Dinner at Rose’s Luxury

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share how Ben and I celebrated early a few days ago, but please remember to love yourself, however you are able to best do that.

This is my 400th post on this blog, and I have officially been posting twice a week consistently for an entire calendar year. I’m really proud to have reached this point and may be taking a small hiatus in posting regularly while I pull myself together and refocus. (Might not, we’ll see how I feel!) Thank you so much for being with me this past year and these past 400 posts.


I have a lot of thoughts about the DC food scene, but I will admit that it is improving. (I’ll put up all my gripes about the DC food scene and places that have shown this improvement in the near future!) Last year, Washington DC was recognized as Bon Appetit magazine’s Restaurant City of the Year and also received its first-ever Michelin stars, and that is thanks to many great new restaurants and chefs that have made enough of a name for themselves to do fresh, bold things.

But we aren’t here to talk about the hot new places. Rose’s Luxury has been one of the most-hyped restaurants in the District since I started working in the area. It earned a Michelin star last year and can be reliably found on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list year after year. I’ve only ever heard good things from friends who’ve visited the restaurant, citing that yes, it is worth the hype!

Where does most of the hype come from? 2 things:

  1. Their most famous dish, a pork & lychee salad
  2. The fact that they do not take reservations, so people have to start waiting in line at 3pm in order to get a table for dinner… 2.5 hours later.

They do take reservations for large parties (6 or more), but I couldn’t find that many friends so I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to eat at Rose’s.

BUT THEN! Towards the end of last year, Rose’s Luxury announced that they would be accepting reservations! For parties of 2! With the purchase of a gift card that could be used towards that meal!

TL;DR Rose’s Luxury does an impressive job of combining a lot of different flavors in a balanced and unexpectedly delicious way, all while injecting a bit of sassy personality along the way.


Despite the name, Rose’s Luxury is not a luxurious, pretentious, fancy restaurant. In fact, you might walk past it if you’re not paying attention.

dcguide1015-roses-luxury
Photo: Travel & Leisure

Inside, the ambiance is similarly not-stuffy and, in fact, more on the hipster-trendy side. Rose’s has a lot of personality, and it shows in their decor. We were seated upstairs near the bar, and walked past my friends’ favorite seating area that is lit overhead by globe string lights.

dsc03000
“All unattended or misbehaving children will be given a shot of espresso & a free puppy.” Better keep your kids in line!

Behind me was a shelf with books and fun knick-knacks. A certificate in dining from Hooter’s did not escape me among the otherwise very Pinterest-worthy collection. The servers were dressed casually and otherwise indistinguishable from guests, who were not dressed to the nines for their 9pm dinners. In the bathroom, behind a small mirror was a window that overlooked the dining area below and still had elements of the personality that was subtly embedded in the entire restaurant experience.

20170209_230625-01.jpeg

20170209_230532-01.jpeg
“All employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Fortunately, we hire smart enough employees that we don’t have to remind them to do so.”

We had a gift certificate to blow on our 5th Valentine’s Day together, so let’s get into the food!

dsc03003

The meal kicked off with a soft potato brioche w/ bacon butter. This wasn’t particularly outstanding as far as breads go, but I liked the soft texture and the warmed, soft bacon butter a lot. I only wished it didn’t crumble so much because I want bread to go in my belly, not on the board.

LITTLE BITES

We enjoyed these little bites, and they were a great way to prep us for what is, I believe, the core of the Rose’s Luxury experience: pulling off interesting, unexpected, and bold flavor combinations.

dsc03004

Stuffed dates w/ cultured butter & walnuts // Ben took a bit to warm up to these, but I really liked the sweet and soft dates, the savoriness and warmth of the butter, and the slight crunch and bitterness of the walnuts.

dsc03005dsc03008

Foie gras tart w/ hazelnut, white chocolate, & Asian pear // This was the strangest of the little bites because of the white chocolate chips embedded in the not-sweet foie gras filling of the tart. But it still came together because of its creaminess and it complemented the sweet flavors of the chocolate and the pear. Kind of hated it when I first bit into it, but found myself liking it a lot by the time the bite was gone.

dsc03010

Sake & wasabi-marinated oysters w/ apple granita // I don’t usually like wasabi very much (sorry wasabi pea lovers!), but these oysters were great because of how the very different flavors and textures came together. It was a bit much for one slurp, but I liked how the frozen apple granita helped mollify the burn I would’ve felt from the wasabi and even from the sake, while still allowing some of flavor of the oyster to come through.

