Nestled in a small corner a stone's throw away from Paradise Walk in Jiangbei, is one of our favorite new finds. EKA速饮, an attractive little cafe offering an independant alternative to the less modestly priced Lavazza's and Starbuckses found nearby.
I first came across EKA, slightly drunk and cotton mouthed from an herbal cigarette, craving the sweet refreshment of an ice cold milk tea. Not knowing any better, I stepped up to the walk-up window of what I figured to be your run of the mill bubble tea joint. Upon my first sip, I realized that was not the case. Though priced slightly higher than the Jack Huts of the world(¥12 - ¥14 for milktea), you can immediately tell that that extra RMB is going to superior ingredients.
As memorably satisfied as I was that evening, I made it a point to return to EKA to further explore their menu, and was pleasantly suprised on my next visit. This time around it was in the morning so coffee was in order, and for a broke-ass, no-income person as myself, I couldn't be happier to find a 9 kuai Americano on their menu. Not only that, but they have free wi-fi, decent music, and a simple, modern design oft under appreciated in the world of name-brand cafes. And if you happen to live in the area, they deliver! For no charge, and no minimum order. There's nothing quite like waking up at your coffee maker-less girlfriend's house and having an iced latte delivered to your door for ¥15.
EKA速饮 is located in Jiangbei, guanyinqiao, roughly 50 meters from the Paradise Walk taxi stand, across the street from the side entrance of the Starlight 68 building.
That's right, our april calendar is out!
Our recommendations for this month are:
Queen Sea Big Shark at Nuts on Friday the 5th, 20:30.
Check out the CQFC battle it out with the CQ Lifan for the Chongqing Derby, Saturday the 6th, 15:30 at the Yuanjiagang stadium.
Monday the 8th starting in the late afternoon is the Annual Gongrencun Block Party, bring your instruments and come chill with us downstairs from Helen's, at the shaokao area. Burgers and Meizijiu punch on offer!
Nuts is having a Punk Fest Saturday the 13th at 12:30 with a skate competition and eight bands, local and from out of town.
A Flea Market is going down at Rasta on Monday the 15th in the afternoon, come buy and sell stuff, cold beer in your hand!
Russian reggae star Stepa Style is hitting Nuts on Thursday the 18th at 20:30, but if you're more the highbrow type, “water dancing” show Water Rouge is opening on the same night at Hongyadong's Bayu Theater.
Thursday the 25th is a Whisky Society open tasting at Easigar on Beibin Lu. 150元, 250元 if you want your whisky with a cigar...
On Saturday the 27th check out the latest edition of HEAVY FLOW!!! This time, we're doing a 70's/80's throwback for the annual RETRO PARTY with DJs Afanti and Goodweed. Tickets 20元, only 10元 if you show up wearing 70's and 80's style clothes!
The calendar will be available at every bar, café or venue that's cool enough to have it. Start looking!
Guo Bin #7
Slow news day today, so we thought we'd give you the long awaited results of the “Longfor Really Estate Summer Boozer Top 10 Awards Extra Royal” ceremony held last week in... uh... Dadukou?
Yeah you got us, that didn't happen. We just wanted to write about Longfor. Best real estate company name ever. Regardless, here's a list of the stuff you should and shouldn't be drinking this summer:
Number 10: HOT BEER- Summer's coming and fruity hot beer with a bathroom mould aftertaste is out. So is lukewarm beer. Laobans, time to turn on your fridges and serve us something cold please.
Bomb, Crump, & Grenade #9
Number 9: CRUMP/BOMB/GRENADE BAIJIU- With the post-chunjie I-can't-drink-this-shit-anymore vibe still in full effect, baijius are laying low for a while. Still, the Erguotou company is surprising everyone with a sleek design for their latest line of baijius... But it still tastes the same, because some things don't change.
Number 8: JINGJIU- It's hot and full of ginger, gets you drunk and it's good for a cold too. But even if you can drink it with ice or put it in the fridge, it's a winter drink.
