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September 25, 2010

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Fire up the barbie and grab a beer

THE first beer and barbecue festival in a city park is underway in Pudong's Binjiang Forest Park through October 7. Barbecue facilities are free and there's lots of music and scenery to enjoy. Tan Weiyun reports.

The Beer and Barbecue Festival is in full swing in Binjiang Forest Park, offering kite flying, live rock and roll, jazz, dancing and nighttime BBQ parties.

The fun, part of the Shanghai Tourism Festival, runs through October 7 in Pudong New Area.

"We are the first to hold a Beer and Barbecue Festival in a city forest park and hope it will become a No. 1 brand," said park director Xu Zhong.

The barbecue party on the southwest lawn, surrounded by forests, offers snacks and barbecue feasts from various countries and regions around China. Visitors can select and grill their own, or a cook can prepare the food.

"Visitors are welcomed to come on stage and show their own singing talent," said Xu.

Special areas are designated for nighttime camp fires, with firewood provided. Smoke-free, non-polluting charcoal is provided, but visitors must buy it.

The 10,000-square-meter lawn, used to fly kites during the day, can accommodate around 300 people at the daily barbecue parties.

In the DIY area, 200 barbecue grill utilities are provided free of charge.

The barbecue facilities are fixed so they cannot be tipped over and cause fire or injury.

A safety team of 52 inspectors from local police stations patrol the facilities during the festival until midnight in case of emergencies, such as fires.

More than 20 barbecue and food providers offer hundreds of different snacks and barbecues from various countries.

Specialties include mutton from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Taiwan oyster omelette, roast sparrow from Mt Changbai in Jilin Province, Japanese saury and tempura, German sausage, Suzhou red bean paste, old-fashioned yogurt from Qinghai Lake, coconut juice from Hainan Province, Korean rice cake, Sichuan sour and spicy noodle, and various meat rolls and kabobs.

Vanilla-scented red glutinous rice is wrapped with vanilla leaves grown in Yunnan Province.

Brightly colored Korean fruit pudding comes in flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, pineapple and apple.

Sichuan beancurd skin is known for its hot and spicy flavor. The famed Sichuan snack is made of mushrooms, spring bamboo, diced lean pork, smoked beancurd and egg.

Another popular Sichuan dish is maoxuewang (duck blood in chili sauce), which looks bloody red and tastes extremely spicy.

Two live music shows are held daily, from 11:30am-1pm and 5:30pm-8:30pm. Rock, pop, jazz and many other vibes are offered, including some classic old timers for older people.

Near the barbecue area is a kids' play zone where children can build sand castles, jump on air cushions, shoot air guns and win toys in lucky draws.

"Parents can leave their children here and enjoy the beer themselves," the director said.

A barbecue supermarket will be built after the festival ends so that visitors can choose their food during various seasons, build campfires and barbecue on weekends in the forest setting.

The park has set up two bus stops during the festival at the Metro Line 6 Gangcheng Road Station and Metro Line 3 Shuichan Road Station.


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