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Guild Hall Dining, #1

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While on a walking tour of Beijing’s Tienanmen Square and environs, I learned that from way back when each province of China has had guild halls where envoys from the provinces would stay. These halls also have restaurants where anyone can sample the best cuisine from each province for a relatively low price.

I found a list of these spots on a blog called Eileen Eats and have wanted to visit some for quite a while. This past weekend I had a friend who was game and we went to Xingjiang Fanzhuang Urumuqi Muncipal Office for lunch.

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Since the blog contains the addresses in Chinese as well as the romanized pinyin, we could show a taxi where to go. Urumuqi is the capital of Xinjiang, a western province with a large population of Uighurs, an ethnic group that differs from the Han Chinese in language, culture and politics. I’ve had good Uighur food in Beijing at a restaurant that’s disappeared and on my trip to Urumuqi.

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Lamb & onions

After a 15 minute taxi ride from the South Cathedral at Xuanwumen, we arrived in a neighborhood and weren’t sure we got to the right place, then we saw a Central Asian facade on a building set back from the street. Sure enough this was the right place.

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Potatoes

Upon entering we where struck by the noisy bustle of the restaurant. The place was busy and the wait staff scurried about. Soon someone noticed us and gave us a card with a number. Then after awhile someone was shouting a number in Chinese and was getting frustrated that no one was responding. I guessed, correctly, that they were calling for us. We were shown to a table and given a menu with English and with photos. Since it seemed we were the only foreigners there we were surprised, and delighted that there was English. The menu featured a lot of lamb dishes and some exotic items like braised camel’s feet. We chose a lamb and onion dish, some meat pockets, which were a lot like what a Mongolian friend would make, and Xinjiang vegetables, which turned out to be potatoes in a spicy sauce.

The food was fine, but not spectacular. Our tab came to 62 rmb (so less than $10 USD). The decor was Central Asian with a touch of Russian.

I think we should have followed Eileen’s advice and gotten the “polou rice.” I was just delighted that we found a place off the beaten path. I’d definitely try another provincial restaurant and possibly go back to this one if a friend was eager. It was easy to get a cab back to the city center.

(Tip – If you don’t speak Chinese, just say Tienanmen or Wangfujing and you’ll get to a place where you’re likely to find something to do or hop on the subway.)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

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Some tiny appetizers, tiny desserts and a tiny teddy bear that the Sofitel surprised me with.

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other themed photos:

Halloween in Japan

Watch this to see what’s on offer in Japan for Halloween. They’ve really taken to this Western holiday, which has certainly gained steam in the U.S. As usual, Simon and Martina make life in Japan look so delightful and fun. Hat’s off to these intrepid foodies. I wouldn’t touch that burger, though I’d be curious about the ice cream.


I’m not a bar person, but this place seems more like a restaurant. In fact most Japanese pubs, called izukayas, are more friendly and offer more food so they aren’t about getting drunk and loud.


A costume parade in Tokyo from last year. I wonder if Simon and Martina will go this year.

I’ll share a bit of what I’ve seen of Halloween in China.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites

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You can’t tell by looking but the green vegetable is very tart and the jelly in the center is very sweet.

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

Trés drôle

To keep diners entertained while waiting for their food, a French restaurant made this video which is projected on to the table. Very clever, non?

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

Eggs

Eggs

A teapot, though it's rather fancy

A teapot, though it’s rather fancy

Persimmons

Persimmons

Taro balls

Taro balls

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts.

Other great photos:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

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Chicago's Wrigley Building

Chicago’s Wrigley Building

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts.

Other great photos:

More Photos of Urumqi

Headscarves

Headscarves

Where the locals shop

Where the locals shop

To see even more photos, click here.

A mosque

A mosque

Butcher

Butcher

Baked goods for sale

Baked goods for sale

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S’mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

I’m going to try to make these next week when I’m home from my Rare Books class.

Jane's Patisserie

A Chocolate Sponge with a biscuit base, topped with a Marshmallow Buttercream, Toasted Marshmallows, Melted Chocolate, and Crushed Biscuits = Campfire style Cupcakes!

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Back in the beginning of February this year I posted a recipe for my Marshmallow Cupcakes (originally named S’mores Cupcakes) and they are seriously delicious – all of the s’mores goodness shoved into a cupcake. However, these weren’t decorated and I had had sooo many requests for a ‘next level’ S’mores Cupcake that I simply had to oblige! (I was also baking them for a birthday, but, ya’noo..)

I tried to make these as S’mores-y as I could considering I’m from Hampshire in the United Kingdom, so you don’t find S’mores themed stuff here often! Such as having to explain what S’mores are to several people, and them realising what they have been missing out on! I don’t have access to Graham Crackers so I substitute for a…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other great photos:

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