Beijing Beats: Liars and Visionist at Dada, Hayze at Aurora, Violin Wielding DJ Mariana Bo at One Third

Beijing Beats brings you the best in Beijing nightlife each weekend so that you can soothe the woes of a long and stressful week with some out-of-body gyrating and some experiences you'd rather forget come Monday. Check the weekend's full list of nightlife events here.
 

Wednesday, Apr 25

Be Stupid
Don't miss Dada’s weekly Wednesday house night. This week's edition includes Dada favourites Kaize, Shen Yue, Sunmeng (pictured) and many others. 10pm. Free. Dada
 

Thursday, Apr 26

Future Bass Artist K?D
By selling out venues across the states as a headliner, having his single “Lose Myself” chart on Billboard, and playing shows all over world, 20-year-old K?D has established himself as a force to be reckoned with and now comes to Dada to prove his mettle. 10pm. RMB 140. Dada

Syzz
This Dutch producer and DJ has worked with a number of big names, including the likes of Dash Berlin. Expect an accessible EDM set with plenty of high-octane, danceable grooves. 10pm. Price TBD. One Third
 

Friday, Apr 27

Liars
Angus Andrew, frontman of Liars and only constant member, hits up Dada on Friday for a night of synth-punk, disco rock, cosmic techno, and pop from another world. You can also catch him (+band) at this weekend's Strawberry Music Festival. 10pm. RMB 80, RMB 60 (advance). Dada

Mariana Bo
Hailing from Mexico, she began her musical career as a violinist before branching out into electronic music. She incorporates both styles into her set, playing that classical instrument in between hitting the decks, which makes for a uniquely eye-catching performance that'll also have your hips shaking. 10pm. RMB 150. One Third
 

Saturday, Apr 28

Pancake Lee, Mario Yu, Trust, Peng, Loading
This Saturday Aurora party is outfitted with some of the capital's best local techno talents like Pancake Lee, Mario Yu, and more for a free party that'll go late into the night. 10pm. Free. Aurora

Adesse Versions
This rising UK house star's sound has been described as "raw" and "timeless," while fans in one promo praised his "rough cut and paste" sampling style. Despite those rough and tumble qualities, Adesse Versions' music is also balanced out with uplifting melodic moments, giving his sets a wide appeal. 10pm. Price TBA. Dada
 

Sunday, Apr 29

Chad Valley
British chillwave star Chad Valley will stop by Beijing ahead of the release of his new album, Imaginary Music. 10pm. Price TBA. Dada

Hayze
In his native Malaysia, Hayze is a huge star. A 20-year veteran, his house hits have become a staple of the Southeast Asian nation's electronic scene. 10pm. RMB 80, RMB 50 (advance). Aurora

Holding by Mickey Zhang and Be Stupid! 
There’s something for everyone at Lantern this holiday Sunday as DJ Mickey Zhang takes over Lantern’s Room #1 for Holding, with support from Nigls, Aida, and Jackson Lee. Meanwhile, Room #2 gets silly with Sunmeng, Anton, Daodao, and Alex 8 from the Be Stupid! crew. 11pm. RMB 50. Lantern
 

Monday, Apr 30

Visionist
Visionist (pictured at top) is a London-based experimental grime composer and producer. Having first dropped releases in 2011 via labels 92 Points and Left Blank, he would go on to appear on compilations such as Big Dada’s Grime 2.0 and Keysound Recording’s Allstars series. He's also been very outspoken about his struggles with mental health, making him an inspiring figure in the electronic music scene. Read more about that at The Fader. 10pm. RMB 80, RMB 60 (advance). Dada

Natural Flavor '90s Hip-Hop Night
Head to Natural Flavor's latest night of local hip-hop and classic hood music this Monday, featuring Da Great Deity Dah, Nasty Ray, Def Capone & Buckchild, and DJs 4tael and Kang Starr. 10pm. RMB 150, RMB 100 (advance). Aurora

Back2Basics Presents: Yan Cook
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, 1991, Yan Cook   was introduced to electronic music, more specifically techno, at the age of 16 and the rest is history. Having now performed alongside and collaborated with many of the most respected techno talents from around the globe, he has since honed a signature style that strikes a balance between heavy and smooth dancefloor techno with haunting atmospherics and striking basslines. Catch him work his magic on Monday. 11pm. RMB 80, RMB 50 (advance). Lantern

As always, you can see these and all this coming week's nightlife happenings via our Events page here.

