The types of tea are innumerable; it's worth stopping by a tea shop to marvel at their selection, and possibly to buy gifts to bring home. In hipper neighborhoods, the abundant cafés offer bubble tea, along with wi-fi, espresso drinks, and a comfy couch for students or freelancers to lounge with their laptops. Unlike street vendors, brick-and-mortar establishments tend to charge something closer to Western prices; and Western chains, which include Starbucks and Coldstone Creamery, seem to charge about as much as back home.
November 23, 2009
There's really no comparison between Chinese food in the United States or Europe and Chinese food in China. One is typically cheap, greasy, uninventive, and sometimes bland; the other is a smorgasbord of different cuisines, from Uighur to Sichuan to Cantonese, with an astonishing range of flavors and textures. In Beijing, the ever-present street vendors hawk all sorts of stuffed pancakes, roasted vegetables and nuts, and sweet or savory pastries, all for under a dollar; while restaurants range from tiny local dives to ultra-fine dining, with minimalist décor and maximalist prices, attentive waitstaff and jewel-like confections served in course after course. Beer is the usual drink with dinner, often Tsingtao or Nanjing.