Al Fresco with Chinese Characteristics
The new line is that Beijing’s well documented pollution problems exist because of the number of roadside barbecues.
It would appear that to the Beijing National People’s Congress (BNPC), newer and tighter crackdowns on our ‘harmless’ BBQ pengyous are required to save the city from toxic meltdown. Ahh, we’re all okay then.
We think this is fanciful thinking. The point of this article isn’t to crunch pollution statistics, though.
“Our poor street vendors are being made scapegoats!”, we hear you cry. While we can safely clear them of responsibility for the bio-hazard that is Beijing – there are other, sinister allegations. Can we find them innocent on every charge?
Feasting out on yangrou chuanr is a rite of passage in Beijing. People of all ages, nationalities and social classes can be spotted dining out, “Al Fresco style all across the capital.
Beijingers love to sit outside and slide back stick upon stick of delicious meat. Especially in the summer months, where even at night the temperature stays around 25 degrees. Beers are cheap, the food is too, and the range of culinary options is impressive; beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish, assorted vegetables…rat.
Yes – RAT. There have been scandalous rumors brewing about the authenticity of some of the ‘lamb’ sticks being served up in Beijing. Nobody wanted to believe it, and even a Rat-meat expose in Shanghai was swept under the carpet by our unwilling minds. Unthinkably (…very thinkably), we have finally got it: PROOF of rat meat disguised as lamb being sold in Beijing.
After enjoying an evening with his girlfriend at an outdoor barbecue, an unlucky Beijing tourist was rushed to hospital complaining of chronic pain and with huge bruises covering his back and ankles. Doctors discovered traces of Bromadiolone in a blood sample: rat poison.
The medical experts’ view was that this poison was used to snare a rat for the sole purpose of selling as food. The poison that killed the rat was still active after being cooked and subsequently hospitalized the man.
Are we cutting our friendly street vendors too much slack? Or are their underhand and dishonest means justified by their struggle to earn a living?
The less-than-impressed BNPC have reacted with an iron fist and announced that anyone running an ‘illegal’ barbecue stand (which make up the majority) will be fined 20000RMB – four times the previous amount – which is the equivalent to around six months wages.
It would appear that the mighty “Chuanr Empires of Beijing” are beginning to crumble from all sides as the city strives to be one of ‘international standards’. Not only are the powers that be keen to clean up the city’s streets, even previously loyal Beijingren are now staying away.
It will be a sad day when the grill slams shut on the last chuanr stand for the last time in Beijing.