Number 7: GUOBIN- Yeah, the green Lao Shancheng is like five jiao cheaper and everyone drinks it but guess what: it's basically glorified tap water. Totally worth splurging for the level (slightly) above, chief.
Number 6: 151 SPECIAL- Bacardi 151, cranberry juice and a whole lot of ice in those giant Hideaway mugs. Cliff's got a nice terrace too, killer combo.
Number 5: PABST BLUE RIBBON- That's right, it's so hot right now. Get this: the worker district of Gongrencun is so gentrified even they think Pabst is cool (and we're working on getting them to like the Arcade Fire too). Maxwell convenience stores around town all carry it.
Number 4: MEIZIJIU- An ice cold bottle of plum wine while walking down your favorite shaokao strip is hard to beat. Get a Lipton red iced tea bottle, clean it up and bring it to a meizijiu vendor. You can get drunk and teach without anyone knowing. Great in a punch.
Number 3: CHONGQING SENLIN- What the hell is that? We found out about this classic cocktail just today at Moon Café in Huangjueping. This über-green tequila drink seems to be a favorite among the art crowd. No wonder, it's smooth and sweet and cold, perfect for dawang'ing in the art district...
Turbo Shandy #1
Number 2: CERTIFIED PURE WHISKY- Dill and Lee might not forgive us for suggesting you put ice cubes in their delicious imports instead of the prescribed drop of warm water, but it's summer dammit. If you can't find a bar that sells their stuff, worm your way into one of their exclusive Whisky Society meetings and get plastered like a pro (or a drunk)...
Number 1: TURBO SHANDY- The fuck? How did that make it to number one? We don't know but one thing's for sure, this is the stuff cool people will be drinking this summer. Half vodka/rum cooler, half beer. Serve with ice and chill on a terrace. Day drinking rules.
Chongqing Technology and Business University. Uphill from Wugongli station, on the still youngish blue subway line, has a pleasant campus with roads leading all the way to the woods on Nanshan and includes some of the poshest houses Chongqing has to offer. Hell, the chief of police executed in the wake of the 2009 gang crackdown used to own one of them, a gaudy affair a few doors down from the foreign teachers’ residence…
Despite the sexy mountaineering awaiting up there though, it was the food district across from the univeristy main gate (off 学府大道, Xuefu Dadao) that drew us to the area that night. Right there is one of the sweetest street food hubs in town, and right here is an introduction to the students, teachers and shaokao bosses who give it its international flavor.
The story starts with a group of French and American CTBU teachers who, having lost their favorite 24-hour restaurant, followed a savvy young teacher and his girlfriend into a worn-out bunkerish structure, hoping to find a new haunt. Now they had enough China experience under their belt to appreciate the corrugated steel “roof”, the ceaseless screaming amplified by the enclosed space and (most importantly) the fact they could sit on sturdy wooden benches rather than the usual iffy plastic stools. The gang was charmed and decided to spend the night drinking and basking in the atmosphere, once again completely forgetting to go to Jiefangbei.
This could be just another story of drunk laowai finding a new pre-funk spot, but here’s where the bunker gains a few extra cool points : Pierre-François Michel, the “Daddy of Shaokao” who frequents it “a mere five or six times a week”, tells us the young Frenchman who brought the gang to the food spot was none other than the Kalakuta Kid, the bearded DJ you might remember from these past articles :
A few words with the Kalakuta Kid
Exclusive mix from the Kalakuta Kid
Kalakuta kickin' it
The low profile joint quickly became the place to be for area teachers and their brethren, often turning into an all-night banquet of 10 to 20 people. No shit, but it gets better…
Last year, the bread-loving French crew discovered cheap, delicious baguettes back on campus, just a few hundred meters inside from the gate. They taught the shaokao guys how to slice it up to make sandwiches and just like that, discount fusion food followed.
“I got a buddy that keeps mustard in one of those guys’ fridge,” says Pierre who likes his chicken skewer sandwich with no extras. His friend Gaspard across the table is all about mixing it up. We went for chicken too, but added some lamb and an array of veggies, topping it off with a 3 kuai special sauce sold by the english-speaking seafood lady at the entrance.
