JET LAG and TOFU

JET LAG and TOFU

The early morning ‘mist’ hangs over Beijing, and I am often awake to see it unfold. I travel so often that my body clock is permanently haywire. After I arrive Beijing from traveling abroad I wake up before the sun and am ready for lunch at 6:00am. I don’t fight it, in fact I love to go to sleep whenever I get tired and wake up whenever I wake up, and that is very early. One perk in having this condition is being able to take a short walk to a local restaurant on the edge of 798 art district in the early morning and eat breakfast with the students, construction workers, and businessmen as they go to school and to work. There are no art world people here at this time of the morning.

Outside, clouds of steam pour out of bamboo baskets and stainless drums, oil boils in huge iron woks, shouts from the hungry and hurried crowd fill the cold morning air.

My menu: Tofu ladled into a bowl of thick soy and mushroom broth, hot crispy fried bread (like a donut but not sweet), tea boiled eggs, pork dumplings, and crushed peppers in oil, all for less than a dollar. It is so delicious and so much fun. This is the original fast food. The students come in, get their food, are at the tables eating and laughing and out the door in just a matter of minutes. This goes on all morning until around 9:00am. Then the breakfast crew packs up and vanishes, while the restaurant staff comes in and readies for lunch. --James Elaine

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Tags: Beijing, China, James Elaine, James Elaine in China, Telescope: China