SMALL PLATES

dsc03013

Pork sausage, habanero, peanuts, & lychee // Here we are. The most famous dish at Rose’s Luxury, cited in over 250 reviews on Yelp. At the bottom were herbs and on top was a dollop of coconut cream that, as you stirred the whole thing, would melt over the salad and act as the dressing. There were a lot of flavors happening in this small plate and I do think this is a good example of how Rose’s Luxury really pushes the envelope with combining flavors. Ben and I found this salad a bit too salty and not really worth the hype, to be honest. It was tasty and honestly, I do admire what Aaron Silverman did with this flavor combination, but it didn’t change my life and I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it again.

dsc03016

Fried brussels sprouts w/ benne tahini, eel sauce, & bonito // The prominent flavors in this one were brussels sprouts and tahini, both of which are very strong flavors. I felt this was maybe the least successful in terms of balancing the flavors of all the components, but it was still tasty because the sprouts and tahini were an interesting combination. I just didn’t think the other flavors had much of an effect in the quantity that they were used.

dsc03019

Crispy squid w/ Yemeni hot sauce, romaine, & sweet lemon puree // By the time this came out, Ben and I were starting to feel the effect of the food. We hadn’t really eaten that much, but I think we felt very satiated by the sheer quantity of flavors that we were consuming. The flavors were pretty well-balanced in this one, although I didn’t detect much heat from the hot sauce and I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. The squid itself was… prepared okay? Not that crispy, but it’s hard for me to find a calamari I don’t like.

dsc03017

Thai-marinated pork blade steak w/ nahm prik slaw // Again, by the time this came out, Ben and I weren’t as eager about the food anymore. I was also really sleepy by this point in the evening, as we were seated for dinner at close to 9:30pm and I have been getting sleepy very early because I’ve been attempting exercise in the mornings. As a result, I don’t really have any thoughts about this pork dish, it didn’t stand out as particularly good or bad.

PASTA

If you’re thinking that maybe we were regretting ordering a pasta… you’d be right. I was nodding off at this point in the meal and my belly was trying to come to terms with how many flavors and ingredients it had met over the past hour. We ordered the farro reginetti w/ garlic, kale, & mustard greens and… it was okay.

dsc03020

The two of us, personally, do not like our pasta cooked very al dente, so the bite-y pasta was a bit of a struggle when 10:30, 11 was rolling around. The taste was fine but… pretty ordinary, to be really honest. A touch of sauce didn’t really help how overwhelmingly al dente this pasta was, and I wasn’t super excited about the leftovers I brought to lunch the next day.

dsc03021

However, our server, Janine, sent a “gift” of a little bit of their Martelli spaghetti w/ tomato, chili, basil, & Parmesan and that was coated in maybe the best pasta sauce I have ever tasted in my entire life? I like my tomato sauces to be a bit sweet, and this was the perfect amount of sweetness that I could tell wasn’t the result of the sloppy addition of sugar. We only were able to take some of this home because we were so done with the meal already, and having those two bites to enjoy over the weekend was nothing short of glorious. I really want the recipe for this tomato sauce, it was the highlight of the entire meal for me and we didn’t even order it! Thank you so much, Janine!

DESSERT

Listen, I know I said that I was basically passed out and unable to eat but I didn’t come all this way to celebrate Valentine’s Day and not eat dessert. You just gotta open up that dessert compartment in your stomach and you’re good to go. Based on Janine’s recommendation, we got the coconut ice cream with burnt caramel coconut and kiwi.

dsc03022

I didn’t love this, unfortunately. The ice cream was tasty, but I think it felt weird to have more coconut after the coconut cream from the pork & lychee salad during a meal where my mouth was constantly being surprised by different flavors and how they were combined. A repeat performance by coconut was like, “Hey… what are you doing back here?” Also, I did not like the burnt caramel coconut. It was sticky in that unpleasant way that lent it a kind of poor mouthfeel and I found the bitterness to just not really work at this point in the evening. And kiwi was a fun choice but I’m not sure I loved the tartness of the kiwi with the sweet and creamy ice cream. I know that people really love this dessert, but I think I just wasn’t in the mood for more coconut or for a flavor to come from burnt-ness.

