Lab moved (again)

Today our lab moved back to Kroghstræde 3 and we have set up two interim experimental rooms for testing where we hope to begin collecting data again some time next week or at least by early November. Currently we have three projects starting up one on synaesthesia, one on attention, and finally, some piloting of methodological issues.

We will try and get the lab fully up and running before the end of the year, but this is somewhat dependant on when our office space is freed up for the furniture currently occupying large parts of the lab space.

When the lab is up and running – hopefully around the beginning of the new semester – we will try and hold an official opening of the lab, where we also present some of our work. More on the official opening data – probably some time in January.

Visiting the hutongs of Beijing

The hutongs of Beijing are a very nice area to walk around in experiencing the more traditional housing from an age before the invasion of the skyscrapers. I especially like the area near the drum tower on Gulou Dongdajie and Nanluoguxiang. Nanluoguxiang is a walking street filled with various small shops, bars and restaurants, and is usually a fairly crowded area. There is a metro station for line 8 in the south end of Nanluoguxiang, line 2 north of Beiluoguxiang at Andingmen station, and finally line 2 and 8 goes to Yonghegong Lama Temple. Both Lama Temple and particularly Confucius Temple a bit to the south of Yonghegong station are worth a visit.

Foodie maps2

Beilou Ace Bar

I discovered this small roadside bar earlier this year and not only do they make very nice cocktails, but both the staff and the owner is very nice and hospitable, making this an ideal refuge from the otherwise buzzling Nanluoguxiang. Beilou Ace Bar is a combination of cocktails and coffee bar and as such is open during the afternoon. The local charm and atmosphere of the place combined with good craftsmanship behind the bar makes this one of my favorite places to hang out in the inner city. Here children are playing in the street while people and life passes by in a simple pace, as you sip on a daiquiri – or just a good cup of coffee.

Mai Bar

Mai bar is located a bit further north of Beilou bar, also on the right hand side, and this more traditional cocktail bar typically opens around dinnertime. It is a fairly popular venue focusing on both making good cocktails and developing own variations on more traditional recipes, making it a nice place to spend a few hours with friends after dinner.

Amilal Whiskey Bar

The final bar in this post is the Amilal Bar near Goulou Dongdajie. This bar is tucked away a few meters down an alley from the main street where you can sneak through a small door into an even smaller courtyard and into a very charming small whiskey bar. So if you are a fan of whiskey this is definitely a must on your visit into the inner city of Beijing. The bar has a very nice selection of different brands, and the traditional interior and wooden structure nicely complements a glass of whiskey.

Mr. Shi’s Dumplings


If you are in the mood for traditional Beijing dumplings I think Mr. Shi’s is the place to go. There are two venues just parallel to Beiluoguxiang; the main shop and kitchen on the east side of the street and an additional place to dine a bit more to the south on the west side. Here you can order most traditional chinese dishes which are very good, but the main star is really the traditional northern dumpling that looks a bit like a meat-filled pancake. The number of different dumplings you can order is overwhelming including different meats and vegetables. You cannot find my favorite Shanghai dumplings at Mr. Shi’s, but somehow you easily forget these when served with the equally delicious fried dumplings from Mr. Shi.

Dali Courtyard

Hidden away in one of the small alleys of Goulou street is a gem of a Yunnan restaurant. It can be somewhat challenging to locate as it only have a small slightly anonymously sign hanging in the alley. However, once inside you will find yourself in an immensely charming courtyard restaurant. This is probably my second favorite Yunnan restaurant – and no spoilers for a later post on my favorite. The restaurant has a set menu and the only decision the customer has to take is on drinks and when they ask for allergies, so that the kitchen can avoid these dishes. This is particularly a nice place if you are a smaller group, as the number of different dishes seem dependent on the size of the group. The food served is much more vegetable based than I usually prefer, but the seasoning and also a variety of meat dishes actually works surprisingly well. The food have a very rustic and authentic feel to it, and eating under a clear evening sky in the center of Beijing is amazing.

Café Zarah 

Named after the daughter of German friends to the owner, this café has recently undergone a thorough renovation, and is as charming as the story behind the name. The menu looks very similar most western cafés and is a very nice place to go for lunch as well as for working on your laptop. After the renovation of the café they also made an expansion into the courtyard, as well as a small rooftop area which is usually open in the evenings around the weekend. You can find more information about the café here on their homepage.

