Monday, December 12, 2011

Food in Beijing

So I'm not a foodie. I eat to live. And I'm very easy to feed. Except for the fact that I don't eat meat and raw things, I'm fine with just a plate of fried vegetables or tofu. No need for fancy dishes..

But of course, occassionally, I do enjoy good food. Yes, I know what is good food as opposed to utter rubbish. So when I travel for work, I try as much as possible to visit nice, recommended restaurants. Yes, dishes ordered are limited by my taste bud and food restrictions but still, some of them are good

Thanks to 大众点评, we went in search of those 很好吃,很难找(very good food, but hard to find) places.

1st stop - 大里四合院(Dali Courtyard), at No.67小经厂胡同, near鼓楼东大街. Walk into the hutong, and you'll see the red lantern on your left. That's the restaurant. It is set in a courtyard environment. On the outside, it looked deserted, but once you step in, it's crowded!!

That's the entrance. Very dark but step in and wow!

You pay nett RMB128 per pax for dinner. No menu, cos you eat whatever is being served that day by the chef! Every table gets the same kinda food, but the number of dishes depends on the number of diners.

That day, the 2 of us got 7 dishes. 2 appetisers of salad (this is really good, tangy, sweet, and crisp freshness) and dried beancurd skin salad (also very good). Stir fried mushroom (no complains here, I love mushrooms!), chicken dish (more for my colleague), deep fried prawns with curry leaves (you can eat the shell together and this is nicely done, not too oily), stir fried vegetables, and the main star the BBQ fish! With spices rubbed on it while BBQing. Hopefully they have that fish every night, if not, sorry but you'll have to go another day!

For dessert, we were each given sugared Hawthorn

Next up, WISH (梧桐). Another not too easy to find place. It is fusion restaurant with pianist and jazz singer.

Cold dish - Walnuts+apple+celery with mayo. This is refreshing quite nice but I'm not a fan of soggy walnuts.

We ordered the pumpkin soup. This is amazing! I love pumpkin and this is not too sweet, and the pumpkin was roasted to perfection1 Very soft and silky. You can easily scoop the flesh with the soup. Yummy! A meal by itself! By the time i finished this, I was full! And it was only the 2nd dish.

Wasabi prawns. Not so great. Wasabi flavour was not enough and the prawns were too small. Paradis Inn has better wasabi prawns.

Cod fish spiced with sichuan pepper. It looks harmless but once you take a bite, the spiciness hits your taste bud as an after taste! It is really good! The amount of pepper is just right and doesnt overpower the taste bud. Highly recomended.

Colleague ordered this. I'm not a dessert person, especially not tiramisu.. But she said it was not bad.

Of course, the trip is not complete without a trip to Peking Duck restaurant. It was a choice between Da Dong and QuanJuDe. We chose DaDong (大董)at东四十条.

And I thought it was a local restaurant!! It was totally revamped and looked very fusion! All dishes were artistically plated..Very modern.

Cold dish - 2 yams (purple yam + chinese yam) This is refreshing! A slight tanginess to accompany the sweetness of the yam.

I ordered cold pea soup, it was a ery small portion (in a saucer plate). But it was creamy silky and thick! Nice and refreshing. Pea flavour is prominent but not too peay (vege taste is not appealing to most people but this is ok)

Another cold dish - shredded pumpkin with wasabi! I recommend ordering this dish. Sweetness of pumpkin with the tartness of wasabi. Super combi!

And the duck! RMB198 for half portion. My colleague says it's much better than QuanJuDe, very crispy, not too overly oily or fat. You get a bowl of duck soup to go with it. Condiments are RMB8 per pax.

We then went to a Singaporean restaurant - My Humble House. Fusion food.

Cold dish of eggplant salad. Sweetness with a tinge of tart. Nice

Deep fried soft shell crab with salted egg coating. The salted egg coating is not too thick to cover the crab taste. Nice choice!

Fish 2 ways - Stir fry and braised. I prefer the stir fry. The braised was not to my taste bud.

We went in search of another courtyard restaurant and I remembered my friend's recommendation!! So we went to 花家怡园along簋街. Remember to go to the main outlet near 北新桥station. That's the only one with courtyard setting. There are 2 outlets along the street, but just go to the one nearer to the station.

We called ahead to make reservation and got ourselves a private room!!!

We ordered this fish dish and I must say this has to make it to the must order dish list! It is fish, butterflied with scales, and deep fried to perfection. Spicy black bean sauce poured over it. Crispy and spicy! Nice!

Another house specialty - braised cabbage. This is braised with vinegar. Very soft, which is good for cabbages. Notice the red tag? It tells you which chef prepared this dish!!

We ordered vegetable rolls (so-so) and claypot tofu (good but I find it a tad too glooey). To round up the meal, we had BBQ sweet potato!! I love BBQ sweet potato!! This one here was good, but not fantastic. Abit too dry (probably it's due to the type of sweet potato used. They used yellow sweet potato. Red ones are nicer), but still I miss the flavour.

Do give these restaurants a try! Will try some other new restaurants and revisit some of those above next trip!

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