dsc03025

At the end of the meal, our receipt was brought out to us with a sesame brittle and little touches that made us smile.

dsc03027
1 Hooray! 2 Side of Winning, 1 Helluva Time, 1 Side of Awesome, all free of charge

I enjoyed my time at Rose’s Luxury but I’m glad I never had to wait hours to eat here. I don’t think it’s worth that kind of wait, and as a result I don’t think it’s worth the level of hype it has achieved. That being said, Aaron Silverman and his team are doing some incredible things with food and flavor that I think DC needs more of.  Even the small plates format – which I normally loathe here in DC – works for this because you are getting small punches of these crazy flavors.

Rose’s Luxury
717 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 580-8889
www.rosesluxury.com

Reservations for the tasting menu can be made for groups of 6-8. Private parties for 8-12 on the rooftop garden can be reserved and include a different tasting menu.


What are some of the most famous and/or hyped restaurants where you live?
What makes a restaurant worth the hype for you?

Advertisements

5 Ways to Be a Good Valentine – To Yourself

February is primarily known for one big commercial holiday and that is, of course, Valentine’s Day. People’s attitudes towards Valentine’s Day changes as time goes on, from anticipating getting all those little cards featuring your favorite TV cartoon holding lollipops from everyone in your class to the promotions you get in your email inbox featuring all things pink and flowers and chocolate.

At this point, I think many of us don’t think too much of Valentine’s Day, regardless of relationship status. February 15 discounts on heart-shaped candy aside, some people don’t think there’s much to get excited about. And maybe there isn’t.

But I think that a month and a half after the start of the new year — another arbitrary marker of the passing of time, yes I know, go with it — it’s nice to reflect on the goals we made for 2017 but also to take some time to be consciously kind to ourselves.

Whether you love this day or hate it, have someone to share romantic feelings with or not, Valentine’s Day is a good time to check in with yourself and make sure you feel some love. Why not take the day (or the weekend before the day) to treat yo self?

https://i1.wp.com/www.vomzi.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/latest-treat-yo-self-gif-124.gif

Here are 5 suggestions for how to be your own Valentine this year:

Take a bath / Soak your feet

https://i0.wp.com/www.theislandbath.com/assets/images/mom-bubble-bath-de.jpg

Taking a bath is one of those things that has become cliché in its association with self-care and self-indulgence but for good reason! It just feels so nice, even if you don’t add in all the little extras like bubbles and rose petals and bath bombs etc. etc. etc. Submerging your body in warm/hot water is just a physically relaxing sensation for your muscles and nerves.

HOWEVER. Maybe you don’t have a bit ol’ bathtub. Maybe you do but the prospect of making it clean enough for a bath is giving you a headache? (Guilty here!) In that case, just do a nice little foot soak. I do this in one of those wide, shallow plastic bowls (they always have a stack of these colorful things in Asian groceries) but sometimes I’ll also just do it in my bathroom sink if I have room to sit my butt on the counter beside it.

There’s no need to buy anything extra for a bath or foot soak. You can literally just soak in warm-to-hot water, or add in some soap/body wash to add some soapy cleaning power to the water. If you’d like to buy yourself a little somethin’, look into:

  • Bath salts
  • Bubble bath
  • Bath oils
  • Bath bombs

And make sure to use a lotion you love afterwards! It locks in the good feeling you got in the bath for a little longer, and it’s like a little massage for yourself.

(And fellas, you treat yourselves to a bath, too, or at least a foot soak.)

Have a dance party (for one)

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1455637696518-1bb72679c100?dpr=2&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1500&h=1000&q=80&cs=tinysrgb&crop=

If you have a space to yourself, either put on some earbuds/headphones or turn up your speakers, and rock out to your favorite groove-able music for a bit! If you don’t but you don’t mind sharing your dance party with others, then invite your roommates, family members, whoever to join you in the dancing!

You got your favorite music. You got dancing, which feels good because something something exercise and also music! And you’re dancing for the sake of dancing. You’re not going out, buying drinks, paying cover, getting jostled by sweaty people, losing your friends, finding a ride, etc. etc. etc.

