So, if you’ve read this blog during any one of my other trips to China, you probably already know that one of my favorite, FAVORITE, places to eat in Beijing is literally nothing more than a window on a street near Panjiayuan (the “Dirt Market”, which also happens to be the setting of my first novel, Tiger Eye).
You can see the window below. And inside that window, you can see what drives me craaaazy.
I know, it doesn’t look like much. It’s just bread, right? Little buns, sprinkled with sesame seeds? Ha. Hahaha. You have no idea. And I have no idea. I don’t know what they put in these things — I probably don’t want to know — but what I can tell you is that they are so delicious, so very, very, scrumptious, that people are willing to line up for an hour to buy them.
As you can see, I couldn’t wait to dig in. They were fresh and piping hot.
Here’s the other secret weapon, though. Right next door? Literally, the window that snuggles up to theirs? That place sells fried chicken. And it is easily, hands down, the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. I told this to a friend — nay, I challenged him to find me a better piece of fried chicken — and he insists there are places in Japan and South Korea that will blow my mind.
“Pffft!” I say. “PFFFT!”
Again, I don’t know what she puts into those chicken legs. I’m convinced it must be pure love, because that’s what I feel when I take a big old bite out of them. The hilarious thing is that everyone in the neighborhood must have a timer set for when that chicken is ready to come crackling out of the oil, because quite literally a mob magically appeared behind us while my parents and I stood at the window, watching those tender morsels pile high in her steel bowl — and folks could not wait.
I had other adventures today, but this is the one that really matters. It was a cold day, but now I’m feeling warm and happy.