RSS

Category Archives: Qingdao

QINGDAO – SEAFOOD & BEER

Beer Street is totally iconic in Qingdao. It’s home to over 60 bars and beer shops, all with el fresco dining – simply lovely to waste away a lazy afternoon or enjoy a relaxed evening. Every day, beer made fresh in the Qingdao Brewery Factory is sent to the shops, so it’s beer-on-tap all the way, woohoo!

Qingdao is also famous for their seafood – utterly fresh and live just a few minutes before appearing on your table. It was here that we had a seafood and beer lunch extravaganza, ordering way way way more than we could finish :P The food was outstanding – so fresh that I can’t actually remember the last time I tasted seafood this good. If you’re not a seafood lover because you don’t like the smell of it, you’ll love the seafood here. It’s not fishy at all, and so expertly cooked that every bit is delicious.We ended up ordering a couple of dishes, ‘cos we couldn’t decide :P Thank goodness stuff is cheap in China!

To walk off our mega lunch, we headed to Qingdao Zhan bridge/pier, touted as a tourist hotspot. It certainly is – it was packed! Originally built in 1891 as a naval pier, it’s really just a pier sticking out into the water – nothing too exciting. I guess the sheer amount of people there, plus all the beggars, kind of took away from the experience. The building at the end is Chinese style octagon pavilion, a stark contrast to the European buildings in the background and around Qingdao. It was good to go, just to say that we’ve been, but I probably wouldn’t go back there again!

And then it was back to the hotel where there was a chartered bus taking our group to the airport, and back to Shanghai. It was a lovely 4-day offsite/holiday. Thanks eBay!! :)

Guess what street we’re on?

Qingdao – the birth place of beer culture (I assume in China only)

Our restaurant of choice, complete with beer barrels over the doorway

It was another one of those point-and-order restaurants. SCORE!

Boiled clams – the flavour of these were amazing, and I’d thought boiled
clams would be bleh and fish, but nup!! These were delish.

Drunken prawns cooked in white wine and served with spicy soy sauce –
my favourite dish. So so so so so good and super sweet prawns!

Egg fried rice. Plain and steaming hot and a great accompainment

Garlic scallops and vermicelli – these scallops were humongous!! But so
fresh and tender. The garlic was overpowering though, but Chris loved it

Whole BBQ’d fish. I actually found the sauce too strong-tasting but the
meat inside was white and light tasting.

And another jug of Tsingtao beer on tap :P

*ZONKED*

Qingdao Zhan bridge/pier

A ‘lil ol fisherman casts his net, whilst a billion people look on..

Pretty building at the end of the pier

It got really overcast and cold and windy, so we had to head back.
Just as well, since we had a plane to catch!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 17 June 2009 (Wed) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

QINGDAO – TSINGTAO BREWERY FACTORY

Since Qingdao is the land of beer (as it was once occupied by the Germans), we heard word there was a Tsingtao Brewery Factory in the vicinity. Eager to try freshly brewed beer, we headed there for our *ahem* culture experience and education on the history of Tsingtao beer and how it’s made.

It takes about an hour or so to go through the museum, but the best part is the beer tasting, haha! Freshly-brewed really DOES taste different to the bottled variety. I actually like both, but of course I have to say I like the “freshness” aspect of beer-on-tap ;) They were also really generous with the free beer, which surprised me. Usually places like this are really stingy about it, but they gave us generous servings ’til we struggled to finish it all.

Was a blast. One of the best must-see places in Qingdao :P

At the Tsingtao Brewery Factory!

Chris is a beer hugger

Tourist extraordinaire!

Inside the museum

A big brewery thing

Antique vats used for fermenting the beer

In the Hops area

Mega antique storage barrels

“99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall…”

And we’re onto the free beer! WOOHOO!

Free beer peanuts too *glee*

HURRAY FOR FREE BEER

How cool would it be if the entrance to your house was like this?

The whole room is tilted, it was hard to walk through!

And then……. MORE FREE BEER! A pitcher’s worth :D

Bought this dried shredded calamari. Everyone else was so I was
interested. Tastes quite good – chewy and savory!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 15 June 2009 (Mon) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

QINGDAO – CHILLING & EATING ON THE BEACH

The strangely named No.1 Bathing Beach is about a 1 min walk from the hotel, and is touted as the largest sandy beach in Asia. It was built in 1901 by the Germans after they invaded Qingdao and became a popular playtime spot for foreigners. After China reclaimed the beach, they spiffed it up and it now boasts more than 900 (!!) showers, temporary chalets for rent, restaurants, emergency life-saving gear, and a security system that covers the whole beach. Impressive!

