31 | Jul | 13

Richard Johnson

China In Your Hands

I remember an austere bartender in Cardiff once poured me a Tian’anmen. I had never heard of the cocktail, and laughed – mockingly. “What? Like the Square?” I asked. “Yes” he replied, without a hint of a smile. “This drink is dedicated to the victims of the massacre on the Place of Heavenly Peace in Beijing on June 3, 1989.” I didn’t bother him for the complimentary bar nuts, and just crept back to my table. The Tian’anmen was the first Chinese cocktail I had ever had. It was blood red. And it left a sickly taste in my mouth. I think it was probably the guilt. Or, possibly, the insipid mix of Grand Marnier and Galliano. But China has never been a country I associate with rockin’ good times. That, I think, is changing. And — if you know where to look — the street food is an education. Any tips? Please jot them below. But here is a good place to start.