Monday, March 31, 2008

BEIJING - Made in China

Having been to Beijing countless times from the late nineties, I have grown accustomed to and sometimes even miss the place if I have not visited in a while! However, the food has never been a favourite since the Chinese North is heavier in hand with its salt and oil – my grandma says these 2 are essential to keeping warm although I don’t see any less of them in the summer months.

Most if not all of my trips bring me back to my favourite Peking duck restaurant – Made in China at the Grand Hyatt. And this time, having tried the local latest DaDong (also well known for its duck) at Dong Sishi Tiao (东四十条桥西), I can put hand on heart and give the award to Made in China. While the duck at DaDong was very competently roasted and crisp, the gamey ducky taste did nothing for me. The mild seasoning at Made in China was contrastingly tasty and the duck had none of the taste of the wild. Also, the wraps at Made in China were far superior and soft, and our abilities to yank were not tested as they were in Dadong.

The 3 other dishes worthy of mention were the stir fried shredded potatoes and the ZhaJiang Mian (minced pork tossed with pulled noodles). The spuds were crunchy to the bite, just like eating vegetables, and made tastier by the addition of dried chillis. I recall reading somewhere that this was the only way to eat and treat the tuber like a vegetable. Cooked any other way, it is just pure carbs. Women who love their spuds should definitely try this – a guilt free ride to satisfaction!

The Duck Liver served in a sesame pocket and bean sauce is up there with any decent French restaurant – I was lucky to try it again after a long time since they are almost always sold out. I suppose there is only so much liver in a duck! The liver is generous in size and much of it sits outside the little fragrant pocket.

The Zha Jiang Mian was also good – al dente noodles tossed with minced pork and 100 (ok so I exaggerate) varieties of julienned vegetables and soy bean. I truly believe noodles were definitely invented in this country. And that’s why they feature aptly in Made in China.

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