Watch arguably the best Chinese New Year fireworks video of the past 5000 years

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The stress of work deadlines, this blog’s enduring technical problems and a lack of preparation for the upcoming holidays recently inspired me to take a mental vacation and make a few (kind of) Upworthy-inspired headlines to celebrate Chinese New Year (see below). This also seems an appropriate time to post — as per annual tradition — a pair of Youtube videos for friends outside of China. They show the scope of the holiday fireworks here, as seen from my apartment window, and will awe and shock and amaze and surprise you. And, if you get too close, potentially blow your mind…

As the clock strikes midnight…

Just outside my window…

An Upworthy Chinese New Year…

upworthy cny

Year of the Horse? Meet the inspiring donkey that calls it discrimination.

If large gift-wrapped boxes of fruit were solid gold, these people would be the richest in the world.

You won’t believe what happened when this Beijing man spent the holidays asking hundreds of strangers, “Want some stuff?”

This man was blown into next Tuesday while playing with fireworks. How he returned from the future will amaze you.

Cut in front of 17 million people at Beijing Railway Station with this one weird trick.

Meet the dumpling maker who will change your mind about shredded cardboard as a filling.

When these people were told to stop letting off fireworks indoor, they did something amazing. They let off even more.

This foreigner’s complaints about Chinese New Year fireworks are worth .008 seconds of your time.

The shocking part of this photo isn’t the size of the dumpling. It’s why this man is eating while nude.

This man’s boss gave him an empty red envelope for Chinese New Year. You won’t believe what he filled it with in return.

The Year of the Snake will be out of work next week. You’ll be shocked at who offered it a job.

This little girl wrote the cutest epic poem about the difference between smog and fireworks smoke. Read it here. Out loud.

This woman’s daughter brought her barbarian boyfriend home for the holidays. How she broke them up with this one simple trick.

Meet the man who gave a Chinese orphanage two thousand kilos of fireworks.

This official’s son asked for a Ferrari for Chinese New Year. You won’t believe what his dad got him instead.

This foreigner decided to travel in China during New Year. You’ll laugh in joy and sadness at how he breaks down in utter frustration.

Most people think China has over one billion people. Here’s the shocking reason why they’re right.

This New Year video about color-blind people and red envelopes will bring a tear to your eye. The fact it is done in black and white makes it even better.

chen and a huge pile of money

Sips & bites: Last call at Scarlett, Daze, plus Janes & Hooch, Great Leap, Jing A

The bar called Scarlett held its closing party tonight — there was a 150-kuai free-flow booze deal — as Hotel G wraps up a five year-plus run in Beijing. I’ve enjoyed some fun times there but I do worry about where this guy is going to get his baked Alaska.

Daze — in the former Zap Urban Eatery space — is also closing. Look for drink specials today (Saturday) from 3 PM, including house wine at rmb25 per glass — see the poster below. I’m told the place will close for good on Sunday.

Cocktail bar Janes & Hooch now has snacks via Okra Works just across the way. You can get marinated olives, dates wrapped in smoked maple bacon, and more, and word is other items are on the way.

Both locations of Great Leap Brewery marked the release yesterday of the third edition of the “Yunnan Amber” made in partnership with Boxing Cat Brewery in Shanghai. This one has three malts, three hops and Yunnan tea.

Jing A is starting “brewer’s table” events that include a tour of the facilities at The Big Smoke, a tasting of the half-dozen beers on tap and whatever is in the tanks, and snacks. The first one is February 26 and costs rmb100. Reservation essential. Get a spot by emailing richard (at) capitalbrew.com.

Also of note, click here for some Australia Day events this weekend and here for a list of some spots in Beijing showing the Super Bowl.

great leap brewery boxing cat brewery yunnan amber

Ming fling: Free 1421 wine to honor Zheng He tomorrow night

zheng he party at fubar beijing

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A party to honor China’s most famous seafarer, Admiral Zheng He, is set for tomorrow night — Thursday — and will include an hour of free wine and two hours of deals by 1421, the company named for a highly disputed book that claims the man in question sailed from China that year and visited New Zealand, Australia, South America, North American, Antarctica, Greenland — pretty much everywhere.

The party is billed as a “welcome back” because maybe, just maybe, someone has another Zheng He book coming out that claims his subsequent mission was a nearly 600-year round-trip deal to Mars and he is slated to return to China any day now. (Just maybe.)

Whatever the case, the 1421 team will be wearing Ming Dynasty outfits and pouring free ‘Silver’ Chardonnay and ‘Silver’ Cabernet Sauvignon from 7 PM to 8 PM at Fubar. Those same wines will then be available at rmb14 per glass from 8 PM to 9 PM, then rmb21 per glass from 9 PM to 10 PM. See the poster above.

Dress code: Ming Dynasty / casual

Music: DJ BB Deng

Hot dogs: Yes. After all, if Zheng He discovered America, he probably found Coney Island and is thus somehow directly responsible for this.

If you want more info, check the Wikipedia pages on Zheng He and the treasure voyages, this National Geographic map of the fleet’s stops and this biography. If you read Chinese, here is a 20-page article from Journal of Chinese Studies (summary in English at end).

1421 Wines front and back label silver chardonnay

Finger food: This Pork Knuckle at Groovy Schiller’s

groovy schiller's pork knuckle beijing china
I took a dozen photos but none do this pork knuckle justice.

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If you plan to order the pork knuckle at Groovy Schiller’s, you might want to bring a yoga mat or sleeping bag, so you can curl up in a corner afterward for a two-hour nap. Maybe it was because I’d had a few appetizers earlier, or my stomach decided to downsize, but that pork knuckle — in my mind, the size of Andre the Giant’s fist — was a gut buster. Eating it took 30 minutes and I imagined each mouthful — crispy skin, still warm fat, tender meat — rearranging in my stomach until a reproduction of the pork knuckle just consumed sat there. And dared me to move. Or avoid the hiccups. Or try to dissolve it with schnapps some guy from Austria decided to share with us.

Price: rmb50. Make sure you don’t have to work the next day.

Anyway, groovy times at Schiller’s. Jack Zhou — also of The Bar — is always fun, the staff is nice and the place has that “local” vibe. The new extension on the first-floor provides an alternative to the bar area inside the door and the room upstairs. Speaking of the latter, it has lots of potential. Maybe a quiz night? Or weekly beer tasting event? Or a space to sleep off pork knuckles?

The schnapps…

Patty patrol: Burger Break opens in Shuangjing

burger break fuli shuangjing beijing china (1)

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Looks like burger fans in Shuangjing have a new option. Jean Gu says she and her husband have opened a cafe called Burger Break in the same block as the Gung Ho pizza outlet. The focus is flame-broiled burgers, says Gu, who adds she went to culinary school in Toronto.

Beef burgers start at rmb38 for “The Classic” with onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles and homemade sauce. Other burgers include cheese and bacon at rmb48, avocado and cheese at rmb58, and double cheese (two patties) at rmb78. There is also one called a “Sunshine Burger”, with cheese and fried egg, at rmb43. Fries are extra.

Appetizers range from Buffalo chicken wings at rmb48 to Cajun-seasoned fries at rmb23, while the salads include a Cobb at rmb52.

I’m overdue for a trip to Shuangjing, so I’ll try and get up there soon to check out these burgers.

Burger Break: 10-3 Fuli City Xingguang Avenue / 5862-1099.

Burger Break Shuangjing Beijing China Avocado Cheese burger