It’s just dancing. Wear whatever you want. Dance however you want. To whatever music you want. Enjoy it!

Eat a nice meal (for one)

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1441956012299-6de0ee8948bd?dpr=2&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1500&h=1000&q=80&cs=tinysrgb&crop=

You can do this by either a) cooking a beautiful meal for yourself or b) taking yourself on a solo date but you deserve to have some lovely food for yourself.

If you enjoy cooking, then why not make yourself a spectacular meal at home? Make your favorite meal, or make something a little special that maybe you normally wouldn’t spend the time on for just yourself. You deserve it, you really do. (Apologize to future self for the dishes.)

If you enjoy eating out a lot more, take yourself out to eat. This is a little scary, but it’s not as weird as it seems. Bring a book, sit at the bar if one is available, and finally eat at the spot you want to without working so hard to find someone who is free and wants to eat the same thing.

The solo date feels a bit weird, even if you do it at home, but I think it’s important to treat yourself like the important person in your life that you are. And to be able to enjoy your own company and treat that time like the, well, treat that it is. (Yes, even us extroverts!)

PLUS you get to eat whatever you want! Breakfast for dinner? Food combinations that your loved ones judge you for liking? That restaurant that your friends don’t like because the food is too “weird” but you love so much? Go. Eat. Be merry.

I understand that this can be limited by budget, so feel free to also scale this idea back and just indulge in some of your favorite snacks or junk food — in moderation. Junk food will make you feel pretty crummy inside if you eat too much of it, so feel free to indulge in chocolate or chips or fries or pizza… just not too much! And do it mindfully. Don’t just demolish a bag of popcorn while binge-watching. Just sit with a small bowl of your food, and enjoy it and nothing else.

Go to a museum / art gallery / aquarium / zoo

lrg_dsc00358-01.jpeg

If you have free admission to any of these institutions in your area (thank you, Smithsonian, for existing), I definitely recommend trying this out one of these days. If not, I would still suggest trying to visit one near you and to visit alone. These outings can be really fun with friends as a social activity, but I get the most out of the museum/gallery itself when I visit alone.

This is because I am able to go at my own pace, read every single placard, visit every nook and cranny. I can also just sit in one spot for a while, people-watching, painting-watching, fish-watching, monkey-watching… it’s nice to just slow down and take it all in.

I do feel like I get more of an educational value from museums and galleries and aquariums and zoos when I go alone, even if I go on a “free day” that the place is hosting and there are a lot of people swarming the joint.

Really make your bed and sleep in / take a nap

https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1450776598040-e0dbb5665213?dpr=2&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1500&h=930&q=80&cs=tinysrgb&crop=

Wash your sheets, with your favorite scented laundry products if you can. (Sorry. Just do it, you’ll thank yourself later.) While you wait for your bed linens to wash and dry, get yourself ready. Brush your teeth, wash your face, go through a full skincare routine if you’d like (another great way to treat yourself on its own!). Take a shower (or a bath!) if you typically shower before you sleep. Put on your coziest pajamas, or your softest T-shirt, or get ready to sleep in your birthday suit — whatever you sleep in to maximize feeling good in your bed.

Make your bed with your favorite sheets, make it real nice. Smooth it out, fluff up your pillows, actually tuck your comforter into the cover. Maybe spritz it with a nice calming scent. (Apparently they make sprays just for the bed!) Go ahead and invite your cuddliest stuffed animal to your bed if you don’t want to sleep completely alone.

Climb into your warm, fresh-smelling bed. Put on a little eye mask if you are sleeping during the day or just need to shut out any distracting lights. (I use one of those free ones that I get on planes or from hotels.) Maybe play some white noise or some quiet, calm instrumental music or some nature sounds like ocean waves, rain falling, rivers flowing.

If you’re taking a nap, set an alarm so that you’re waking up at the end of a sleep cycle and so that you don’t accidentally take a 4-hour nap in the middle of the day. (Oops, I can’t be the only one?)

If you are sleeping in and are able to, turn off all your alarms and turn off your phone notifications. Maybe set your phone to silent. Maybe put your phone far from your bed.

Definitely do not look at your phone before you fall asleep. Don’t check social media. Don’t check the news. Don’t watch a video. The most you should be doing it setting alarms, if necessary, and maybe playing any sleep sounds.