Photos: Dubspot, courtesy of the venues

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Feel the Burn: Hacker-Pschorr Brauhaus Serves German Hospitality, Brews, and Sausages by the Bucket-Load

In the wake of TBJ's successful Hot & Spicy Festival, our fiery restaurant coverage continues with our Feel the Burn series. Those of you who acquired a taste for all things hot at the fest can maintain the burn by visiting these chili-rife eateries.

The spice in our stomachs has just about settled down and our lips no longer feel like they are being licked by the fires of hell. But that sweet, sweet relief is also coupled with a pang of nostalgia for all those fiery flavors. Thankfully a quick fix can be found at Hacker-Pschorr Brauhaus, where German hospitality, meat, and beers reign supreme. With just one look at their 1L beers and the platter-sized plates of food (they're mostly to share, let's not get too greedy), it quickly becomes clear that no one will leave this restaurant hungry, or thirsty. Their selection of spicy sausages, meanwhile, will settle your cravings for something hot.

With the spring weather taking a stronger hold of Beijing, it's time to move outside onto the city's sunny terraces, of which Hacker-Pschorr may just boast one of the best. A liter of the aforementioned beer will keep you entertained and cool while you gulp down bite after bite of Bavarian classics, including sausages, potatoes, and, of course, lashings and lashings of sauerkraut.

Below, we ask Hacker-Pschorr what inspired their spicy choices at our Hot & Spicy Festival.

What did you bring to our Hot & Spicy Fest? 
Two kinds of spicy sausage. Since we're a German restaurant, we select from a cuisine that boasts of hundreds of kinds of sausages. When we thought about which spicy dish to bring, we also wanted it to represent German cuisine and spicy sausages was a great fit for both.

What spicy dishes do you sell in your restaurant? Which is the most popular and why?
The spicy tomato prawns are very popular with our guests. Since German meals mainly feature pork, diners often like to add some other meat or seafood as an alternative.

What drink do you like to pair with spicy food? 
We often recommend pairing a house brew with any of our spicy dishes. There's nothing more refreshing than washing down a hot dish with a fizzy gulp of beer. 

What’s the hottest thing you’ve ever eaten? 
Millet chili, a type of chili pepper.

What’s your go-to spicy comfort food?
Sichuan cuisine or any sort of hot pot.

In one word, how does eating spicy food make you feel? 
Hardcore.

Can you handle more heat? Be sure to check out the latest issue of our Hot & Spicy themed magazine as well as our ongoing chili related restaurant coverage.

More by this author here.
Email: [email protected]

Images courtesy of Hacker-Pschorr Brauhaus, the Beijinger

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Strawberry Music Festival Returns This May Day Weekend With Strongest Lineup Yet

Strawberry Festival returns home to Beijing. Well, not exactly – don’t think we’re quite back to the days of having moshpits within the Sixth Ring Road (though Changyang Sport Park hosting the Grammy Festival this weekend does give one hope) – but it’s been some time since Beijing had a proper festival that didn’t feel like it was thrown together last minute in some remote city no one has even heard of. Fact is, festivals and Beijing still don’t get along (see: cancelled Strawberry Fest 2015 and 2017 and this month's Sound of the Xity), so it warms me to see Strawberry nudge its way back this Labor Day weekend – taking place in Yuyang International Ski Resort (located in Pinggu district 70km from the city center) from Sunday, Apr 29 to Tuesday, May 1

What’s most noticeable about this year’s edition is the lineup. Whilst Strawberry (backed by Modern Sky) has been known to recycle its roster year after year with seasoned (or past their prime, depending on your preference) veterans and washed up international acts. This year, however, it looks like the organizers have taken into account the changing musical landscape, particularly in the indie scene, as well as the increasing demand for acts from Japan and Taiwan. It’s also massive, with 100 acts spread across seven stages over three days, with plenty of variety for fans of just about every musical preference. Here’s the basic breakdown (scroll down for a full, translated lineup): 

On the international side of things, esoteric UK indie art-pop outfit alt-J will be sharing the stage with Japanese indietronica outfit The fin. (fresh off two sold-out gigs in Beijing this year already), revered dubstep and garage producer Mala out of the UK, as well as two of Brooklyn's finest noisemakers, cutting-edge electronically-inflicted post-punkers Liars and the all-female psych rockers Habibi. For something a bit more mainstream, check out glitchy J-pop stars illion and Wednesday Campanella. Or for something with a bit more indie cred, catch a few breakout Taiwan acts in the form of indie janglers Deca Joins, retro poppers Sunset Rollercoaster, and math rock trio Elephant Gym

On the local front, there’s Wuhan emo rock torchbearers Chinese Football, Guangzhou and Dalian post-rock heavyweights Zhaoze and Wang Wen, respectively, rap sensations Lil Akin, Young Jack, and collective ONO. In fact, it appears that the metal stage has been ousted in favor of something altogether more post-rock – another sign of the times and one that will leave many mosh heads saddened. As well as megastars Tsai Chin, Hebe Tien, and legendary Dou Wei (which has all sorts of music geeks coming out of hibernation), you'll of course find other Modern Sky regulars like Re-TROS, Omnipotent Youth Society, New Pants, Miserable Faith, and Casino Demon.

However, even those last acts feel like afterthoughts to what looks like one of the festival’s strongest lineups in some time, making the increased prices well worth it (compared to the other festivals this weekend and last they’re practically a steal). While buses can be caught from Dongzhimen (RMB 50 round-trip), I’d recommend setting up your own transportation and even consider the option of staying overnight. Whatever you decide, you better act fast, as presale tickets are selling out at quite a clip.

It's good to have you back, Strawberry – we're counting down the minutes!

Strawberry Music Festival runs Apr 29 to May 1, 1-10pm. Single day tickets cost RMB 320 advance or RMB 580 on the day via 228 and Damai.

Yuyang International Ski Resort
88 Dawangwucun, Donggaocunzhen, Pinggu District
平谷区东高村镇大旺务村688号
 

Lineup

Sunday, Apr 29

Strawberry Stage 

2-2.50pm: Li Zhi 
3.30-4.10pm: Tizzy T
5.10-5.50pm: Hebe Tien 
6.50-7.50pm: illion (JP)
8.40-9.30pm: Piao Shu

Love Stage

1.10-1.50pm: Casino Demon
2.40-3.20pm: Sunset Rollercoaster
4.10-4.50pm: The Mystery Lights (US)
5.30-6.10pm Sound Fragment
6.50-7.30pm: Yico Tseng
8.10-9pm: Miserable Faith 

Star Stage

1.50-2.20pm: Djang San
2.50-3.30pm: Da Bang
4-4.40pm: Zhou Fengling
5.20-6pm: Haley Heynderickx (US)
6.40-7.20pm: Askar 
8-8.50pm: Tongue

M____D Stage

1.30-2pm: Oddope
3-3.30pm: Lazyair
4.40-5.10pm: Benzo
5.50-6.30pm: Bakerie
7.50-8.30pm: Vinida

Post Sky Stage

2.20-2.50pm: Return to Delicate Time
3.30-4pm: Amber 
4.40-5.20pm: GriffO
6-6.40pm: Sun of Morning
7.20-8pm: Wang Wen

Alienwave Stage (w/ VJ BUZZ)

3.30-4.30pm: Sun Meng
4.30-5.30pm: AY
5.30-6.30pm: Kris
6.30-7.30pm: Halo
7.30-8.30pm: Bass Guo

Young Blood Stage

5.10-5.40pm: Shan Mei Yu
6.20-7pm: No Trace
7.40-8.20pm: The CLF
 

Monday, Apr 30

Strawberry Stage 

2.20-3.10pm: Zhao Lei
3.50-4.30pm: A-Si
5.20-6pm: The fin. (JP) 
6.40-7.30pm: Omnipotent Youth Society 
8.30-9.10pm: Cai Qin

Love Stage

1-1.40pm: Hang on the Box
2.20-3pm: Liars (US)
3.50-4.30pm: Hei Che
5.20-6pm: Erbai
6.40-7.20pm: Yingtan & Shanxiao
8-8.50pm: New Pants

Star Stage

2-2.30pm: Yunduo
3-3.40pm: Jeno Liu
4.10-4.50pm: Junks (US)
5.30-6.10pm: Zhang Sou
6.50-7.30pm: Mr. Turtle
8.10-9pm: Supermarket

M____D Stage

1.50-2.20pm: Zetah
3.20-3.50pm: Ykey & Pro-Z
4.50-5.20pm: Dungeon Beijing
6-6.40pm: Dirty Twinz
7.30-8.10pm: Lil Akin & VISUDY

Post Sky Stage

2.30-3pm: 48V
3.40-4.10pm: The 16th Floor 
4.50-5.30pm: Chinese Football
6.10-6.50pm: Elephant Gym
7.30-8.10pm Sparrow

Alienwave Stage (w/ VJ BUZZ)

3.30-4.30pm: 777
4.30-5.30pm: Jiang Liang
5.30-6.30pm: TST
6.30-7.30pm: DJ Umbra
7.30-8.30pm: MALA (UK)

Young Blood Stage

4.20-4.50pm: The White Pages 
5.50-6.20pm: Deca Joins 
7.10-7.50pm: Tonxi
8.40-9.20pm: The Fallacy
 

Tuesday, May 1

Strawberry Stage 

1.30-2.10pm: Tien
2.50-3.30pm: Ma Po
4.20-5.20pm: Wednesday Campanella (JP)
6.10-7pm: Dou Wei
8.10-9.30pm: alt-J (UK)

Love Stage

1-1.40pm: Bian Yuan
2.10-2.50pm: Bai Si Guo
3.20-4pm: Low Wormwood
4.50-5.30pm: Yao Shisan
6.20-7pm: Ara Kimbo
7.40-8.30pm: Re-TROS

Star Stage

1.40-2.10pm: Wu Tiao Ren
2.40-3.20pm: Habibi (US)
4-4.40pm: Mamer & Tatsuya Yoshida (JP)
5.20-6pm: Hang Tian
6.50-7.30pm: Mosaic
8.20-9pm: Longshendao

M____D Stage

1-1.40pm: Da Hao Tao
2.20-2.50pm: Draksun
3.50-4.20pm: 0B03
5.30-6.10pm: ONO
7-7.40pm: Young Jack

Post Sky Stage

2.10-2.40pm: SNSOS
3.30-4pm: Little Wizard
4.40-5.20pm: Glow Curve
6.10-6.50pm: tfvsjs
7.40-8.20pm: Zhaoze

Alienwave Stage (w/ VJ BUZZ)

3.30-4.30pm: Dr Tuan
4.30-5.30pm: Kaize
5.30-6.30pm: Shen Yue
6.30-7.30pm: DJ Code 
7.30-8.30pm: Elvis. T 

Young Blood Stage

5.40-6.10pm: Convention Theory 
6.50-7.30pm: Lucie
8.20-9pm: Four Five

Images: MVM Studio, courtesy of the organizers

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Beijing’s Newest 24-Hour Bookstore to Serve as Sanlitun’s “Quiet Cultural Sanctuary”

Late-night Sanlitun denizens and aficionados in need of a destination after closing time can now muse over their sobering thoughts at Beijing's newest 24-hour bookstore located on the site of Sanlitun's former "dirty bar street."

At over 600sqm, the 50,000 book-strong bookstore is the latest retail franchise by Sanlian Taofen that looks to serve customers from its optimal downtown location just north of Taikooli Mall. Featuring bookshelves that tower two-stories high, the bookstore is also home to one of modern China's most culturally-significant destinations: a café. 

Beijing has experienced a glut of new bookstore openings lately, many of which are touted as offering 24-hour service. In fact, this new bookstore happens to sit adjacent to yet another Sanlitun bookstore that opened last year as well as the more foreigner-friendly but slowly dying Page One branch in Taikooli Mall.

Among all this competition in what can only be described as a "buyer's market," this latest of a string of openings has been heralded by local media as a major event for the city with wide-reaching consequences.

READ: When Automated Meets "Spiritual Nourishment": First 24-Hour Staffless Bookstore Opens in Beijing

Ostensibly a box with elevated catwalks, the new bookstore's layout was inspired by a northern Song dynasty map that allows shoppers to experience a "meandering journey through cultural knowledge."

But that's not all. Qianlong hails the Sanlitun 24-hour bookstore as "a quiet cultural sanctuary" that will usher in greater changes to come.

READ: China to Provide "Spiritual Nourishment" With Multiple 24-Hour Bookstores Opening in Beijing

"In an area as international, diversified, and fashionable as Sanlitun, the bookstore will spread Chinese culture to the world as well as allowing readers a better understanding of China and the world," reported Qianlong, which went on to say that "such a bookstore is vital towards the construction of a 'cultural Sanlitun'" and will help turn the neighborhood into an "international communication center."

There may be a place for yet another bookstore in Beijing, maybe even one that runs all day long. But it remains that Sanlitun's reputation as an "international communication center" has already long been established, one where relationships are forged by reading between the lines.

Sanlian Taofen
Daily 24-hours. 43 Bei Sanlitun Lu, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District
三里屯朝阳区北三里屯路南43号

More stories from this author here.

E-Mail: charlesliu1 (at) qq (dot) com 
Twitter: @Sinopath

Photo: Weibo (1, 2)

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Barista Specialty Lives up to Its Name With New No-Frills Nali Patio Café and Jet-Black Coffees

Back in 2014, a few years before specialty coffee began to percolate into Beijing's mainstream, Alex Liu was one of the first café owners to help galvanize the trend with his aptly named Barista shop on Wudaoying. Now that plenty more Beijingers have acquired a taste for high-quality beans, Liu deems it time to open a second spot, this time called Barista Specialty on the first floor of Nali Patio.

Just like its moniker, the café is very much to the point. None of the eye-catching trappings that make Barista's competitors like Bracket, Soloist, or even the more minimalist Metal Hands so inviting to sit and while away the hours are to be found at this new, bare concrete walled venue. In fact, aside from a short row of stools opposite the hulking coffee machine, there's hardly even a place to perch in this matchbook-sized spot.

Instead, Barista is better suited for the Sanlitun set hoping to quickly order a quality cup of joe on the go. Their RMB 35 "dirty," for instance, is creamy enough to go down smooth but still packs enough potency to keep you caffeinated long after the last drop (a measure of the quality beans they use to brew).

Their RMB 30 soda iced Americano – a longtime favorite at the Wudaoying location – is an even more unique must-try thanks to the creative combination of ingredients summed up in its moniker (once again, Liu lets the name say it all).

And while Barista is devoid of pretty much any ambiance, some of its high-end hardware is at least pleasing to the eye. Aside from a mammoth coffee machine for lattes (RMB 35) and double espressos (RMB 25), there's also glowing futuristic siphon machines, plus an antique-looking siphon with wood trim adorning the corner by the entryway.

Those fancy gadgets are complemented by the imported specialty beans that Liu will have on a rotating basis. For now, that portion of the menu includes a couple of pretty cheap options like Costa Rica Perla Negra and Sumatra Golden Mandheling (both RMB 45) along with a pricier RMB 88 Panama Geisha.

Yes, quality at the expense of frivolity seems to be Barista Specialty's signature style – which won't leave coffee nerds copious options to pore over – but just like a jet-black shot of espresso, this new Nali Patio café will more than satiate your daily fix.

