2020 is a tough year

My Jenny Lou is closed

2020 is a tough year for many businesses in Beijing, too many to mention. Some are simply the victim of the wave of destruction in Beijing, in particular in my gongti area (Worker’s Stadium), for others it is the impact of COVID-19.

My favorite Jenny Lou decided to close, it was in front of Buona Bocca and Mala Bocca (Xindong Lu, the small street of Jiamei Dental), see how it looked like in February 2020. Reason: too few foreign customers… as many cannot be back.

Another victim is Cafe de la Poste, was in operation for some 15 years.

Gongti destruction

As posted earlier, most within the gongti area is to be razed.

See here an update with the buildings on the north side being demolished, the coffeeshop also marked “to destroy”, Superlife biting the dust and our beloved Legend Beer and Laburnum Thai Restaurant being smashed to pieces. The whole gongti area is becoming very flat…

See the date of the picture.
It seems some buildings will be spared (IQIYI and the “hotel”) but who knows… Also the fate of (formerly called) Gongti Yibai (Gongti 100 see how it was originally https://www.frommers.com/destinations/beijing/active-pursuits) remains unclear but Club One Third is still making a mess of the traffic in the street till early morning hours.


Beijing Rotary and Rotaract

Rotary lunch

Another busy week for Beijing Rotary and Rotaract. We started with our weekly lunch in Kempinski Hotel on Tuesday 29 September.

Happy to see our friend Andreas back in Beijing and back to the club. More than ten years ago I had sponsored him to become member. Now he will hopefully soon be our member again.
Earlier we had our Social event for Beijing Rotary.

We still have a number of Rotarians and Rotaractors who could not yet return to Beijing.

Rotaract social

On 30 September Treffyn organized a social Rotaract evening in a Chinese restaurant close to 3.3. It was our first “life” get together.

Good choice, good authentic Chinese dishes, simple environment, lots of beer – and vodka thanks to Treffyn. Pretty cheap too.
Restaurant details: “Shijinyuan” in Sanlitun East Second Street, next to the north gate of the Armed Police Beijing Corps Hospital. Name in Chinese: 十锦园.

Thanks to Danny, president of the Rotary Club of Beijing, to join us.
Yeah after that dinner I still had to rush to Morel’s Restaurant as it was the “official drinking evening” for Renaat. Many bottles emptied…

Morel Restaurant full house

Old China Hands

Morel Restaurant full house started on Friday 2 October with our monthly Old China Hands lunch. Right in the middle of the October 1 holidays we attracted over 30 people in a full restaurant. Happy to see some of our friends coming back from abroad.
A film crew was there to make a movie about our Belgian friend Wilfried and his China story.
Again a nice mix of nationalities. But we need more ladies!

Next lunch Friday 6 November.

We had to wait

I went back to Morel’s Restaurant for dinner, finding a totally full house. Even our usual table was taken, by some American friends from Amcham. So we had to camp outside waiting for our turn, to have a table and to be served dinner. Yeah tough as we had to compensate with great Belgian beer and French rosé.


Most of us went for the famous Martino sandwich, my one with the extra anchovies. Delicious! This sandwich, as some other ones are not yet on the menu. Only on demand and prepared by chef Renaat in person.

Great to see people again resuming normal life in Beijing, the safest place to be!
Morel’s did not close during the October 1 holidays and has seen full house most of the time. Interestingly, most of the customers are now Chinese, except for some groups.

Social event for Beijing Rotary

Didier is our PE

Our Belgian friend Didier organized a major social event for Beijing Rotary Club on 22 September, in his nice villa in Shunyi. Didier is our PE (President Elect of the club) for next Rotary year (2021-2022).
President Danny organized a bus to go and return, that was pretty cool.


Over 40 guests had a wonderful time, enjoying the buffet (nice paella and sausages, among other), and many bottles were emptied (I took care of the bar). Catering was done by some very creative French cooks.
At the occasion our newest member Michael received his pin and read the Four-Way Test.

We had visiting Rotarians, Rotaractors and potential new members, along with representatives of some NGO we work with.

Great many thanks to Didier, his family, Rob, Danny and all who made it a great get together.

Cold pink soup and mooncakes

Cold pink soup

While Morel’s Restaurant and Café has a pretty standard menu over the years, cold pink soup and mooncakes were very recent surprises.

The cold soup is simply delicious, called Šaltibarščiai, or cold borscht with kefir. Lithuanian Cuisine. It is not yet on the normal menu.

Kefir or kephir, is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink originated in the North Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia, where it is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains. It’s made by pouring milk over kefir grains, which are a cluster of bacteria and yeast. After about 24 hours, the microorganisms inside the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk.

Šaltibarščiai – cold pink soup
Kefir is not available everywhere, buttermilk with a little bit more lemon juice is a good alternative, or any mix of yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream. This soup is best made ahead, as it needs a few hours to develop more flavor.

  • 1 liter kefir
  • 2 medium red beets, cooked
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh dill
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, peeled
  • 4 medium potatoes, cooked and peeled

It is one of the many recipes on the Internet. More, see:

Special mooncakes

I was a bit surprised to learn that Morel’s is making mooncakes. I checked the packing, pretty ingenious and efficient, two per box. I tasted one of the different varieties and it was a pleasant experience. The outside is not so dry and hard as the normal Chinese ones, it is a bit like croissant, the filling is soft and moist.
A new type of mooncake, approved! For sale, two pieces for RMB 28.