Beijing Food Highlights

We’ve just returned from being on the road over six weeks, with two days back in Nanning in between each two-week jaunt.  I am tired, but grateful for all of our experiences and travels.  The plan now is to be in Nanning for a week and a half before we head out to Hong Kong for some library research for me.  Evan will leave from Hong Kong to travel to Yunnan with Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship for a few weeks, and then we’ll meet back up in Nanning.

Our recent experience of playing hosts to Evan’s parents or my in-laws in China proved interesting, hectic, and tasty.  That’s why I’ve decided to blog two food highlights of our trip, both in Beijing, yet only one being of the Beijing genre (this type of info should be on my husband’s food blog, but since he’s abandoned it, I’ll have to take it from here!).

The first is actually Sichuanese cuisine, known for it’s spice. I found this restaurant on the Frommer’s Beijing Restaurant guide, and it was not only tasty, but dishes were relatively inexpensive (avg 30-60 yuan). Chuan Jing Ban Canting is nothing to look at from the outside, and it’s actually owned by the Sichuanese government. However, the ingredients are reportedly flown in from Sichuan weekly, and each dish we ordered, from the cold tofu skin and loofa (yes, loofa), to the mains and veggies were flavorful and fresh. This place is not for the weak of stomach, it’s spicy Sichuan cuisine at its best, for a great price. (We did have to wait thirty minutes, but we arrived early, around 6 on a Friday night, and the line moved quickly.)

The second place came recommended from virtually every website I searched and featured Beijing’s speciality: roast duck. According to food critics around the world, there’s no better place to eat Beijing roast duck than Beijing Da Dong Kaoya Dian, and I have to agree. It’s not only the duck and the way the fat melts in your mouth, as well as the spread of condiments provided that makes this place special, but it’s the whimsical quality of every dish that elevated Chinese cuisine to a level we didn’t know was possible.

We ordered avocado and salmon rolls that were smoked inside a glass as they were served on the table, that were to die for, as well as a classic Chinese dessert, golden silk fried apples, which were wonderfully sugary and sweet. But Da Dong’s makes each meal, no matter what or how much you order (they have a unique menu, which while pricey, allows you to order a half portion of duck for around 98 yuan, and order dishes in single portion, small, medium, or large, so you can sample), a several course affair by throwing in soup, chilled lychees and melon, and green bean ice cream (while a first for all of us, and they do get creativity points there, still a bit gritty and bland). It was an elegant last meal that is worth shelling out for if you get the chance (and make sure you make a reservation)!

Some of the offerings at Da Dong Kaoya (courtesy of meatlovessalt.com).
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