A series of posts from our travels.
Beijing is a sprawling city marked by rapid modernization that has led to the leveling of many ancient courtyard homes (siheyuan) and narrow alleyways (hutongs). The destruction and resulting displacement of people has been controversial and there is an effort to preserve and renovate homes in areas near the Forbidden City. Guidebooks highlight walking and rickshaw tours and both times I was in Beijing, our tour groups were offered a luncheon in a family's courtyard home for a reasonable extra charge. If you have the chance, don't miss it. It was the best food of two trips to China.
A popular so-called hutong neighborhood is near the Black Lakes area about a mile from the Forbidden city. There are many bars and cafes around the lakes. Tourists and locals stroll and bicycle around the lakes.
Our group, in photo at left, enjoys a tasty lunch in a Chinese family's courtyard home.