Tonight I met my friend M. and his friend T. at a night market in Wudaokou, the part of town where most of Beijing’s universities are located, and to which I’ve never really ventured before, except when I had to take the various parts of the GRE exam last fall. M., and especially T., know the area a lot better than I do, and it was worth making the trek just to get out of my small neighborhood, even if the night market was hyped a bit beyond reality, which is to say, from what I’d heard I’d imagined it was interesting, and it turned out to be not particularly cool. However, a couple of vendors did have some exciting fare, like gigantic live crawfish stir-fried with spices on the spot, good pork jiaozi (dumplings) with spicy bean sauce, cucumber, and cilantro, and Yanjing Beer (Beijing’s hometown ale–Yanjing is an old name for the city) on tap, unusual for a city where beer is much more common bottled than draft. In all, it was a fine night, made more so by a return to M.’s apartment for some Trivial Pursuit and homemade banana bread–and, at the very least, a delicious one.
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