am no good at the squat either…dammit. Thanks to Kendra for the lesson though!! Have a wonderful time and eat cautiously but deliciously! I’m so envious of your travels.

  19. says

    Hello from China! I am a teacher here and have eaten lots of balls on a stick- they are candified hawthorn berries. Yummy, huh :) And the squatties are great, no joke. Especially if you experience a truly nasty one, I appreciate the fact that little to no skin ever touches any surfaces. Have a blast here!

  20. Li says

    That mysterious sweet thing is actually a very traditional snack in Beijing. It is quite famous since it really can be dated back to ancient China. It is a bunch of maybushes covered in melted sugar plus some toasted sesame seeds on top. It is so tasty with the very sweet(not sickly sweet though) on the outer shell and tangy and crunchy inside. Now you can find other versions of this sold, like strawberries or manderines covered in sugar. But the most traditional one is still my fav. By the way, Beijing has really good dim-sums to try and super affordable. :) The shrimp dumplings and peanut noodles are my fav.

  21. Christina says

    I think those toilets r a good idea now that I’ve just potty trained my daughter I’d rather her get awesome quad muscles squatting than her fingers all over a toilet! Not kidding. I always squat over public toilets without touching anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *