The moment I stepped out into the bone-cold Beijing winter, taking a deep breath of the coal-fogged air, all the food memories flew back onto my palate- I am ready- eat and enjoy what may be my last time in this historical capital. Ready to either drool or be confused?
Jian Bing is the best breakfast invention ever. The first picture is the Shangdong (north of China) version, the batter made from cornmeal which has a crispy chewy texture; the second one is the Beijing version, the batters varies from mung bean to black rice, which gives a soft western-crepe-like texture. Whatever the versions, the layers starts with an egg or two, slather with some soy sauce, and chili sauce, some sesame seeds, cilantro and spring onion, topping it off with a sheet of crispy fried wanton skins, then it finishes up by folding it into an envelope for a layered delicious bites. All that complications for just 5 yuan (80 cents).
This place is the best dumplings place in the world. I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying this. Bao Yuan Jiaozi, also dubbed as one of the top 5 places to go in Beijing by Epicurious serves over 50 varieties of unthinkable scrumptious fillings that has the perfect ratio bite of skin to fillings. To balance out the overall heavy meal? Get their side dishes of delicious water-salted tofu and chinese salad with fermented bean dip. Mmm.
Yunnan cuisine is widely popular in Beijing, and Middle 8 Restaurant is one of the best places to go to in this city for an impressive meal, comfy ambiance, also a great people watching environment. Yunnan cuisine is very similar to its sister countries in Southeast Asia, the flavours of fresh chilies, lemongrass, wild herbs, and limes are a great relief from the oily and over saucing dishes one sometimes find in this city. My favorites are the dry-spiced mushrooms, all their green delicious wild veggies, and grilled lemongrass fish. Get lots of people together and order smartly (the menu is ridiculously extensive) to get the most out of this awesome experience.
Hungry for some dense, spicy, numbing, oily food? Homestyle Sichuan food is the best during the cold winter months. The always must-get are the gong pao chicken, dry-spicy long beans, and mung bean noodle salad- and Dong Po Mei Zhou restaurant is my go-to place for one of the top Sichuan restaurants in the city. This place is cheap, all dishes are delicious, and their interpretation of Sichuan cuisine is impeccable.
*If only I had a few more days to spare… I would of went back to my favorite usual spots: some old Beijing noodles at old local joints, roasted duck at Duck de Chine, brunch at Capital M overlooking the forbidden city, japanese set lunches at Hatsune, some home cooked thai dishes at Serve the People, and my other favorite Yunnan restaurant at Jia 21.