Viator Tour Fails to Produce What It Promised

Every once in a while, you hit a tour that over-promises and under-delivers. Perhaps the copywriter got carried away. Perhaps the copywriter never took the tour. Perhaps our interpretation of the wording was wrong. However, when Viator tours promoted  a “Small-Group Beijing Street Food Tour at Night Including Dumpling Making”, we expected something  different from what we experienced.

The tour was promoted as an immersive culinary experience in Beijing. “This gourmet food tour at night takes you through mazes of alleys to markets and street vendors service up local specialties.” Three food samples were included in the tour. Dinner was included at a 77-year-old woman’s home where we were served an assortment of foods including meatballs, a mushroom dish, rice, peanut, chicken  and, oh yes, dumplings, which were, well, not the best we’ve had. The good part was that this was actually a courtyard where she lived and we got to see an actual home. And the dumpling making class….well, using dough that was already made and formed, she showed us how she put the filling in and seal the dumpling. Then we got to make one ourselves. A class? Educational? No. Disappointment? Yes.

Bottom, line, you get dinner, you get a tour of a market, it wasn’t a culinary delight. Nor would I consider it to be a dumpling making class.

The good:

  • Visiting a local person’s home and seeing how they live
  • Visiting a night market
  • Walking around Houhai Lake include bar street
  • Small group…just the 2 of us
  • Tour around a night market where our guide answered our questions about what different things were

night market stalls night food market - making pancake with chili, plum sauce, scallions, lettuce and crispy rice cake -- donkey sandwich Bar Street 01

The OK:

  • The tastings….although I can’t say that tasting yogurt was exciting. And we never got to taste the dragon fruit that our guide bought for us. We did taste some type of pancake which was good. We didn’t realize that we should have suggested what we wanted to taste.

The not so good

  • Dinner. There was more than enough food and a variety of food. But I wouldn’t consider it a dumpling dinner. The couple of dumplings that came at the end were not very tasty and fell apart as if they were overcooked. Maybe it was a cooking style, but it was disappointing
  • The dumpling “class”. We learned how to put something into a preformed pastry round and squeeze it close. Not exactly a class and not exactly educational. We had no idea of the filling and no idea of the dough. Very disappointing

We don’t blame our guide as he did a good job. But whoever wrote up the description needs to take the tour as it was misleading.

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