We spent the late-afternoon vegging on the beach, just lounging around enjoying the sun and people watching. It was awwwwesome. After the air got cooler since the sun was going down, we headed to a little food joint also on the beach for some good ‘ol BBQ grub and ice cold beer. The beer of choice? Tsingtao beer, of course! Qingdao is the home of Tsingtao beer, and is served as a draft beer in restaurants. However, since this was a tiny eatery, bottled was all the had. No matter, it was icy cold and sooo good after a hot day out! It’s a weak beer though, I think, as we had 1 bottle (each 1L I think?) each and weren’t the slightest bit tipsy…

Ordering was certainly…. interesting. The menu was all in Chinese which I couldn’t really read, and I didn’t know how to say a lot of the food we wanted in Chinese (I mean, I can say stuff like “fish” and “chicken”, but not “clams” or “oysters” etc!). So basically ordered some random stuff and they also brought me to see all the seafood so I could look and point out what I wanted. I pointed at some clams, which looked super fresh and clean.

Guy: “blah blah blah, or blah blah blah?”, obviously asking how I wanted it cooked.

Me: (in Chinese) “Sorry…. don’t understand!”

This is when it got pretty hilarious. One guy started doing a little dance, trying to show how it was cooked (looked like it was “stir fry”) and the other guy did another little dance for another cooking method (which I didn’t get!). So I pointed at the first guy :P

AWESOME choice, because it was clams in spicy sauce and it was FABULOUS!!!!!!!!! The clams were the nicest I’ve had in my whole life – so fresh they had no fishy taste whatsoever, and so tender that they weren’t chewy at all. The sauce was so tasty with just the right amount of spice. It was like an explosion of flavour in our mouths.. so good we said “One more plate please!!!!” and moments later, another plate of these ‘lil babies arrived.♦♦

The fried meat on sticks were assorted prawns, lamb, pork and chicken. Very tasty, but these were highly salted so we ended up ordering egg fried rice as well to counteract it (and also fill us up).

Our oysters also blew me away. They were just very simply steamed – no sauce, no nothing. But they were huge, and so so so so tender and soft! No weird chewy bits, no fishy flavour. It was AWESOME. And so plump and clean and fresh.

We were absolutely impressed with this little beachside joint that served up such fresh, incredible food. It’s a shame they don’t exist in Shanghai, we’d be there almost every day!

Lounging about on the beach

Reading whilst soaking in the sun

An early dinner at a beachside eatery

Tsingtao beer, the bottled one though. The draft version (made
right here in Qingdao) is way way way way better!

Lightly roasted peanuts. Great to snack on whilst people-watching on
the beach, and pretty healthy too!

Fantastic spicy clams

BBQ skewers of prawns, pork, lamb, chicken

Fat oysters, these were absolutely amazing

Watching the sunset

A lovely way to end the day!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 14 June 2009 (Sun) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

QINGDAO – STROLLING THE BEACHES WITH CHRIS

Chris flew into Qingdao last night to join me for the weekend – woohoo! After a 1 hour (grrrr) flight delay, he finally arrived at just past 11pm. Fortunately we had a good ‘ol buffet breakfast to look forward to this morning – mmmm… It’s a pretty good selection of Chinese and Western breakfast, though the star dish is their cooked-to-order eggs. For some reason, their eggs are cooked perfectly! Plus they’re big with nice fat yolks. Mmm…

We spent most of the day wandering around the area. Namely Badaguan which is just behind the hotel and is so European it really felt like we were back in Australia. There were few/no people on the quiet streets and they were lined with green trees and lots of little parks everywhere. It was gorgeous and so lovely to stroll around, a nice breather from Shanghai – which is worlds apart.

We walked all along the beach front for hours, and in one area, were totally surprised (and amused) to see TONS AND TONS of brides and grooms! Turns out that everyone comes to this area for their wedding photography, and it’s not hard to see why – the view is fantastic and if you’re from the inland with no sea, this turly makes a memorable photoshoot. Really wishing I’d known this before, then Chris and I could’ve arranged for a photoshoot too! It was pretty funny seeing SO MANY brides there though.. it was literally everywhere you looked. They also all had their entourage of makeup artist, photographer, photographer’s assistant, etc. It was one of the most amazing scenes we’ve ever seen – I don’t think we’d ever forget it ;)

Whilst in Huashi Building, which basically looks like a small castle situated on top of the hill, a lady came up to us and asked where we were from. Turns out she’s from Australia too! And not only that, she and her husband have just moved to China too (to a city 2 hrs north of Qingdao). They said that in the 8 weeks they’ve been in China, we were the first foreigners they’d seen. Apparently their city has all local Chinese only. Was fascinated to find out that they were the 1st foreigner couple to be married at this church in Port Moresby, which is the SAME Chris’ parents attended when they lived in Papua New Guinea – how coincidental is that?! They were such such lovely people, and so friendly and interested in different cultures and experience. I love people like that, can’t stand it when people are just stuck in their country, convinced it’s the best, and refuse to leave it to see other countries. We exchanged cards so we can meet up when they’re next in Shanghai :)

The breakfast buffet. For some reason, they do one of the best
easy-over fried eggs I’ve ever had. It’s perfect every morning!!

