We booked two rooms at the Holiday Inn Express (Beijing Temple of Heaven location). Exact address is No 36 Nanwei Road, Xuanwu District, Beijing. At the time they had an ongoing promo where the five of us ended up paying only RMB100/person. The area itself is quiet and dead at night, but the rooms are excellent for the rate. A note: the showers have no doors and are slightly visible from the rest of the room (the frosted glass is slightly transparent) so think twice about bunking with the opposite sex.
Of course, being in Beijing, first thing we did was look for a place that served good Peking duck. A Chinese friend of ours wrote down the name of a place that ended up being a bit over our budget, so we ended up at a Beijing roast duck place called Tianfushibaxiang.
The food was quite good, with HUGE servings at extremely cheap prices. We had our coveted Peking duck, which they slice in front of you (there’s a special way to slice it) and serve with hoisin sauce, small flat pancakes, and small leeks. We also had pork dumplings, diced chicken, spicy tofu (yum) and two kinds of rice (egg fried rice–yum again–and soy sauce rice).
But actually, the unique thing about the place was the funny dishes I found in the menu.
Of course I’m not one to talk: local specialties back home include dinuguan, a yummy dish with soup made from pork blood and vinegar; balut, a premature boiled duck egg (and yes, the duck is my favorite part); sisig, a crispy viand made from chopped parts of a pig’s head; and various delicious street foods made from chicken/pig intestines (isaw) or chicken feet (adidas) or a crispy fried chicken head, crown and all (amusingly called helmet). I guess it’s to each his own.
Due to the copious amounts of food we ordered, we had a lot of leftovers that we had wrapped and eventually gave away to a kid. He had an absolute feast that night, and so did we.