Barista Specialty
Daily, 10am-8pm. 1/F, Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (150 1080 9311)
三里屯北街81号那里花园A116

Photos: Kyle Mullin, courtesy of Barista Specialty

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Personal Data From Food Delivery Platforms in China on Sale for as Little as RMB 0.10

This post comes courtesy of our content partners at TechNode.

The personal data of people who have ordered food delivery is readily available for sale via several channels, investigative reporting by Beijing News has discovered (in Chinese). Data on offer includes information such as name, phone number, address of thousands of orderers per day, including for orders going to hospitals and even to specific seats in internet cafés. The data is being sold for as little as RMB 0.10 per person.

By infiltrating telephone sales companies who buy up the profiles for cold calling, Beijing News journalists learned that the suppliers are using software to scrape data from order systems and that even take away delivery drivers have been found to be selling the info.

Chen Jinghong sells data on QQ about orderers in first-tier cities. He sells data a rate of 10,000 profiles for RMB 800. He offers the undercover journalists 5,000 profiles and sends a screen grab of an Excel sheet of the data, promising it can be delivered in 15 minutes. The data does not show the date of the order, but he promises it is from within the last two to three days. The journalist agrees, Chen sends a QR code for payment and within 15 minutes the journalist gets the file.

To check it, the journalist picks 100 numbers at random and calls them. 61 were valid numbers that rang, 33 people took the call and confirmed they had placed the order in the last couple of months. When asked why some numbers hadn’t worked, Chen said it’s because of the data entry system, who enter the details of 40,000 orders daily, but that when his data is ready by noon each day, it will definitely be sold by the end of the day.

The journalist found that data was available from all the major platforms such as Ele.me and Baidu Waimai.

Internet companies that run takeaway shops were also found to be selling on their customer data, including the details of the food itself. This data is more expensive at RMB 0.50 per person, but newer and richer. More expensive still at around RMB 1 per order is the data directly from delivery staff. This comes either in the form of screenshots of the delivery order the drivers are using, or the paper dockets generated and stapled to the parcels of food.

Online data theft is becoming ubiquitous with a report by the Internet Society of China finding that nearly 80% of web users had had their personal information leaked. Last month an artist in Wuhan bought up the data of 346,000 people and put it on display, inviting the people to come and see it. A chip has been developed that attaches to SIM cards to verify user ID without them having to supply their details each time as one way to reduce data leakage.

Photo courtesy of TechNode

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Burger Favorite WasPark Joins Deal Beer for Late Night Munchies in Jiaodaokou

What's better than a nice, bubbly craft beer? A nice, bubbly craft beer with a burger, of course! The good people (person) behind Fangjia Hutong's much-missed hole-in-the-wall burger joint WasPark understands just that, having resurfaced from his run-in with the Great Brickening and stumbling upon a much large space and some nectar-full accompaniments in Deal Beer's Jiaodaokou Bei'ertiao venue.

The new menu features five kinds of burgers and sandwiches (RMB 35-70) as well as bar food (RMB 20-40) such as fries, chili cheese fries, popcorn chicken, cheesy shrimp rolls, shrimp crackers, fried sweet potatoes, and a Sichuan pepper chicken fillet.

Loyalists to Was Park's old establishment will delight in the cheeseburger (RMB 45), which comes packed with a thick beef patty, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and cheese. Don't be tricked by its humble appearance and McDonald's-like bun, this burger will kick your need for late night munchies exactly where it counts: in the gut. However, should you need another bite, there's also the double cheeseburger and a host of sandwiches: pulled pork, mushroom and egg, bacon and egg, and the more experimental Beijing stir-fried mutton with leek.

The chili cheese fries (RMB 40) were also incredibly filling, with fries covered in a generous layer of cheese and chili. This is the steaming-hot comfort food that entire cities run on and comes with enough kick to have you eating along to the rhythm of the heavy metal blaring inside the venue.

