We were curious to try the restaurant Esperanto (now permanently closed) for dinner while in Stockholm. Esperanto is a one Michelin star restaurant that specializes in a fusion of Japanese and Swedish cuisine.
Arriving in London, first stop: Granary Square in King’s Cross
For Christmas, we gave Dook and Els a 3 day trip to London in February. I really love London and have been lucky enough to go quite often over the years, so I volunteered to create the itinerary. Not everyone had been in London before, so I created a 3 day introduction to London planning!
For Koen’s birthday, we decided to try Les Saveurs de Yamada, a Japanese restaurant specializing in Kaiseki Ryori. We had the pleasure of discovering kaiseki when we were in Kyoto in 2016 and were excited to discover we could experience it in Antwerp, as well!
I’m so happy my best friend is married to someone from the Netherlands. That means every once a while she’ll be closeby and we can see each other! Antwerp/New York City is a long distance, but when we’re together it’s like no time has passed!
After visiting the Summer Palace, we headed back to the hutongs in search of lunch. We figured we’d wonder around and try to find somewhere that looks good. Along the way we sampled some Old Beijing Yoghurt and shaobing filled with red bean paste before stumbling upon Hua’s Restaurant. This had to be fate. I had researched best traditional Beijing restaurants and had really wanted to visit Hua’s but there wasn’t any time. But then we discovered it by accident! We had a HUGE feast, trying as much traditional food as possible! Hua’s is quite famous because they serve imperial-style food, using recipes from “Notes of Imperial Court Food” written during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Mao Zedong once said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man”. No trip to Beijing is complete with a visit to the Great Wall of China, one of the New7Wonders of the World! Such beautiful views!
Peking Duck is the dish of Beijing (formerly Peking), and has been around since the imperial era. I love Peking Duck so much and could not wait to try it in Beijing. Koen and I weren’t in Beijing so long, so we had to decide how many times we’d eat it and where. In the end we decided to try Peking Duck 2 ways: more modern and lean at Da Dong and more rustic and traditional at Siji Minfu.
*At the end of the post I’ll show you step by step how to prepare a Peking duck pancake in the correct way!
After we checked into our hotel we first ventured out for lunch because we were starving. But what to eat first? You should know that Beijing is in Northern China, so the most famous dishes are with wheat rather than rice. So that means lots of buns, noodles, and dumplings! We decided to just venture out and stop somewhere that looked good. That brought us to a delicious hot pot restaurant!
Because I was so happy with our hotel in Beijing, I decided to make an entire post about the Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel! Our hotel is located in the hutongs: centuries-old, tree-lined alleyways that are the true heartbeat of this unique city and a real-life link to its fascinating past. We had so much fun exploring/accidentally exploring because we got very lost amonst all of the hutongs (there’s not Google Maps in China).
The location is perfect, the hotel is beautiful, and the staff is so nice and friendly.
Our last day in Mongolia was my favorite day. I went to Mongolia hoping to experience the nomadic life and was able to in the end. We started the day very early, so we could be on time to see how the cows and yaks are milked before they set off wandering the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Inside the ger we were able to try yak milk tea, yak cream, and yak curd!
We were also so lucky that the weather changed during the night. Still a bit cold, but we had a blue sky and sunshine!