Would a cheap fusion pig-out be complete without french fries ? No sir, that’s why our gallic friends taught the boss of the central shaokao how to make them. No biggie, to him it’s basically just ganbian toudousi without lajiao or huajiao, sprinkled with salt, pepper and small pieces of bacon. Dip it in the special sauce and you’re in for a treat…
Booze ? The bosses of the central shaokao, Jiangji (蒋记) and Luanpicai (乱啤财) all make their own baijiu and you can always get crates of beer from the closest stall …
The vibe is quite hassle-free, so don’t hesitate to order something from the excellent food carts outside, they’ll deliver to your table too !
How to eat like a CTBU veteran :
Roujiamo (肉夹馍) at Tea Storm : Go into the campus and up the hill, spot a bright yellow sign on your left after a minute’s walk or two. Remember, those chinese sandwiches drip, so make sure to pack tissues.
Baguettes at Bread & Cake : Five seconds further up. Baguettes 6 kuai.
Sushi at Taoke : Right next door. Make sure you tell ‘em no ketchup (bu yao fanqiejiang!) because, come on, that’s gross.
Go down and get yourself a nice beer at :
-the Lawson : out the main gate of the university and to the right. Asahi, Heineken, Carslberg and skunked Corona.
-the Kegou (可购): go out the gate and cross the road, go down a hundred meters or so after leaving the main road and look to to your left. Kaiserdom and Qingdao, but that’s pretty much it.
Walk down some more and bear right, the shaokao building is there. Don’t walk too far. The first stall on the right as you come in sells top-notch seafood and that special sauce you’re going to want at your table. Walk down the middle and the first big stall you’ll see on your left is what we refer to as the “central shaokao”, get your fries (shutiao-薯条) there.
Get a table
Scramble for food
The European Championship is upon us, and with a number of places to watch it CQSCENE took it upon ourselves to highlight a few good spots to take in all the action.
1. Li Dan Bar(not real name) on Hanyu Lu(just up the hill a bit from the traffic light) in Shapingba. With good AC, comfortable seating, and plenty of TVs and a projector, this lesser known spot is a great place to watch England lose to France!
2. Just down the road from Li Dan, Da Rasta will be showing all matches live on a projector, and replays of the previous night's matches starting at 19:00
3. The JW Marriot in Jefangbei is offering ¥98 for free-flow beer during all live matches.
4. If you're made fo gold, then The Harp Irish pub in HongYaDong will gladly take your first-born for a beer. And they might even show the football.
5. And for a less traditional route, True Color club will be showing the matches too a soundtrack of blaring electro-house!
It wasn't long ago that if one wanted a cold, reasonably priced beer in a relaxed environment in Chongqing they had to go to the "outside bar," aka "the umbrellas," in Jiefangbei. And if the weather were (as it is now) miserable, you were better ditching the beer for the 'warmth' of your own home, or over-extending your stay at a hot-pot restaurant (if that's even possible) to slurp down bottles of Shancheng away from the elements.
Thankfully my friends, those times are no longer upon us, as Chongqing now has a variety of well priced, non-deafening watering hulls that appease to both foreigners and locals alike. With a growing beer list, featuring brews from Laos (15RMB Beerlao) to Germany, and properly made cocktails such as the signature "Caribou Lou," the newest of which, billed as Chongqing's 'only reggae bar,' is Da Rasta.
Located in the student-centric hub of Shapingba, Da Rasta, with its reggae, or 'rasta' inspired motif is a great new option for those who enjoy pool/billiard, darts, or conversation with their booze. As befits the name, a steady stream of island rhythms makes up the typical soundtrack at Da Rasta, though the friendly staff are willing to accomodate a variety of musical tastes, just so long as it isn't death-metal or something equally obtrusive that you yearn for. And if you fancy yourself an intellectual, or just need an excuse to drink on Tuesdays(for free if you win), Da Rasta is host to Chongqing's only trivia night, every week at 21:00
Address: 重庆沙坪坝区(汉渝路/工人村)优派青年公寓B懂(near Hanyu Lu Bus station)
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