There’s this road behind our hotel, all tree-lined and with
European-style villas. Nice!

A serene ‘lil park we stumbled upon

A super cute toy-like house

What a far cry Qingdao is to the flat-out mentalness of Shanghai!
Sooo quiet and not many people around – bliss

Pretty foilage means lots of people do photoshoots here,
there were 4 couples on this street!

And so I decided to take my own photos, hehehhe

A stall on the beach selling shell necklaces, etc

Beach, with perfect blue skies

We counted ELEVEN bridal couples doing photoshoots in just this ‘lil area!

So we got in on the action too ;)

Stopped by a teeny ‘lil cart (you can see the red cart in the background)
that made us crepe with egg, lettuce, chives, sausage and a spicy sauce.
It was big, and so filling – all for US$0.50!

Relaxing under a tree overlooking the ocean

Huashi Building was home to the president of Kuomintang.
It’s basically a castle on top of a hill, overlooking the ocean.

A pretty chinese vase inside Huashi Building

The ground floor – doesn’t look that homely to me to be honest..

Master and Madam of the house. Haha.

Climbing up towards the roof

Gorgeous views

Was kinda nervous I’d fall off the other side, which was a very steep drop!

Chris.. contemplating the meaning of life

Climbing right up to the very top, above the trees

With our new Aussie friends, who recently moved to China. We were
the first non-Chinese that they had seen since they moved 8 wks ago!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 13 June 2009 (Sat) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

QINGDAO – WORKING & EATING

Conference day today.. it was filled with presentations and more presentations. I nominated myself to be the first, which I later patted myself on the back for – best to get your presentation out of the way early-on when everyone is still alert and paying attention! The conference room was really strange. It looked more like a restaurant banquet private room than a meeting room! A circular table with a lazy-susan in the middle, and the Chinese-style padded restaurant chairs. Nevertheless, it was really nice and comfortable inside, so we were happy.

Lunch was a short break in a room downstairs, where the hotel served us a storm of dishes – way way way more than we could finish. It was only until dinnertime when we could really let loose, since all the presentations were over. Last night, I’d spotted a revolving restaurant way up high in a hotel, and pointed it out. And today, our lovely guide went over to check it out, gave it the thumbs up, and booked us in there for dinner. It was a great idea, because it meant we could take in the gorgeous views of Qingdao at sunset. So so pretty!

The buffet itself was extensive, and not bad, but not amazing either. I guess pricey revolving restaurants serving buffets generally are better at ambience than the food ;) There was a nice selection, but they replenished really slowly (even when I snarkily told them it was NOT acceptable not to replenish asap when people had paid for a buffet). Doesn’t matter though, because we sat there for 2.5hours and I ATE MY WEIGHT IN FOOD. Made sure we got our money’s worth, hehe. Loved the deep fried oysters and scallops-in-shell. The lamb chops and sausages were fab too. And I loved their taro ice cream and 11230483 different dessert cakes/tarts!

The cool thing was that the restaurant serves free-flow of fresh Tsingtao beer, which originates and is made right here in Qingdao. We all loved it and chugged down icy cold beer with our food. A fabulous way to have dinner with the team, though I think I must stay away from buffets in future…. I’m thinking I’m kinda unstoppable around them…..

Looking out the window from our conference room

Our lunch banquet

Round #1 of 3 :P

Downstairs outside the dinner restaurant

And then it was up to the top floor!

Gorgeous view of Qingdao

Buffet spread – the mains

More food

Just one side of the desserts

BBQ lamb chops, chicken wings, sausages and bacon!

We watched the sun set over Qingdao

Just before we started ploughing our way through the buffet ;)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 12 June 2009 (Fri) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

QINGDAO – checking into the hotel

We left just before noon to the airport.. because it was 1 hour’s drive away. Got there and we were *STARVING*, or at least I was, and nearly started eating my luggage bag or fainting right there and then. Or both. So after checking in (took only 5 mins – brilliant), we chowed down on some food near our airline gate. It was average at best, but insanely expensive. I guess what can you expect from airport food right?

