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Published: April 14th 2012
Across the street from Tian’anamen square on the east side is Qian Mein. This district is a funky, cool area with commercial and local shops.
You will know you are in Qian Mein when you see a large red landmark welcoming you. Looking down the street is a long wide pedestrian road with a street car that runs every so often. The road is quite long and lined with commercial shops such as H&M, Uniqlo, etc. Many young people come to shop in this area where they can find all the hip brand name shops. The road is quite long and would take you a good 20-30 minutes to walk from one end to another.
As you walk down the street on the south side you will see a few narrow streets that lead into back alleyways giving you a glimpse of where the local hang out. We followed one of the streets into the back lanes where we found a whole host of local shops and restaurants. The laneways or hutongs represent the true local fabric of Beijing. We continued to walk through the various hutongs southward until we hit a huge open, pedestrian area. It was like
going through the woods to a huge clearing to see a whole other city. A wider road, shops on either side, you could see locals milling about going about their everyday business. Huge tea shops, dim sum, book stores, fast food, herbs etc. It was fantastic! I loved this area of the city.
One thing to take note of, in the local areas very few people speak English. People are friendly and will try to help you as much as they can, but all the menu items, etc. are in Chinese (obviously).
We headed back to the main entrance of Qian Mein after soaking up the local shops. We went for lunch at the Capitol M restaurant. It’s located on the second floor on the right side (heading north). You have to go around the corner to enter the building. Once in the building you will be in for a wonderful treat. The restaurant is world renowned with operations in Shanghai as well. The ambiance is superb, a stark contrast from the hustle and bustle of the city below. Capitol M is an experience with a modern fireplace in the middle of the room, white linen tablecloths, silver
cutlery and impeccable service. Food is regions French cuisine and is superb. The attention to detail is wonderful. A beautiful interior, great view of Tien’anmen square is a wonderful place to relax and take in the day. The prices are not cheap, but a great way to treat yourself to some of the wonderful world class cuisine that Beijing offers. http://www.m-restaurantgroup.com/capitalm/home.html
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