Beijing: Shao Kao

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If you’re in China and you’re not having shao kao (Chinese BBQ), you’re seriously doing it wrong. Once the sun sets, shao kao stands litter the streets. Grills and small tables appear on sidewalks, small shops closed during the daytime open (shao kao shops), and the smell (and sounds) of grilled meats and veggies fill the streets.

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With most stands, you order and poof! hot and marinated sticks of food suddenly appear. But at some outdoor restaurants, you can also grill your own food, which is pretty damn fun plus you can add all the spices you like (chili flakes, pepper, cumin, etc.)

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Fried buns (้ฆ’ๅคด) with sweet and sour chili paste. These were damn incredible. They were flaky on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

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Get whatever your heart desires. Enoki mushroom, eggplant, potato, lotus root. The menus are usually incredibly extensive.

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Lamb, lamb, lamb. I love lamb. Near the end of grilling, spice is added to the skewers and then they are twirled until ready. Check out all the spices in the foreground.

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This shaokao shop down the street from where I lived is pretty awesome, and on multiple occasions, I actually told the owner how much I loved his skewers. I had also never seen someone blowdrying skewers before–it was pretty damn wild. So many skewers here. So many noming opportunities.

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