Our flight was 1.5 hours, during which I completely conked out and woke up only when the pilot announced that we were landing. I love my ability to sleep on anything and in anything, it’s practically a talent ;) I never get insomnia, I sleep within 10 mins of getting into bed, and I don’t really dream either. Weird huh??! Just call me Super Sleeper ;)

Our guides (1 in Chinese, 1 in Korean for our boss, but NONE in English for me – arghhh!) met us at the airport and had a mini bus waiting for us. It took another 1 hour to drive to the hotel. So that’s 2 hours of driving, and 1.5 hours in the plane, *lol*.

Checked into Wu Sheng Guang Hotel which is a spectacular hotel – smack bang on No. 1 Bathing Beach! Yes, odd name, it’s basically just a beach with loads of water sports and activities. The service was fantastic, though they did meticulously analyse the 3 of us with foreign passports (apparently because of swine flu, so they’re nervous about foreigners), and then we headed up to our rooms.

And I’ve got the Deluxe Suite! Walked into the door and was greeted with a large living room and office desk, and thought “Oh, where’s the bed” Turns out it was in another room, haha. And then “Oh, where’s the bathroom?” and turns out it’s down the corridor and actually looks into the bedroom (voyeur style). The bathroom is my favourite – it’s massive! I especially adore the large rainshower in the shower. I stood under there having a shower for the longest time ever, looking through the window-wall straight into the bedroom, and out the other window overlooking Qingdao. Nice views!

The mattress, however, has totally stumped me. I’d heard that Chinese mattresses were (in)famously hard, but didn’t really remember it. I kind of jumped to sit on the bed and nearly broke my tailbone. It was BLOODY HARD!!!! Like sleeping on a wooden plank. Gah. I like pillowy soft mattresses and lots of padding underneath, so I’m totally enveloped in my bed and feel the luxury. This was not really that :P But fortunately, being Super Sleeper, I’m OK with sleeping on it.

After 2 hours of working in our hotel rooms (yes, we really do have to work when we’re here!), we headed out to dinner at Qingdao Restaurant. It was a great experience. Loved how there’s no regular menu, but rather a real life menu – you walk around pointing at the dishes you want, which are all laid out! I also spotted loads of weird/unnameable seafood. We did order some (and some of which I tried, others I didn’t dare) but also didn’t order the ones that even the locals thought were weird ;)

It was a staggeringly large meal. About 13-14 dishes for 7 people. I ate and ate and ate until someone announced “See? I told you she eats ALOT”, at which point I got guilted into putting down my chopsticks :P I don’t care – the I’M-GETTING-MARRIED diet starts on Monday when we get back!!!

All of us at the airport, waiting to board

In Qingdao, on the way to our hotel

Pretty corridor walking to my suite

The Deluxe Suite’s living room, with free internet, yay!

Bathroom – my fave part is the massive rain shower (not in photo)

Bedroom, looking into the bathroom at the far end

The view from the window

After settling in our rooms and doing work for 2 hours, we headed
out to dinner, at a restaurant very aptly called: Qingdao Restaurant

Walking in

There’s no regular paper menu here. Instead, you walk around the main hall
and a waiter follows you whilst you point at dishes you want to order!

Except all the dishes had me salivating ;)

I LOVE how you can see in real life what the food will be like!

Array of fish on ice

These weird spiky but soft… thingys

Sea urchin, I’m pretty sure?

I think these are silkworms. They were ALIVE and wriggling everywhere! Egads.

Helpfully pointing out where the veggies are

This yoghurt drink, it was good!

Spicy pork pancakes

Calamari and something (that’s good for the liver) I didn’t quite catch

Braised fatty pork with steamed buns – soooooo good

Whole steamed fish – tender!

Bamboo clams, I think they’re called? A bit too big and weird for me

Braised eggplant – this was pretty much my fave dish. It was divine!!!

‘Lil clams – ultra tasty and a wee bit spicy

Some sorta veg with freaky worm thingys (that were wriggling
in the tank before), didn’t dare eat it.

Salt & pepper lobster – star dish!

Whole baby abalone – I’ve never eaten abalone (too scary) but felt
obliged to this time cos it was so $$. Didn’t like it, too weird :P

Assortment of shelled stuff. Only ate the one in the middle ‘cos it
looked like clams, the others looked a bit too scary!

Asparagus and mushrooms – not bad but nothing amazing

Crab – nice, but just too little meat and hassle to pick off the shell

Yam in syrup – at least thats what I think it was, no idea what it
really is, but it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Loved loved loved loved it.

There’s this MASSIVE TV screen outside, so people sitting at the beach can see

Took a walk along the beach afterwards since the air was balmy and perfect

First time I’ve stepped on sand in China :P

WHEE!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 12 June 2009 (Fri) in Qingdao, Uncategorized

 

OFF TO QINGDAO

Off to Qindao today, for a 4-day team offsite!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 11 June 2009 (Thu) in Qingdao, Uncategorized