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Lesson 26 Beijing Snacks

Chinese Lover



































Colleague: It's time to go. Xuemei, wher are you going to have dinner? Why not come and have some Beijing snacks with me?

Xue Mei: My husband and daughter went to the night market on Wangfujing a couple of days ago. They said there were many kinds of snacks.

Colleague: It's only 5 o'clock. The night market isn't open yet. I'll take you to a place specializing in Beijing snacks. There you can eat all you like.

Xue Mei: That’s terrific. My daughter told me fried pancakes are delicious. Do they have any there?

Colleague: Fried pancakes? They’re not an authentic Beijing snack. As far as I know, they come from Tianjin.

Xue Mei: So they’re not a Beijing speciality. Well, besides fried pancakes, are there any other snacks from outside Beijing?

Colleague: There’re lots of them, like fried smelly beancurd, sliced bean jelly, mutton kebab, among others.

Xue Mei: So what snacks are unique to Beijing?

Colleague: Don’t be so anxious. You’ll find out soon.

Xue Mei: Well, please don’t keep me waiting.

Colleague: Come along with me, and you’re sure to find something you like.

Xue Mei: Well, it’s quite spacious in here.

Colleague: Xuemei, take a look. These are little corn buns, and those are pea flour cakes.

Xue Mei: Hey, what’s that? It’s a beautiful color.

Colleague: That’s haw jelly. Do you want to try a piece?

Xue Mei: Sure. It’s tart but sweet. Very tasty. Are these all Beijing snacks?

Colleague: Yes. In fact, Beijing snacks include popular snacks and palace snacks.

Xue Mei: Palace? You mean, wher the emperor lived?

Colleague: That’s right. The corn buns and pea flour cakes you saw just now are palace snacks. It is said the Empress Dowager liked them.

Xue Mei: Then, what are the popular snacks?

Colleague: Popular snacks are ordinary people’s favorites, like fermented bean drink, fried dough rings and pig liver stew.

Xue Mei: Which tastes best?

Colleague: It’s hard to tell. It mainly depends on personal taste. Well, I’d like you to try some fermented bean drink.

Xue Mei: My husband mentioned it. He loves it!

Colleague: Most Beijingers like to drink it. Get me one bowl of fermented bean drink!

Xue Mei: Let me try. It tastes so strange! I can’t stand it.

Colleague: You should drink more to get used to the flavor. Have some more?

Xue Mei: Better not.Thanks!

Colleague: Then try this fried dough ring. Older Beijingers will have a bite of fried dough ring with a fermented bean drink for their breakfast.

Xue Mei: Does the fried dough ring taste strange, too?

Colleague: Of course not.

Xue Mei: This is fine.


1)据 according to


As far as I know, she's never been to China before.


According to statistics, the number of foreigners studying Chinese is increasing all the time.

2)反正 anyway, regardless


It doesn't matter what he ways; regardless, I don't believe a word he ways.


It doesn't matter what the weather is like; regardless, I'm not going anywher today.

Sign Posts

Mini Buns

There are too many kinds of snack foods in Beijing to introduce in this short program, but there is a special story about one type of food 小窝头 that is supposed to have been passed down from the imperial family. 窝头 are hard, cone-shaped buns usually made with corn or sorghum flour. Traditionally, they are about the size of an adults fist, and are something eaten by people who can’t afford anything better. They are extremely common, but not very refined or pleasant to eat.

The story has it that when foreign powers invaded Beijing around the turn of the century, the Empress Dowager fled to the countryside. She was far too accustomed to living in luxury, but her servants didn't have time to prepare anything and didn't know what to give her. After a while, she was so hungry they had to do something, so they gave her these 窝头 that local peasants had prepared.

After eating a lifetime's worth of imperial cuisine, the Empress Dowager was thrilled with this strange food she had never seen before. She was also so hungry, she probably would have liked anything. But the conclusion is, she liked them so much that she ordered her imperial chefs to prepare them for her when they returned to the Forbidden City. They followed her orders, of course, but made the 窝头 in miniature form using the finest flours fit for royalty. This was the origin of 小窝头.

Many snack foods have stories about their origin. This is just one example.

Substitution and Extension

1)这得看…… that depends on


wher you choose to travel depends on your personal interest.

2)要不然… otherwise


You should wear more clothing; otherwise you'll catch a cold.