Vineyard Café

Another nice café with a more western menu is the Vineyard Café close to Lama Temple. Here you can order burgers, pizza, as well as eggs Benedict for those weekend mornings where this is needed to kickstart the day.

Places to go near Workers Stadium

Going to the Sanlitun area of Beijing is a great choice as there are several good places to eat and hangout. As Sanlitun often is very crowded I tend to prefer the area around Workers Stadium a bit west of Sanlitun. Unfortunately, this is just between two metro stations (Dongsishitiao at the 2nd ring road and Tuanjiehu at the 3rd ring road) – so it is either to go there by taxi or there will be a small walk if you chose the Metro. It seems that line 17 is planned to go by the stadium some time in the future, but for now line 2 or 10 are the best options by subway. Also, as Sanlitun is a very crowded area it tend to be a challenge to get a cab of the street in the evening, however, if you ask a waiter, then they are often very helpful in calling one through the Chinese taxi app.

Foodie maps

Great Leap Brewery

If you grow a bit weary of the very thin pilsner like beer you get served most places, then Great Leap Brewery is the place to visit. They have two branches one near Workers Stadium and another close to Houhai. I have only visited the one near workers stadium which is located a bit of the main road, nevertheless, it is still fairly easy to spot once you pass it. When you enter the place it has the feel of a combined sports bar and micro brewery, and the food and drinks are very pub-like. The food is probably best described as greasy pub food, but it is still quite tasty, and if you have not had a decent burger in a while, this seems to do the trick. However, the main star of the venue is the beers in all its variety seem to be somewhat stronger that the typical Tsingtao. So if you fancy a porter, stout, or a pale ale this is definitely the place to visit.

Da Dong Roast Duck

This is probably one of the more well known roast duck restaurants in Beijing and is typically mentioned in the guidebooks. It is located on the back of a larger building and can be a bit difficult to spot, but most taxi drivers know where to find it. It is not my favorite roast duck restaurant, but it is both very popular and also serves up some good food.

Iki Korean BBQ

Another very popular spot is the Korean BBQ near Workers Stadium so you really need to make a reservation if you do not want to risk waiting for an hour for a table. The staff is usually very friendly and helpful. Once where I had not made the proper reservations we had been waiting for some time in the bar, they served some smaller dishes on the house for our patience.

Each table is equipped with a grill in the middle of the table and then you order the different types of meat and vegetables you like from the menu. These are then served raw with different spices and marinades for you to grill directly at the table, and sometime if they are not too busy the waiter can assist in the process – although I also think it depends slightly on how hopeless your BBQ skills looks. When the meat is cooked it is served in lettuce with kimchi and different spices. Especially, their sausages are very nice, and a must in any order.

Hidden House

This speakeasy is probably my favorite cocktail bar in Beijing. Like any speakeasy there is no sign from the outside signalling anything of particular interest, and you really need to know of it’s location. In the summertime people may be sitting outside revealing the location of the bar, but as the weather grows colder it get increasingly difficult to spot. Once you enter the fairly anonymously door from the outside street, you will find yourself in a fairly small room dressed only with some shelves and a single door. However, the door only seem to lead to a restroom, but as you press the lightswitch for what looks to be the lights, one of the bookshelves slide away revealing a hidden bar on the other side. The atmosphere is very relaxing and the bartenders know what they are doing serving up traditional cocktails as well as their own variations on different themes. This is an ideal spot to go for an evening cocktail after dinner – or if you forgot to reserve the table at Iki, before dinner. Although in the latter case you may run the risk of never getting back to Iki.

Lunch near Zhong Guan Cun Dong Lu

I often visit Beijing to teach on the Neuroscience and Neuroimaging programme at the Sino-Danish Center of Education and Research, and in the last few years the classes have been taught at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Teaching Building in the Zhongguancun campus. During this time I have visited several of the restaurants in the area and although these often does not look particularly fancy there are a number of great places to have dinner or grab a quick lunch. Unfortunately, my Chinese is too rusty to decipher the names so I have marked them on the maps below including a picture of the main entrance.


