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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

Australia Day in Beijing: Two Guys take over Stadium Dog; Aussie beer, Strange Visitations, DJ Fat ‘Troy’ Slim at Fubar

2014 aussie day beijing
Some typical Australians…

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Update: In addition to the Two Guys and a Pie / Coopers & VB / DJ Fat ‘Troy’ Slim / Strange Visitations / Etc extravaganza described below, I am aware of two more events re Australia Day this year:

  • AustCham is hosting a buffet lunch, including BBQ station, with free-flow Aussie beer, Ironbark Hill wine and sodas from 11 AM to 4 PM on January 26 at Renaissance Beijing. The event includes gelato by Via Milano, flat whites by Coffeeman and the Triple J Hottest 100. Members price rmb280, nonmember price rmb380. To RSVP or for more details, see here.
  • The Beijing Bombers will hold an Australia Day party at The Local on January 26, starting from noon.

As for the extravaganza…

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A long time ago (four or five years) in a land far away (Nanluguoxiang) I used to mark the national day of my antipodean friends (they’re Australia and I’m Canadian) by organizing a pub crawl in The Vegemite Triangle. Said triangle included a trio of pubs at least partly owned or managed by Aussies, a people whose contributions to global culture include Les Patterson, Air Supply and Vegemite. Said trio comprised Ned’s (named for a villain or a hero, depending on whom you talk to), 12SQM (that later inflated to 44 square meters) and Mao Mao Chong (probably the only one of the three I’d trust to make a cocktail with this stuff).

Beijing will no doubt see hundreds many events for Australian Day this year, given that country’s citizens enjoy any chance to indulge in a beverage or two. Like wearing hats or winning some weird thing called The Ashes.

One of them will be an Australia Day’s eve party at Fubar, from 6 PM until late, on January 25*.

Two Guys and a Pie will take over Stadium Dog out front and effectively turn it into Stadium Pie while the bar proper will have Coopers and VB beers, Aussie wines, (probaby) Bundaberg rum and music by the band Strange Visitations and DJ Fat “Troy” Slim, the latter potentially wearing his red velour jacket. Two-for-one on that VB (rmb35) and Coopers (rmb45) until 9:30 PM. See poster below for more details.

* I realize Australia Day is on January 26, it’s just that this party is a day earlier, so if you hang around until midnight you have both covered, right? And for those who haven’t read this far, and instead saw “January 25″ and immediately decided to send me an angry email about my ignorance of Australian history, then all I have to say is, “Double dingo chinwaggin’ tinnie outback bludger tickety-boo.”

australia day party 2014 beijing china

See also:

Lace ‘em up: Curtis Dracz on this Saturday’s Houhai Pond Hockey Tournament

houhai pond hockey tournament photo by beijing hockey~

The puck drops this Saturday for the second annual Houhai Pond Hockey Tournament. Slated from 9 AM to 5 PM, the tournament will see 14 teams compete to be this year’s champion. I asked Curtiz Dracz of Hockey Bar and CanLife about the event.

You guys had 14 teams and over 100 players participate in the Houhai Pond Hockey Tournament last year. How did that work out and what can we expect this year?

Last year was a blast. Even though the ice quality was not that good by lunch time, everyone made the best of it. This year, we have teams from Shanghai and Dalian coming in, as well as 12 Beijing teams. We’ve adjusted the schedule and venue to hopefully bypass the poor ice problem. In the end, we’re keeping it simple: hockey, beers, music chirping.

What’s the format?

It’s a 4-on-4 tournament, with no goalies, just a small goal. Games are short with twelve-minute halves. Each team plays four games and the top four teams move on to the playoffs.

Who is playing and how experienced are they?

We have a mix of everyone — girls, guys, Chinese, foreigners, young and old. It’s a pretty diverse group of players. That’s how our league is, too. And everyone plays to a respectful level, especially out on the lake.

What kind of food can attendees expect? Any beer? Tim Horton’s coffee? Will George Smith [of Irish Volunteer] be presenting white wine lovers with sippy cups full of Chardonnay?

George will make a special delivery of fresh Irish stew out to the lake for lunch. And yes, I am sure there will be some ‘Pinot Georgio’ packed in a cooler. Hockey Bar is serving beers all day to participants. The post-tournament banquet is down at the new Home Plate Bar-B-Q. Seth Grossman [of Home Plate] has been trying to get in our league for a while, so we thought it would be a fun event to cooperate on. Around 7:30 PM, we’ll be heading back to the Hockey Bar for the finale.

Who gets to drive the zamboni?

Shovels! The losing team of each game is responsible for cleaning and repairing the ice. It’s not as bad as it sounds and most guys do not hesitate to do this with a beer in their hand.

Here’s a hypothetical question: Would you rather get blindsided by a basketball-sized meteor falling from the heavens or Wendel Clark in his prime with a full sheet of ice to gather steam?

It’s pretty much the same thing, no? My stomach turns thinking of Wendel coming across the blue line looking for a hit.

What is your best memory of last year’s tournament?

Watching the playoff rounds, which turned into a shootout due to the ice quality. It was the first time I had a break all day. I stepped back, looked around and just loved seeing the 100-plus people drinking beers, telling stories and having a laugh.