So, take your burger in one hand, balance your fries in the other, and sip straight from your pint on the bar, for this truly is the pit-stop-worthy combination that Jiaodaokou needs right now and will set you straight no matter how your day may have been.

WasPark
Daily 5.30pm-midnight. 4 Jiaodaokou Beiertiao, Dongcheng District (inside Deal Beer) (156 5222 8194)
东城区交道口北二条4号

More stories by this author here.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @flyingfigure
Instagram: @flyingfigure

Photos: Tracy Wang

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Feel the Burn: VSports Threaten to Knock You Out With Their Inimitably Spicy Chicken Wings

In the wake of TBJ's inaugural Hot & Spicy Festivalour fiery restaurant coverage continues with Feel the Burn, in which we look back at what our vendors brought to the event so as to make you sweat. Head to these chili-rife eateries to relive the fiery memories.

At each of our events, VSports never fails to disappoint. Their formula is not an easy one to discern, but something about the Gongti restaurant's pub grub and American-style barbecue satiates the crowd no matter what their specific tastes may be. VSports' showing at out inaugural Hot & Spicy Festival was no different, as their booth tested the crowd with some particularly potent chicken wings covered in chili (see the picture above).

The kitchen's penchant for fire doesn't end there given that they also serve one of, if not the, biggest burger in Beijing, aptly dubbed the Hell Burger (complete with its own 30-minute eating challenge). When they're not tempting Beijing's epi-dangerous eaters, VSports is of course best known for its well-stocked bar, a plethora of in-house bar games, and morning thru late night sports coverage, boasting a huge 20 TV screens and a number of projectors, as well as shared toilets with Mix (should you want to ramp up the action next door).

Below we catch up with VSports' management to see what they brought to our fest as well as what they recommend munching on next time you drop by their venue.

What did you bring to our Hot & Spicy Fest? 
At the festival, we brought a range of new products such as our "devil's spicy" chicken wings, chuanxiang pork ribs, grilled sausage, and fried chicken with chuanxiang sauce. Our chuanxiang ribs have been especially well-received by people who like to break from tradition and improve on the traditional American barbecue taste with an added splash of spice.

What spicy dishes do you sell in your restaurant?
Our chuanxiang pork chops, spicy chicken wings, and Sichuan pork chops are the most popular. For the latter, we select the cuts from Spanish black pigs because unlike with domestically-bred pork, Spanish pork meat has a relatively uniform distribution of fat, which we marinate with spices for 48 hours before firing at a high temperature for 15 minutes.

What drink do you like to pair with spicy food?
I mix my own iced drinks at home by adding frozen fruit to juice before blending and serving with a dollop of jam.

What's the hottest thing you've ever eaten? 
The spiciest food I've eaten is our grilled "devil's spicy" chicken wings.

What’s your go-to spicy comfort food?
Usually, I'll eat some hot pot or barbecue.

In one word, how does eating spicy food make you feel? 
Spicy food changes my taste, my satisfaction, my happiness, and my enjoyment.

If what you're eating becomes way too hot, what do you use to cool off?
If something is too spicy, I'll drink beer (or cider), carbonated drinks, or milk to cool off.

Can you handle more heat? Be sure to check out the latest issue of our Hot & Spicy themed magazine as well as our ongoing chili related restaurant coverage.

Photos courtesy of VSports

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Beijing Park Bee Sting Fatality Prompts Family to Sue City RMB 2M

Although it signals an end to dreary winter chills, spring in Beijing also brings with it the dangerous aerial concoction of air pollution, sandstorms, and flying catkins. And, if Beijing's skies weren't already full enough, there is a new threat to contend with: killer bees.

A Haidian court is currently conducting a trial in which the bereaved family is suing the city for RMB 2 million (USD 317,600) after a man named Zhao died from a bee sting while visiting a Beijing park.

The victim's family are accusing the Beijing park of not having implemented any preventative measures that could have prevented the death while also naming the city's ambulance dispatch as a co-defendant in the case for not arriving in time to save the victim.

Police say Zhao died from an allergic reaction to the bee sting that immediately incapacitated him, causing his death minutes later.