Enjoy your sleep the best you can.


These suggestions are meant to make you feel better afterwards. Indulging in a lot of alcohol and junk food and “bad television” might feel good when you’re doing it, but you usually don’t feel good after. I want the good feelings leftover from treating yourself to linger on afterwards.

I also tried to think of things you could do without spending a ton of money on yourself, or spending none at all if possible. Sure, it’d be great if we could all just take ourselves on a fly vacation, but that’s not an option for most of us. You don’t need to spend money to treat yourself well. (Sarah over at YesAndYes.org has a great list of things you can do for yourself that don’t involve eating or buying.)

What are your favorite ways to treat yourself? I like to go through my maximum skincare routine, masks and serums and all, and then enjoy a nice cup of decaf Earl Grey with some vanilla milk-alternative and some kind of little cookie or pastry. (Got some frozen mini eclairs in the freezer that can thaw while I do my face!)
Do you have any fun Valentine’s Day plans?
I know that there are a lot of activities going on in the DC area and I have a fairly packed Saturday so I will try to take Sunday as a day to treat myself.

The National Museum of China

Somehow, my mom started telling folks in China that I came to Beijing wanting to just seem the museums!!! Even though I didn’t know about any museums that weren’t the Forbidden City, really. However, as a person who reads every word on every placard in any museum, gallery, aquarium, zoo, what have you, I did really enjoy visiting 2 amazing and free (!!!) museums in Beijing with my aunts. Because I was maybe the only person interested in the exhibits, we didn’t spend an awful lot of time in either museum, so I’ll have to go back someday soon and see the rest! The first one I want to talk about is:

National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆)

dsc02596

The National Museum (国家博物馆) is an easy stop if you will be visiting Tiananmen Square, as it’s directly across the street, and is a great stop to get an expansive look at China’s history.

dsc02595
View of Tiananmen from the museum
dsc02598
View of Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and other landmarks through the haze

dsc02600dsc02604

You can start with prehistoric times by looking at the oldest human fossils found in China and go all the way through to the Qing dynasty, the last dynasty before the Communist Revolution.

dsc02606dsc02605

dsc02603
Statues of prominent members of the founding class of the Communist Party of China

While I was able to visit the Forbidden City and its accompanying museum, many imperial artifacts are actually kept here in the National Museum, such as the furniture and accoutrements of the various rooms that would otherwise be left exposed to tourists and the elements.

dsc02608
This is one of the most famous pieces in the entire museum is this Shang dynasty bronze zun with 4 sheep heads

dsc02613

dsc02621
I loved this piece depicting a fierce battle between 2 armies
dsc02623
It was so raw and didn’t hold back with how epic and violent war can be
dsc02619
Another favorite was this depiction of the different tenets of traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and weighing out herbal medicine ingredients the old way

dsc02611

dsc02610
I’ve never seen the Terracotta Army but now I’ve seen 3 members of it

The museum is huge. We only had a few hours and did not get to see all the exhibits, including a waxwork exhibit of key figures in Chinese history. I’m glad we were able to stop by a section that was devoted to statues of important historical people. If you don’t know any important people from China’s history, go up to the top floor of the National Museum and learn about the people who are depicted in statue up there.

dsc02620
Xuanzang, the Buddhist monk whose pursuit of Sanskrit scriptures inspired the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West

dsc02616

dsc02625
Qinshihuang, the first Emperor of China, known for achievements like unifying China and commissioning the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army

dsc02624

During my visit, there was a collaboration exhibit with the museum and Qatar museums on pearls. They had a lot of stunning pearl work, from intricate pearl beading found in imperial costumes to items from Elizabeth Taylor’s personal collection. They also had really cool items like an oyster shell that trapped a fish beneath layers of mother-of-pearl.

dsc02630
Little fish trapped in mother-of-pearl. Beside this was an X-ray showing its bones
dsc02631
Other creatures have also been unfortunate enough to be trapped beneath an iridescent layer in a mollusk, like these worms
DSC02626.jpg
Salvador Dali’s Ruby Lips and Elizabeth Taylor’s pearl ring

I didn’t take many photos, contrary to how many you see here, because I was furiously reading signs and trying to take in as much information as I could. To think that there were entire wings of the museum that I didn’t get to see, while I was speedwalking through the ones I did get to browse, blows my mind.

