Hutong House Dream

May 22, 2015 By Tamara Treichel

This April, I moved back to Beijing for a year. During my last stay, I spent three consecutive years here, all in apartments with amenities Westerners would consider basic —  elevators, hot water around the clock, central heat and shower stalls or at least a shower curtain. Yet this time around, I was feeling a bit more adventurous and decided I was ready for the ultimate Beijing experience — a “hutong house.” Hutong houses, I heard, are popular among some of the more seasoned Beijing expats and date back several hundreds of years to China’s dynastic era. Sadly, more and more hutong houses are being torn down to make way for roads and high-rises — you can recognize the “writing on the wall” for some, the character 拆  (chai, “tear down”).

Guijie food street -- many hutongs are located close by

Guijie food street — many hutongs are located close by

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