Around the world with the hottest food and travel profiles.
1. Who are you?
My name is Maria Haase and I am an Online Marketing Consultant during the day and a Writer and Foodie by night. I grew up in Germany, but have lived in the US and China now for over 10 years. I love exploring new cultures and trying new foods when I travel, meeting locals, and learning about local traditions and customs.
2. What is your site about?
MariaAbroad is a blog where I give my readers tips to live a more international lifestyle. I want to encourage you to travel more by sharing travel tips and inspiration. But even more important, I also want to bring the world home to you with recipes from far flung places, books and movies that can cure your itchy feet, when you are stuck at home for a while. I share and collect stories about foreign cultures and traditions, recipes and dishes from all over the world and show you that deep down, we are not that different after all and we can learn a lot from each other by being open and accepting.
3. What is one food tip you would give about Beijing?
When I lived in Beijing, it was always an adventure of what would end up on the plate in front of me. Hands down, the best advice I would give someone going to Beijing is: If you are the only “Westerner” in the restaurant, you will most likely get an amazing meal. Try to stay away from places with an English menu and where most of the customers are tourists. You might not necessarily know exactly WHAT it is you are eating, but I promise you it will be good! Go where the locals go and point to the most interesting dish on the picture menu or if you see something on another table that looks good to you, just point to it and they will be happy to bring it out. It is a bit daring and you need to be a bit adventurous, but you will have an experience you will never forget!
4. What is one travel tip you would give about Beijing?
Beijing has so many amazing sights, from the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China and many, many more. You could spend a week to just see all of those highlights. If you can, also try to schedule some time to see the real Beijing. Get lost wandering the cobble stone streets through the Hutongs. Take a bus out to the third or fourth ring road to a random destination and just walk through a neighborhood where the locals live. Eat some steamed sweet potato or some candied Hawthorns from one of the many street vendors. EXTRA TIP: Get a business card from your hotel, so you can show your cab driver where you need to go on your way back.
5. What is the best thing to eat in Beijing?
Beijing is famous for its Jiaozi or also known as Chinese dumplings or Potstickers. Stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms, and green onions, or fresh shrimp, they are simple, yet amazing. Be careful though, they are usually served piping hot, so don’t burn your tongue. The best dumplings can be found in one of the hidden street food restaurants in the Hutongs, where your table is made of a wide plank sitting on top an old oil barrel and you sit low on a faded plastic chair. The mom stands in the outdoor kitchen making dumpling at lightning speed, because this is all she has ever done all her life, the dad sits at the corner, smoking. You sit down and without even ordering, a big pile of steaming dumplings appears right in front of you. Dig in, dip and slurp.