I can’t wait to come back and explore the rest of the museum and their new exhibits!

National Museum of China

Admission: FREE – citizens need their ID and non-nationals need to bring a passport
Security: Do not bring large bags, as they will not be permitted. A thorough security check is required before entering the museum, so be prepared to have your bag scanned and to be patted down. Lighters are prohibited, as evidenced by the giant basket of ’em at the security checkpoint. Photos are permitted, as you can see, but not in all exhibits.


What is your favorite history museum? I don’t think I can choose a favorite history museum, since those are my favorites. And really, aren’t all museums history museums? I definitely love when they are free, though! Free access to history is something I really take for granted, as someone who is a hop, skip, and jump away from so many Smithsonian institutions.

How much would you say you know about Chinese history? I know… some. My dad bought me a documentary set that covered literally every era of Chinese history, from prehistoric times through all the dynasties and wars through to the Communist Revolution. A lot of information has since leaked out of my brain, but I try to refresh bits and pieces of it every now and then and this museum visit helped a lot!

Bit Burned Out

I am just a few days away from being on-schedule for one full calendar year! If you had told me in February of 2016 that I would be posting Tuesday/Friday every week (except for the weeks where I attempted Monday/Thursday) for an entire year, I would’ve laughed because I have never been that regular with blog posting in my long blogging life.

There are a lot of posts I have brewing in my head, and I want to share them with you so badly. There are many more China travel posts, the Europe posts I swear to everything are in my head ready to be put to keyboard soon, more general posts, etc.

But I’m experiencing a bit of burnout.

I’m not sure why. I don’t think work has been particularly stressful or high-pressure. I was with my family for 2 weeks in China before coming back.

And yet, ever since getting back, I’ve felt very off. The simplest way for me to describe it is that I’m mentally exhausted. The current political climate does not help at all, but I just desperately want to turn off my brain. I actually started working out in January, and I think I’ve been throwing myself into that because I can do something that feels productive without thinking much at all. Then I go to work sore, unmotivated, unable to concentrate, unwilling to eat.

Even when I socialize with people, the textbook extrovert I tend to be, I’m only half there. I hear how fake my laugh sounds. Whereas I always have a hard time ending a conversation, I find myself wondering how much longer I can keep one up before I just stop being able to. I feel like it shows in my face, that the conversations are wearing me down from my already worn-down state.

My head hurts often and so does my belly. I’m lethargic and sleepy, and I don’t think it’s just because of how early I’m waking up to work out. I’m breaking out. I’m gaining weight. I’m taking a long time to recover from exercise.

So I will make it to one calendar year, but I will need to take a break after that post. Blogging on schedule has been really great for me and for this blog. NOt only do I have that great aesthetic pattern on my WordPress calendar but it’s good to write twice a week. Nowadays, though, I’ve been scrambling to put together low-quality posts the morning of my deadlines and I hate putting out these bad posts for you. I hate that this has become a burden and not a fun outlet.

I’ll be taking a little break very soon, and I hope I find my way back to normal soon and can finish sharing all the things I was so excited to share with you all just a few weeks ago.

I apologize in advance if post quality continues to be lower over the next few posts, but I hope the break will fix that.


Do you have any tips for burnout?

Also, I really want to stress that it’s important to stay active and woke and call your representatives and remember that you are a part of history regardless of what you do or don’t do but you can help make history if you are active about it. This applies no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I encourage even those of you whose views differ from mine to stay informed and stay active. I will always defend your right to do so.

The World’s Tallest + Longest Glass Bridge (Zhangjiajie)

