Whilst I’d had a lot of fun the day before it was a bit of a knock on my confidence. Luckily for me my brother had decided to take an afternoon off so we could go and see the Old Summer Palace with a friend of his Chris. Yay for not being alone! I spent the morning having a lie in, appreciating the apartments air con and making my way through all the leftovers that were piling up.
The Old Summer Palace is just north west of the Hadian district, a student area with a few veggie and vegan restaurants, so we made a plan to go out for dinner at SUHU Vegetarian Tiger afterwards.
So to avoid any confusion, there are two Summer Palace’s in Beijing, the original Summer Palace (Old) which is now in ruins and then there’s the new Summer Palace that was rebuilt after British and French troops destroyed the original one during the second opium war.Guidebooks highlight and encourage folk to visit the new one, my Lonely Planet guide only had a few paragraphs on the Old Palace but that sounded more interesting to me, especially as I had already visited two beautiful parks.
We arrived at around 1pm to give ourselves lots of time to explore before heading back to Hadian for dinner. We each got through tickets for 25 yuan (£2.50). I was a bit surprised when I walked through the entrance and everything around me was beautiful, I was expecting a pile of old rocks! Turns out they are further into the grounds.
See how pretty that all is? I felt a little less sad that I wouldn’t have time for the new Summer Palace after seeing all of this. It did make the ruins a lot harder hitting, when we came across them it felt like we were in a completely different place
There’s also a huge stone maze nearby the ruins which is cool to wander through as well. We spent hours walking around the Old Summer Palace and we didn’t even see every single part of it. I never made it to the new one so wouldn’t be able to compare, but I definitely think it’s worth checking out. Very underrated in my opinion and a nice way to spend a day. It was nice to just wander around one place for an afternoon, instead of trying to cram in as much as possible.
Luckily because Chris was pretty good at speaking Mandarin, we managed to negotiate a good price for a rickshaw ride into town. I was glad I got to experience it but it was super scary. Beijing roads are terrifying, it doesn’t look like there are any rules and everyone beeps. We were basically sat in an old trailer that was being driven by a really old moped type thing. It did not feel safe! We did arrive in one piece though so I’m probably over exaggerating.
We went out for a few drinks and some fries at a bar before venturing out to find SUHU Vegetarian Tiger. Because I wasn’t looking at a map and was pretty much letting Sam and Chris walk me there, I don’t really remember what direction or where it really is, but I’m sure it would be simple to find on a map. Crappy picture but it MIGHT help you find it. Basically you’ll see this sign and a staircase leading up to the restaurant.
I was a bit nervous about eating here because it’s 100% vegan and my brother is not keen on vegan food. Chris and Sam let me pick which dishes we’d share, although my brother did pick one that he liked the look of. So much pressure! There was an English menu but I don’t think much English is spoken here. But, like all Beijing restaurants, just point at the pictures and be reassured that everything is vegan.
So, what did we have?
This was all so effing good and all of us enjoyed it! Yay! I was so impressed, the only thing Sam and Chris weren’t keen on were the prawns, but I think that’s because they were really un-prawn like. They were filled with strips of carrot and other veg, but still, I loved them, the chilli sauce they were smothered in was awesome. My brother loved the crispy beef and despite the mushrooms looking like some weird seafood, they were delicious.
Despite being super hungry when we arrived, we got full really quick..and Chris and Sam were happy to surrender the leftovers to me! YESSS!!!
I did make us order the tiramasu for dessert though, just so I could leave having had some kind of vegan cake. So here’s how we finished our day, with one coffee free, dairy free, egg free and alcohol free ‘Tirimasu’ haha.