Beijing Workers Stadium story1

The old and the new

The Beijing Workers Stadium story1 (“the gongti area”) is the first of a series of articles about this famous Beijing landmark, its history, what the future holds and the progress of construction.
I posted several earlier articles since 2020:

Gongti strip to disappear10 August 2020
The gongti strip to disappear, along with all bars, discos, restaurants and shops in the Workers Stadium area. Some historical facts and data. I announced the dramatic changes for my beloved Gongti Strip, the dramatic disappearance of many beloved nightlife spots, some history of the Workers Stadium like the WHAM concert!

New Beijing Workers Stadium – 23 August 2020
Few seem to be aware we will have a new Beijing Workers Stadium, expected to be delivered by December 2022. See here the first details of what to expect!

Beijing Gongti demolition – 23 September 2020
A latest update on the closing of Legend Beer, Thai Laburnum and others in the Gongti area. A last look of Legend Beer.

2020 is a tough year – 7 October 2020
A tough year for many businesses in Beijing, too many to mention. Some are the victim of the wave of destruction, for the other it is the impact of COVID-19.
Sadly since then it got much much worse. The old “Gongti Strip” is now dead. Sad.

The old stadium

As posted earlier, the whole area around gongti has lost so many nice restaurants and bars. Legend, The Den, and also Tairyo (Korean style) from where you had a nice view on the old stadium.

See some pictures of the old stadium. The statues have been removed and stored at the west gate of the Worker’s Gymnasium, they will be put back later.

The demolition of the stadium and many surrounding buildings is now pretty much done

See the dates of the progress.

The history of concerts and other events

I reported earlier about the WHAM concert.
Here a compilation of press articles about the many concerts, the interview with me and background of WHAM. See the official program.

I was also at the concert of Bob Dylan – Workers Gymnasium, April 6, 2011.
Not mentioned here is the impressive AIDA opera staged in the Stadium on 28 September 2003, see here:

I need to write about that, found back the pics.

Fighting mosquitos in the bedroom

We all hate mosquitos

They are so annoying, fighting mosquitos in the bedroom is a common concern as they wake you up and make you feel miserable.
For years I have been battling them in my bedroom, with disappointing results. Excellent windows, door always closed and with an installed additional insect screen at the door. Still often around 4 a.m. I would wake up with one buzzing around my ears.

I installed electronic insect traps (“zappers”), liquid RAID dispenser, RAID mosquito mats. But regularly they came back
Where did they come from?

Any standing water is breeding ground

How to Prevent Mosquitoes From Breeding? A few general tips.

I had put mosquito nets in the bathroom exhaust, as well as in the overflow holes in bath and wash basin – also against cockroaches that enter through the drain pipes.
I made sure mosquitos could not use the water tank of the WC by inserting some sealing under the cover,

I covered the floor drain with a transparent plastic sheet as there is water standing in the drain. One day I discovered a mosquito crawling under the plastic trying to get out. So I removed the sheet and closed the drain completely with plastic.

Mosquito repellent mats and coils

Among the several toxic and nontoxic methods that have been devised to keep the mosquitoes away, mosquito repellents are one of the most economic and widely used. Using a simple electrical heater, a refill that contains a liquid which disrupts normal activity of mosquitoes, one can get relieved from these small creatures within minutes.
That sounds nice, however those are repellents, they don’t kill. So next day the mosquitoes are back again.

All confusing as Raid Power Mats “kills and repels mosquitoes for up to 14 hours. Each mat is impregnated with a powerful slow-releasing insecticide that spells death to mosquitoes. Suitable for killing and repelling mosquitoes indoors.”
Problem, all BAYGON, RAID and other only sell the repellant types, see what I have in my Beijing home.
So, pretty useless somehow.

Electronic insect traps.

There are basically two types: the older UV-lamp type and the newer LED type.
The LED type has a near invisible light but seems to be more efficient to catch mosquitos, while it is mostly accepted they are not effective against mosquitos.

See the two types and what they caught. Well at least they KILL. And yes they caught mosquitoes!

Finally battle won

With all my efforts, zero “water breeding grounds” around – what I thought – still they came. Then I had an idea. The aircon! Yes, the aircon collects the condensation of water in the air that then is supposed to leave through the drain. But if the aircon is not tilting in the right way, some water stagnates in the collector.
Then the aircon repair man came, cleaned it well, I fixed the aircon tilting a little in the right way.

No more mosquitos.
That was it… Finally.

Best Belgian food in Beijing (1)

What is Belgian food?

The best Belgian food in Beijing (1) you can find in Morel’s Restaurant, the best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing.
Many friends even say the quality is often superior to what you find in Belgium.
Belgium is at the crossroads of Europe and the food is strongly influenced by French cuisine but also by German, Dutch and genuine local Belgian cuisine. The restaurant hardly changes its menu – as many top restaurants do, but Renaat can surprise us with unexpected delicacies.