About a year ago, I started seeing videos and articles on Facebook about how there was going to be a new tourist attraction built at Zhangjiajie, amidst the mountains that inspired the scenes of Pandora in Avatar. In August, the longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world opened to visitors. I definitely did not think this was something I’d ever do. I visited Zhangjiajie several years ago, and it was really beautiful but quite a strenuous hike. China has been building a lot of attractions for the sole purpose of attracting tourists, and I didn’t want to positively reinforce that cycle.
Yet there I was, putting little shoe covers on over my feet and looking at the to scale diorama of the bridge and the canyon below it.
dsc02740
Here’s my experience with the record-setting glass bridge in Zhangjiajie.
Planning ahead would be best when it comes to visiting this Facebook-famous attraction.
  • You can reserve tickets online a day in advance, and this is, I believe, the best deal you can get on the tickets. We got ours from a tour agency on the way up, and they sell tickets at the door at the highest mark-up.
  • While the mountains are always a little misty, and the pollution is difficult to escape, the view on the bridge is more impressive on a clear and sunny day. We got clouds, so maybe that’s why I didn’t feel as much vertigo.
  • If you have a large bag (larger than a purse), you will be asked to check it – for a fee – at the concierge at the front.
  • You cannot bring your large camera in and will have to check that as well.  You can, of course, bring in your phone. I had my little camera in my pocket and had no issues with bringing it onto the bridge, but there were zero folks with larger cameras like DSLRs out on the bridge; I was the only person using not my phone camera to take photos.
  • Food is also prohibited on the bridge.There are a lot of little stands that sell food, so leave yours behind as they don’t want to attract too many critters onto the glass!
  • Don’t wear stilettos. You will not be allowed to wear them onto the bridge, as Force = Pressure / Area and the tiny area of your heel is very dangerous.
dsc02739
The English portion of the rules on the bridge
Once you arrive in the visitor center, you will receive a pair of shoe covers to keep the glass flooring dirt-free. They are mandatory, so don’t worry about getting that #shoefie or #selfeet (??) photo on the glass – you will be wearing those stylish covers on your feet. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes if you choose to hike (more on the canyon hike below).
dsc02760
Mine were a wine red but I’ve seen a lot of different colors online! And yeah, that’s a pretty steep drop…
The glass bridge in Zhangjiajie spans the Grand Canyon, not to be confused with the famous canyon of the same name in Arizona. It measures ‎430 meters (1410 feet) long, ‎6 meters (20 feet) wide, and ‎300 meters (984 feet) high, making it the world’s longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world as of now.
DSC02743 (1).jpg
In the front is the pane of shattered glass, upon which several tons are resting to demonstrate the structural integrity of the bridge and each pane that makes it

Stepping out on the bridge, you get the briefest sense of vertigo. I think that because we came on a rather overcast day, it wasn’t as bad because you didn’t have as clear of a view of the bottom of the canyon. The glass starts on the cliff, so you aren’t immediately stepping over a 1000-foot drop. Rather, you start on the rocks of the cliff, right beneath your feet, walk on some treetops, and then before you know it, the glass is only separating you from the earth and water hundreds of meters away.

dsc02753

There is a limit as to how many people are allowed on the bridge at any given time, and most of them congregate near the beginning of the bridge. Construction is not yet complete on the other side, so as of now, the front is the entrance and the exit; there is no through traffic on the bridge just yet.

dsc02746

At some point, they are planning on setting up the bridge for ziplining and bungee jumping, which I think is insane but whatever gets people’s blood pumping! If you’re looking for a quieter kind of thrill, I think the views here are pretty dang good.

dsc02747
With or without pollution, there is always a mystical mist drifting through the mountains in Zhangjiajie…

You’ll notice a lot of folks laying on the ground for their photos (like the selfie that was requested of me above) and trying to capture the drop below the glass. If you really want that to be clear, go on a clear day. The overcast day makes for moodier photos where you can only clearly see the drop below you in your shadow, as the reflection of the cloudy sky is very bright in the glass.

dsc02758
Here’s a shot of our teen tour guide, and you can see that her shadow shows the cliffs behind her most clearly

This was a lot of fun to visit in person, and so soon after I saw viral videos about this attraction online! I do wish we had sunnier weather, but with how bad the pollution has been in China, sunny clear skies are becoming increasingly rare.

Is it worth a visit? Maybe, once. It is super hyped in those videos, but honestly, the scariest thing was the dude stomping and galloping on the panes, causing the entire bridge the wobble. (Can you keep a secret? I would have only been a little distressed if someone pushed him off the bridge…) Also the hike through the Grand Canyon was terrifying but I’ll talk about that in the next one!


Would you visit this bridge? I would definitely recommend visiting Zhangjiajie in general, as it’s a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site with breath-taking views and mountains.
Have you ever walked on glass-bottomed bridges before?
I don’t know of any other ones, and this one just became very famous!