The muslim restaurant serves a variation of tradition Chinese dishes, with an emphasis on lamb, meat skewers, and naturally, no pork. However, this is an amazing restaurant, and probably my favorite spot for lunch near the CAS campus. Here one of the dishes that is an absolute must, is one of the two bread and meat dishes (either meat and bread fried together, or served on top of a round bread looking a bit like a pizza with serious topping). Also, the noodles are very good, which like most places in China are freshly made. However, if this is bought as a shared dish it is worth considering getting the sliced noodle variation over the pulled noodles. Both types are amazing, but as the length of the noodle is an omen for life span the pulled noodles can be somewhat of a challenge to serve with chopsticks.

The Yunnan restaurant serves dishes from the southern parts of China, and this is one of my preferred regions in the Chinese kitchen. Yunnan is a province neighbouring Burma and Laos, which seem to be a large influence on this region. Favouring ingredients like lime, mint, and chilies, the dishes have a lightness compared to many more northern specialties. Any order should include the chicken and lime dish as well as the Yunnan version of a hash browns, both of which are brilliant, and for the more adventurous it is also possible to order roasted bees and larvae. Finally, they also brew a nice lime and mint drink which is not only very good, but also works quite well to quell the heat if you get a bit too much chilli.


On the corner on the other side of Zhongguancun dong lu along the alley towards the Park Plaza hotel there is also a very nice chinese restaurant, that serve traditional dishes like the sweet and sour pork, fried beef and onions in an iron skillet (lower left picture), as well as the pork variation of the Peking Duck (also in the picture).

Harry’s New York Bar

I recently visited Paris to attend the annual conference in Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness to present some of our results where we show that consciousness and short-term memory can be empirically dissociated from each other. However, in the evening after the conference and various meetings, I visited a number of nice restaurants and cocktail bars.

Going to Paris I think one of the most iconic places to visit is Harry’s New York Bar located close to the Opera at 5 Rue Daunou, and also conveniently close to the RoissyBus stop near the Opera if you are traveling through the Charles de Gaulle airport – which makes it an ideal location to spend some time waiting for your departure time.

The atmosphere of the bar instantly sweeps you back in a time pocket isolated from the surrounding world since the beginning of Harry’s bar in 1911. Bartenders still wear the classy white uniform and the only hint that one has not journeyed back in time is from the different historical memorabilia decorating the old establishment. Additionally, a number of now classical coctails like the White Lady (1919), the Bloody Mary (1921), and the Side-Car (1922?) have emerged from the bar over the ages.

Whether, you are just arriving to Paris, or you are about to leave I think a visit to Harry’s bar is almost mandatory. Ordering a traditional daiquiri and a hotdog from the bar is bar non the best way to prepare for the flight out of Paris.

Notes from a foodie

In 2011 I visited Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra to participate in what turned out to be a very nice course on academic leadership and university governance. Here I meet some excellent people, loads of weird animals, and a very interesting food scene with east asien influence. Not many days after my arrival I encountered the term foodie for the first time – as I have keen a non-research related interest in good food and drinks. Since then I my travels takes me to a number of different places where I enjoy discovering different restaurants and cool places to hang out. So I am not a professional critique, but over the years I have grown confident that my recommendations are worthwhile, so perhaps you the reader, will enjoy some of my favourite places around the world as well. I plan to group the different posts with tags for the city and the type of foodie related experience for easy access.

I could also have started this journey in my home city of Copenhagen where I at some point was encouraged to research in the elusive qualia, but as my research have yet to move into this area Canberra will be my starting point, and the best lunch restaurant near campus has to be the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe, at 35 Childers Street. The place looks like any other Chinese restaurant, but it serves up great soup dumplings, and perhaps I am biased in the sense that I rarely find places that serve good dumplings in Europe where Chinese cuisine often is as far from home in distance as it is in content. However, the dumplings at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe actually takes me back to 2010 where I tasted some amazing soup dumplings in the old city of center of Shanghai. Often the steamed dumpling can have a slightly bland taste which is why I think many prefer the fried variations, but stock inside the dough before steaming is really a stroke of genius.

So if you are visiting ANU consider having lunch or dinner at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe.

Hearts & Minds

Thanks to everyone who attended my lecture on The Brain, Vision, and Synesthesia at the Hearts & Minds festival this friday at Aarhus University. It was great talking about the brain and some of our research on synesthesia to all of you and I hope you had a great evening at Folkeuinversitetet.

I mentioned some links to some of you, and thought I would post the links here for your convenience. The first is the link to one of my colleagues from Russia who is gathering data on the dress phenomenon. You can participate in his questionnaire here:

Secondly, you can find our synesthesia project on the following webpage: