More Divine than Crystal Liu's Drama: This Bustling Old City

Just as Joy of Life 2 (庆余年2) concluded, The Story of Roses (玫瑰的故事) officially announced its debut on CCTV-8. With national goddess Crystal Liu in the lead, this drama had already captured the public's attention even before airing.

In 1981, Chow Yun-fat and Maggie Cheung starred in the film version of "The Story of Roses," which directly broke Hong Kong's art film box office record.

After 37 years, Hong Kong romance novelist Yi Shu personally adapted the script for Crystal Liu, setting the story in old Beijing in 2001. The Central Academy of Fine Arts (中央美术学院) where Crystal Liu's character resides is filmed at Beijing's 491 Space Water Platform, not only the former site of 491 Radio but also China's earliest radio station. Many celebrities such as Jing Boran and Roy Wang have also filmed here.

Scenes of Crystal Liu rollerblading were shot at Beijing Bell Tower; the dinner scene with Guodong and Roses in Episode 6 took place at Fou-Lu (福禄) french restaurant, one of Beijing's top-tier French restaurants; the hot pot scene with Roses and Guodong's father in Episode 9 was shot at Lao Men Kuai's tripe and beef hot pot, a real-life location.

In addition to being able to check in at the same scenic spots as Crystal Liu, the charm of old Beijing is much more than that. As one of China's four ancient capitals, Beijing's cultural heritage and famous historical sites are numerous. Whether it's the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Forbidden City, Imperial College, Tiananmen Square, or Nanluogu Lane, these well-known attractions are all absent in today's article.

More Divine than Crystal Liu's Drama: This Bustling Old City

Next, follow me to explore where locals usually go for a stroll and which restaurants they like to eat in.

Seeking the Old Beijing Atmosphere, Several Must-Visit Places

Temple of Earth

It was once the place where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped, the largest existing altar in China. Corresponding to the Temple of Heaven, it faces the Lama Temple, Confucian Temple, and Imperial College across the river.

One of its distinctive features is its numerous ancient trees, with 176 surviving trees over a hundred years old. "Under its old trees, by the grass or crumbling walls, sit silently, ponder, and clear the cluttered thoughts in your mind." Shi Tiesheng's "Myself and Temple of Earth" (我与地坛) made it famous.

At the same time, the super-popular filming location of Looking at the Wall (看墙为海)as the Sea is located on the east side of Fange Altar at Temple of Earth, where the afternoon sun shines on the walls, viewed from afar through the trees, resembling a sea of stars.

Beihai Park

Beihai Park is the most complete classical imperial garden built in the early history of China's existing gardens, divided into four major areas.

Unique buildings such as Qiongdao, Qiongou, pavilions, and temples are scattered throughout the park. Here is the Beihai Park Nine Dragon Wall, which, together with the Datong Nine Dragon Wall and the Forbidden City Nine Dragon Wall, is known as one of China's Three Great Nine Dragon Walls.

More Divine than Crystal Liu's Drama: This Bustling Old City

Taoranting Park

Beijing has always been one of the capitals of the Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. There are not many royal gardens in the city, but few of them are really parks in the early days.

Taoranting is the first modern park restored after the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is known as one of China's four famous pavilions, along with Zuiweng Pavilion, Aiwan Pavilion, and Lanting. In fact, Taoranting has been considered a home park by native Beijing residents since the late Kangxi period, and students who come to Beijing to take exams often come here to enjoy the scenery and write poetry.

Most importantly, the ticket costs only 2 yuan, and it is worth spending half a day wandering here. Walking on the stone road, the light and shadow are distinct, and you can see old people walking birds, playing with children, and couples boating on the lake everywhere... Not only are there fewer people, but the environment is also quiet and secluded, making you feel healed.

Shi Family Hutong

A hutong is like half of China. Shi Family Hutong carries the memories of countless old Beijingers. The hutong is not long, only about 700 meters in total, but it has more than 80 quadrangles, of which about 30 are well-preserved.

For millennia, countless celebrities have walked out of here. Famous poet Zang Kejia, contemporary prose writer Yang Shuo, playwright Cao Yu, and famous scholar Zhang Shizhao have all lived here, and each gate number represents a history.

There is also a museum in Shi Family Hutong, which not only introduces the origin of Beijing's hutongs but also the history of various celebrities in Shi Family Hutong. No tickets are required, and it is worth visiting.

The Old Beijing Taste That Gourmets Can't Get Enough Of

Sesame Sauce

Just as Changsha cannot do without stinky tofu, Beijing cannot do without sesame sauce. It is said that one year when Beijing ran out of sesame sauce, Mr. Lao She personally proposed that the government solve the supply problem of sesame sauce. He said, "Beijing people cannot do without sesame sauce in the summer."

But it's not just summer; Beijing sesame sauce is suitable for all four seasons. Even Chen Xiaoting said, "Sesame sauce can be dipped in the universe."

The soul of Beijing sesame sauce lies in 2:8, with two parts of sesame matched with eight parts of peanuts, producing a delicate and smooth sauce, fragrant but not bitter. Whether it's hot pot or cold dishes, you have to dip a little bit. Even baked cakes and steamed buns are made with sesame sauce. When you take a bite, it's fragrant and delicious.

Zhao's Street Snack Shop

If you want to experience the most authentic sesame sauce taste, it is recommended to come to Zhao's street snack shop for takeout. This is the last state-owned snack shop in Beijing, hidden in Zhangwang Hutong behind Gulou Street.

Old Beijingers love to come here for sesame sauce because only the sauce here is the taste of their childhood. Boss Li Ruisheng said that his sauce is superior because it is "sweet and produces numbers".There are nine large barrels in the store, each holding 100 catties of sauce, and usually sold out in less than a week. From raw materials to production, the owner personally oversees it, and the mellow flavor is authentic Beijing flavor.

Beijing Roast Duck

In Wang Zengqi's autumn Beijing, there are three roasts, one of which is roast duck. Most people do not know that Beijing roast duck actually has two major schools. One is steamed oven roast duck, which is rich in juice and tender in meat quality; the other is the one we often eat, hanging oven roast duck, which has a red and bright appearance and is fat but not greasy.

No matter which school it is, it is a taste of old Beijing that you can't find once you leave the capital.

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