I was able to control my baking cravings for 28 days. On the 29th day I made a cheesecake. But making the cake wasn’t to sooth my own needs, but it was to give one of my new friends in Beijing the birthday cake he deserved.
Making a cake in a small room in a dorm demands some creativity. I was only able to make a no-bake cake, since I don’t have an oven and because I didn’t take any of my tools with me, I either had to buy them new or try to think of creative ways to get the result I wanted. In the end it was more about the symbolism than about it being the perfect cake, but luckily the b-day boy liked it.
Today I had my first class at my uni in Beijing. Since I don’t have any course outlines I had no idea what kind of treat I was in for, but apparently we’ll be discussing texts of Confucius in this class. After class ended I was – and still am – exhausted of my one and a half hour of trying to understand what the teacher said in Chinese, so when I got home I really needed some comfort food. Eventually I had – surprisingly – Chinese food for dinner, but the thing that I was really craving was a decent pizza. One with a crispy crust, delicious toppings and caramalized mozzarella and parmesan on top. I guess I’ll just have to look at the pictures instead.
Getting myself multiple decent dinners and snacks a day is not the only thing I do in Beijing. Since classes will start tomorrow I had the last two weeks to arrange things for uni, get settled in my room, get myself accustomed to the neighbourhood, partying and of course also some sightseeing.
Our first trip – or at least the first one where I didn’t forget my camera – brought us to the Forbidden City. The architectonics were amazing and knowing a bit about the history (for a quick update look here) made it way more interesting to walk around between the humongous buildings. What really made the trip special was the spectacular view – thanks to the clear blue sky – you had from one of the towers outside the walls where you could look all over Beijing.
Some international students I’ve met tell me they’ve a hard time getting used to eating Chinese food for breakfast – I can tell you I have no problem adjusting to this myself. The other day I got out of bed a bit late and was extremely hungry. I went to this tiny little restaurant and asked what they recommended. This is how I ended up having a steaming hot bowl of beef noodle soup 牛肉面 as my breakfast.
But a thing I end up getting almost every single morning is a steamed bun filled with meat – 包子. These breads don’t even cost €0.20 and are totally awesome. I prefer mine filled with pork or beef, but they also sell it with veggies, somethings that looks like thin glass noodles, chicken, tofu or other things that I cannot understand in Chinese.
For the last one and a half week I have been eating like a queen. Every meal I had was made by someone else – either served to me in a restaurant of bought from small food stalls on the street. Almost every single thing I ate was incredibly delicious and even though food in Beijing is much more expensive than in other parts of China, it still is very cheap compared to Dutch prices.
Yesterday I was scanning through some pictures I took from my last couple of weeks in the Netherlands – things I haven’t blogged about yet – and then I started missing Western food and cooking. When I saw the pictures of this tiramisu I got an instant craving for it. Me and my housemates had it as a dessert after this porchetta. I’ve added a little bit more limoncello than the recipe said and it gave the tiramisu a delicious lemony flavor without being too overpowering. It got us all pretty tipsy though.