The Chinese occasionally have a habit of running words together when they put the Pinyin translation of a phrase or name in print. That might explain why this beer’s name is so long. Still I can’t recall drinking a beer with a longer name than Landaijituanlanshi Pijiu or Beer. Nice bit of Chinglish on the can, which ends up promising to make you feel well. Even the presence of the “best quality Australian grain” doesn’t separate this bevvy from the very large pack of bland Chinese pale lagers. Still, drink enough of these and you won’t feel much at all.
Xi’an has a ton of places to see and a highlight for me was the Big Goose Pagoda (yes, there’s a Little Goose Pagoda and no, I don’t know why it’s called Big Goose). It’s in the middle of a very large public space and there are acres of fountains in front of the temple wall and large pedestrian strip at the back where many kites are flown. There’s also an impressive statue of a buddhist bloke. It was built in 652AD and offers awesome North, East, South and West views from the top floor. A must do on any trip to Xi’an.
The stair climb and all the other walking around the temple left me parched and I didn’t expect to find a bar until we travelled the 4km back to the city centre. We randomly took a road looking for a cab and was delighted to find found a great little strip of bars with views of the Pagoda. Most were small Chinese bars serving Chinese Budweiser and Chinese Carlsberg. I chose the Bierhaus, which served genuine Paulaner and even had a crowd of genuine ruddy faced Germans enjoying some steins. The menu offered Bavarian fare including white veal sausage and Schnitzel. Amazing what you stumble across.
I previously lamented the lack of a local Nanjing beverage. Well, Xi’an certainly has its favourite drop and it’s Hans. I think it is a local brand that had been taken over by Tsingtao, and in all the restaurants around town you can’t get anything else. It’s the beer they drink round here.
There’s at least 4 varieties – Red Wolf, 9 degrees, Pineapple and Dry. The Dry is easily the most popular and the Xi’anians give it a fair old lash. I’ve only one bloke drinking rice wine, everyone else has been pouring Hans Dry down their throat like it is their last. Let’s just say it is an adequate session beer and not really distinguishable from the 9 degree.
It doesn’t add much to the cost of a meal either – generally most places charge between 5 and 10RMB for a 560ml longie. Again, if you are prepared to eat on the street amongst the locals, it’s bloody cheap. Xi’an’s famous for its Muslim quarter and there are an infinite number of shops dishing out noodles, soups, meat on skewers, dumplings and sweets. One dish we tried was Biang Biang Mian, which is 3.8m long paper thin noodle in a shallot and chilli sauce. Awesome. And if you go to Xi’an find the First Noodle Under the Sun restaurant.
A few years ago, there was a surge in Chinese character tattoos. Hollywood starlets, footballers and thugs were getting inked with script from the Art of War and the like – sometimes with absurd results. At the time a comedian speculated as to whether Chinese were getting inked with English script. Well, the China Daily in its quirky article of the day, gas revealed that Chinese people are inking themselves in English or in some cases, Chinglish. Gees, you could have some fun.