Wang Xueyan, director of the allergy department at Beijing Shijitan Hospital, described Zhao's death as "a classic allergy case" during the trial.

Wang said Zhao had exhibited common symptoms of allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock and swelling of the throat and lungs that restricted his air flow and suffocated him to death.

The case is still underway; no verdict has yet been reached.

Media reports of the case omit major details such as the date of the incident, at which park it happened, and whether or not Zhao is a Beijing resident. Furthermore, Chinese news is vague about the specific type of insect that administered the fatal sting; most reports are seen using a broad term that could mean "bee," "wasp," or "hornet."

According to Wang, only a tiny minority of the public is extremely sensitive to bee stings resulting in death. In 2016, a visitor to a Shenzhen park died from a bee sting.

Bee attacks have been an issue for Beijing parks before when three people were injured by bees in the city's east-end Yunhe Park back in 2014. And although they didn't have to defend themselves in court, city parks have also tried to avoid the blame for such incidents.

In another bee attack, in that same year on a family of 10, a Chaoyang Park worker explained that the city's waterways department is responsible for the incident since it occurred by the lakeside.

Beijing courts have seen a number of litigation recently in which victims are suing for large damages.

A Beijing woman is suing IKEA for RMB 1 million after one of their glasses allegedly exploded, knocking her unconscious. Last year, the victim of a tiger mauling sued Badaling Animal Park for RMB 1.5 million after she got out of her car while driving through the dangerous animal exhibit.

More stories from this author here.

E-Mail: charlesliu1 (at) qq (dot) com
Twitter: @Sinopath

Images: healthybeesllc.com

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EAT: Mosto Happy Hour, Yunnan Food Festival, Pre-Cinco de Mayo Celebrations at The Local

With all the shake-ups and closures in the Beijing bar scene over the past year or so we've often been left wondering where to go for a drink these days, especially around Sanlitun. The folks at Mosto clearly feel the same way because they have just launched The Bar @ Mosto, serving a selection of classic cocktails concocted by Francesco Agnotti, alongside their signature great value house wines. Even better, those cocktails and wines are on offer at RMB 40 each from 5.30-7pm and 9-11pm every day. The bar stays open until midnight every night and late on Fridays and Saturdays. Try the Blood and Sand, a classic cocktail made with Scotch, cherry brandy, Martini Rosso, and orange that you don't often see on menus here.

We're big fans of Yunnan cuisine here at the Beijinger and we're happy to see one of the big hotels championing the food of the province. Hotel Jen has teamed up with Yunnan restaurant Hani Gejiu to put on a Yunnan cuisine festival at their all-day dining restaurant, San Wu Tang. Diners can sample dishes like cold red rice noodle salad, tofu skin with mint, banana flower salad, and grilled goat's cheese with cured Yunnan sausage, the ingredients for which are all brought in from the Honghe area of Yunnan. The promotion runs until May 6. 

This Friday, Apr 27, join mental health awareness charity CandleX for a family-style dinner at Arcade, followed by a couple of rounds of bingo. For RMB 160 (payable via the QR code in the poster), you'll get a Middle Eastern-style set menu and two bingo tickets. Extra bingo tickets can be purchased for RMB 15. Proceeds from the dinner will be contributed to CandleX's biweekly Mental Health Peer Support Group. 

Get a headstart on your Cinco de Mayo celebrations at The Local, where they'll be putting on daily specials, including new food items, margaritas, beer buckets, and new summer cocktails, in the week leading up to Cinco de Mayo (starting Apr 30). The taco brunch on Monday and Tuesday, which will introduce new items such as breakfast tacos and quesadillas, sounds like a fun way to spend the May Day holiday. Full details of deals in the poster above. On Saturday, they'll celebrate Cinco de Mayo with daytime drink specials on the patio, and specials on tequila shots, frozen margaritas, and more from 8pm until midnight.

Hungry for more? For all of Beijing's current food promotions and events, click here.

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Photos courtesy of the organizers

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