………………… an Indian Foodie’s experience of eating Chinese food in China (including vegetarian dishes)
YUMMRAJ was in Beijing last week. Here’s a peek into what transpired on the plate. Njoy the super YUMM pics & read the small description.
In most of the descriptions, everything in the menu card was written in Chinese & hence I left the ordering to my able friends. Hence I will not b able to give the exact names but will try my best to describe those well.
Evening 1: Taiwanese Restaurant
We tried Sauteed Zucchini & Bell pepper – The veggies were Crunchy to the core, yet not raw. Sesame gave a good dimension to the veggies. A very light sauce added taste to the veggies while not overpowering the senses. This is something that most ‘Chinese’ restaurants in India fail – They overdo.
Braised Baked Bran with Peanut & Fungus in sweet & salty sauce. This soya product was not like tofu. Its texture was porous & resembled an idly slit up from the middle. The sauce was intense & strong to taste. So as I wud bite into it, the juices wud fill up the mouth. Peanuts & mushrooms added a twist to this dish. I quite liked it & wud order this if I find this at a Restaurant in Delhi.
I have seen loads of beer bottles so far in different countries but this was new to me. So sharing the pics. Tsintao is a famous Chinese beer that is quite smooth & light.
Black Pepper Beef – Sauteed beef cubes with onions & greens. Though this was a sautéed dish, there was a bit of gravy at the bottom which was essentially a mixture of the sauces & the juices from cooking the meat. The meat was soft & chewy & the gravy was thin & just too good. I was the last guy in the group to finish this gravy up to the last drop. If I were to eat this in India I wud rate it 4.75/5.
Fried Cabbage with Ham. This was very unique – Cabbage as good as Iceberg Lettuce cooked with bacon ham & jumbo chunks of Garlic in Chinese sauces. Notable in this dish was that inspite of the cabbage being cooked, it remained a bit crunchy. My guess is that the ingredients were sautéed together, sauces added to them & a little bit of broth added, mixed & served piping hot.
Full fish with garlic chunks, chillies & onion plant. This dish looked the best but excited me the least in terms of taste. It was deep fried full fish put on a gravy base & bathed with more gravy. That made the outer layer of fish remain crispy inspite of it being a gravy dish. On the taste front, this taste is something that I have had in several Chinese Restaurants in India.
Evening 2 : Chinese Restaurant
Dragon Bean salad – Stir fried Dragon Bean (pepper) with tomatoes & onions. The pepper referred to here is not flat to taste like capsicum that we get here in India. It has a bit of tanginess but is not as hot as chillies. These pepper also had a good fresh flavor.
Poached tomatoes with orange, lotus fruit & apple slices. This was a very shockingly good looking & attractive dish.
I liked the taste as well – not sure how many of u wud like it though. Lotus fruit is the fruit before the lotus flower blooms. It did not have a particularly distinct taste.
Mixed veggie salad with chunks of pseudo crab meat, shredded bacon & mayo sauce. Shredded bacon & pseudo crab made the taste different than the leafy salads we r used to here in India.
Super soft melt in the mouth juicy prawns – I wonder how these guys manage the texture so well.
A large piece of marbled intense taste salami topped with something like a soy sauce & assorted chilly – that’s it. Rating – 4.5/5!!!!!!
Post this we had Sauteed mushrooms with chopped chillies & spring onion. Juicy as u bite in inspite of the crumbled ‘sookha’ look from outside.
& then came Peking Duck. I was excited at the thought of having Peking Duck in Peking (Beijing). The full duck came in a trolley & a guy started to cut off slices fom the duck.
He was placing the slices with skin in one plate & slices without skin in the other. The duck was soon served with a range of condiments.For the uninitiated, Peking duck is a full marinated duck roast with skin. The skin becomes crispy & the meat inside becomes soft & juicy. The meat is usually un-salted / somewhat salted.
Slices of the duck & the condiments (veggies cut into thin long pieces) are placed in the middle of a hot & soft pancake (almost like thin maida roti). A dark brown salt n sweet sauce is added on the top & the pancake is rolled in.
The experience here was exactly the same – super soft, juicy meat inside & a crispy skin outside. The sauce was pretty thick – almost like jam. It tasted awesome. I also realized that the sauce served here was thicker & less sweeter than the version I have had in Delhi – At Royal China & China Garden, Hyatt.
My conclusion – Hyatt Delhi Peking duck is almost as good as the Peking Duck I had in Peking!!!!!
Post Peking Duck came something that looked somewhat like Ghewar from the top. It was called ‘Fried Dumpling’.
Of course it was something totally different. It was fried dimsums!!!! The base of the dimsums was common – else they were independent dimsums. Tasted like dimsums but texture was very different & nice.
Post this came something that was again described to me as a veggie dimsum called ‘Chives Pie’.
It turned out to be something like filling inside a parantha/ samosa in a different shape without being deep fried.
Last item before desserts was a soup!!!! It was a soup made from the remaining parts of Peking duck – the bones, meat etc. Tasted very good but we were too full by that time to fully enjoy this.
It was quite fun to be in Beijing & taste the real stuff. My only regret is that after finishing one of the meals I noticed an item in the menu that I cud have ordered – Braised Bull frog. Was already full, so cud not order. Leaving that dish for the next time.
Evening 3 – A Bikanervala type restaurant at Beijing Domestic airport
Only if some investor had the thought of doing this in India – It wud have worked magic both for that guy & for us food lovers. If Bikanervala model works so well for vegetarian, why shud it not work for non vegetarian food?