Two weeks in Beijing made me realize that for those of you foodies, this may not be the city or country for you. The answer to that age old question - "is it like the Chinese food we have here" is YES. i was shocked (and disappaointed). The vast majority of the food in Beijing is very similar to our American Chinese food - a little less soy and a little more veggies in cornstarch sauce or pickling juice. The clearest demonstration of this you ask? Kung Pao is indeed exactly like we have it here and on the menu at every restaurant, and no, I didn't even go near the tourist restaurants - I was there for buisness afterall.
That being said, I did manage to venture out and find some unique (and sometimes tasty) bits:
Fish soup: for this, you pick a fish (and by that i mean you point to one in a tank and they take it out and strip it for you at the side of the table) and they put it in with many herbs. What I liked best about this dish is they use Chinese Peppercorns, which look a lot like typical peppercorns, but are within the Opium family, so when you eat them, first your mouth goes numb and then as you digest, your entire body gets a fabulous dose of what i would call superman strength aspririn (or vicadin).
Street food: two main streets are lined with street vendors, who for the most part have skewers of meat and fish that they put dry spice on and grill quickly, although some fruit does exist as well. I tried 4 skewers: Octopus, Lamb, Beetles, and Fruit and 2 dishes: fried egg on sweet potato and pork bun. The Beetles were by far the best.
Peking Duck: I am a self-proclaimed duck lover, but after this trip I have amended this to be a self-proclaimed FRENCH duck lover. Peking Duck was drier than i exepcted and you don't get to relish in the wonders of the fattiness or rarity that makes it so juicy.