One of the most popular dishes in Belgium is called “stoverij”. “Carbonades à la Flamande” or in English, Belgian (or Flemish) Beef Stew – of course prepared with Belgian beer. A dish often eaten on the street in a “frietkot”, see below.
One of my favorite dishes is the gratin of endive and ham. Learn here what is actually “endive” or “witloof” as we call it.

Moules frites

Very famous of course are the mussels with Belgian fries. Only in Morel’s you find the gorgeous mussels that are delivered alive to the restaurant where they are cleaned, sorted and cooked the Flemish way. The vast majority of mussels in other restaurants are brought in frozen, you can easily taste the difference as those are not juicy but a bit dry inside.

Belgian fries are of the best in the world and must be prepared the traditional way.
If there is one thing you should definitely do while in Belgium, it is to eat Belgian ‘frites’. Not only can you eat them in restaurants, you can also get them at a frites stand, or a ‘frituur’ or ‘frietkot’ as they are known in Flemish, see the ones in Ghent. Ghent’s favorite order is large fries with beef stew sauce and mayonnaise.
Belgium has a long history of deep-frying. The first frites stands were mobile and the first frites stand with a permanent location only appeared after World War II. Today, you can find them on market squares and along the main roads. But just like everything else, the art of deep-frying has also evolved: you can take away your frites or eat them on the spot in today’s modern frites stands.
In addition to frites, they also sell a wide range of snacks and sauces. Of course, today’s frites stands keep up with their times: many of them also offer a range of deep-fried products for vegetarians and vegans.

Old China Hands lunch 2 September

Good turnout

Our Old China Hands lunch 2 September brought together 32 of our members. We also welcomed the baby of OCH Josh. As always, all happy chatting and enjoying the good food.

The next lunch is planned for Friday 7 October, due to the October 1 holiday week.

And more about our famous OCH

Raja is competing with our star Mark for media exposure.
See here his latest in English through Beijing Review.

But beating all is Renaat Morel. I guess he has like an interview every two weeks…
On 10 September at 10 pm we all watched live BRTV showing a program about the GuoAn soccer club and its long relation with Morel’s Restaurant. GuoAn normally uses Worker’s Stadium as its base and should return there once the new stadium is opening, I guess early next year.

I don’t have the link for you to watch but see some screenshots while we watched on the iPad. And of course the famous candle…

Best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing

Three Michelin Stars

Renaat Morel is the three Michelin stars chef who now does not want any stars anymore but is the proud owner of the best Belgian Restaurant in Beijing. Or should we say, in China.
Morel’s Restaurant is the only one in Beijing offering genuine Belgian cuisine in a charming interior. The menu of traditional Belgian and French dishes is composed by the celebrated chef Renaat who previously served Royalty and famous stars in the South of France.
The famous TRB, Hulu and more managed by Belgian Ignace Lecleir are great places to enjoy the best of European cuisine.

The first batch of Beijing International Food Lists jointly recommended and released by Beijing Cuisine Association and Meituan came out recently, a shortlist of the most famous restaurants.
According to report, in order to ensure the professionalism, fairness, and impartiality of the list, only 123 restaurants were selected from more than 150,000 restaurants through the recommendations of the association and experts. Among them, 41 Beijing cuisine restaurants were selected as the “Beijing Year Restaurant List”, 57 provincial and municipal restaurants in Beijing were selected into the “Shenzhou Delicious Full List”, and 25 foreign restaurants were included in the “International Gourmet Collection List”.
Morel’s Restaurant and Café was one of the top foreign restaurants and Renaat Morel received his certificate in August 2022.

The restaurant has been in the same location for far over 20 years, a real feat as so many restaurants open and disappear.
The evolution of the customer base is remarkable. In the first decade the vast majority of the customers were foreigners. In recent years at least 80% of the customers are Chinese – who are also bigger spenders!

It is also very much in demand for birthday celebrations!
The take-away and delivery has become an important contribution to the revenue, when a few years ago that service did not even exist.

A famous couple

The restaurant is run by Renaat and Susan, his wife. Susan is also a great florist and the flowers you see – and receive – are of the highest quality.

The restaurant has been featured in innumerous media, and was already mentioned in Beijing Weekend in June 2000.

Chef Renaat has an imposing track record, already mentioned in detail in a previous post.

So many TV shootings were done that it’s impossible to mention all. See:
“Chinese Destiny” is a documentary program about cross-cultural characters produced by the Chinese Global Program Center of China Media Group. “Foreign chefs in Beijing” (short appearance of … Gilbert)

Earlier in 2022 several days of invasion by CCTV4 in Morel’s Restaurant and Café for a documentary about Renaat and his restaurant, shown worldwide.

On 16 September 2018 Renaat Morel was decorated in the Belgian Embassy, in the presence of the Ambassador, the Governor of the Province of Antwerp and many guests.

What about the food?

That is another long story, to be published soon!