Monday, February 9, 2009

Mid-Afternoon Snack

After watching the villagers perform for the Lantern Festival, we returned to town and I headed to Nanluoguxiang, a hutong near Houhai to check it out as I hadn't been there since the Olympics.

Many new shops were open selling cute trinkets from stuffed animals to silk sachets. There were some new cafes and restaurants too. Most of the existing boutiques and cafes were still open, but a few sadly were closed or just temporarily shut for the holidays.

The place is still a tourist attraction on the weekends, especially for the locals. They love coming here to marvel at all the artsy shops or take photographs. A wedding couple with the bride in a white dress and sneakers were also taking pictures in the area.

As I walked northwards towards Gulou Dajie, I saw a sign saying "Shuang pi nai" or "double-boiled milk".

It's a favourite Cantonese dessert or snack, the milk custard, not too sweet, with a silky smooth texture and delicious taste. Macau has the best double-boiled milk cafes in its Legal Senado square.

So I followed the sign down an alley, near where a man was using an electric saw to cut a plank of wood...

For 10RMB I got a small plastic bowl that was unfortunately lukewarm. Double-boiled milk is best piping hot from the steamer... but these were handcarried on a tray from somewhere else.

Nevertheless, despite its goopy appearance, the taste was creamy but not rich. For Beijing, it hit the spot.

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