Haw Berries & Kumquats

Posts under ‘Beijing’

Beijing Favorites: Dining at the Salt Merchants 锦府盐帮


Most foreigners in Beijing might think of another salt-themed restaurant, but the Salt Merchants restaurant, by the Purple Bamboo Park, is the only one for me. I could happily go to Jinfu Yanbang (锦府盐帮) anytime for its unique and utterly delicious Zigong cuisine, which you might think of as a regional variation within the varied [...]

The Nicest Ice: Beijing’s Best Baobing


There’s little else I’d rather eat on a hot summer’s day than a mountain of shaved ice (刨冰 baobing) – sometimes in lieu of the meal itself. What better way to cool down during a blisteringly hot day in Beijing – or after a spicy chili-laden meal – than a mountain of snowy ice, heaped with all [...]

Eating Weeds – and the flower of the underworld


It’s a rare chance that we get to appreciate the weird and wondrous ways of nature in the midst of Beijing, but our weekly vegetable deliveries from Therese’s organic farm usually do the trick. Though Therese’s vegetables are usually quite conventional, every spring she offers ‘wild vegetables’ (野菜 yecai) from her farm, God’s Grace Garden. Last [...]

South Asia by way of Sanyuan Qiao: Tamarind

From 12 o'clock clockwise: dal makhani, whole wheat roti, subz handi, kade masale gosht (spicy lamb), butter chicken, rajma masala, murgh malai

What happens when we watch nothing but Bollywood movies week after week? Strong intermittent cravings for all things India, including, of course, Indian food. That’s when a trip to Tamarind is called for (it’s a little more convenient than Delhi). Tamarind is a bit unusual for me – it’s located in the Beijing Marriott Northeast [...]

Snack Snapshot: Sunflower Seed Cakes

sunflower seed cakes

These are one of my favorite snacks when wandering around the hutongs of Beijing. They are almost granola bar-like, and seem to contain nothing more than what you can see and taste: sunflower seeds, honey and a dash of salt. It’s crunchy and nutty, not too sweet, rather perfect for both you and your pet [...]

The Berries Best

Chicken with peppers and konjac root jelly

This year, as last year, I was invited to be an expert on theBeijinger’s 2011 Restaurant Awards. Though sometimes the winners are rather consistent from year to year, the award ceremony is always fun to attend, and it’s interesting to see which new restaurant has managed to win the most hearts. But alas, most of [...]

Taiwan Food Street, and the best Grass Jelly ever

Grass jelly with tapioca red bean balls 综合仙草粉心圆

Though the new Qianmen pedestrian street may be a travesty of historical preservation, the “Taiwan in Style” area on Dajiang Hutong has a surprisingly good food court, making simple renditions of Taiwan favorites. There’s plenty of rice noodles and oyster omelets, but the red bean cakes and grass jelly are particularly worth coming back for.

My favorite hot pot

bronze hot pots

Forget Ding Ding Xiang. Forget Donglaishun. When real Beijingers want a good mutton hot pot in the middle of winter, they head to Jubaoyuan, in Niu Jie. Why Jubaoyuan? The mutton and beef are fresh and delicious, the prices are reasonable, the traditional bronze hot pots are steaming and atmospheric, and the shaobing are the [...]

It’s yuanxiao season!

Black sesame yuanxiao from Huguosi Xiaochidian

Happy year of the rabbit, everyone! (In Vietnam, it’s the year of the cat, incidentally.) If you’re looking for special Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) treats, you can’t really do better than the niangao (年糕) from Mr Bai of Bai Ji Niangao. His glutinous rice cakes are perfectly textured, generously layered with red bean paste, [...]

Introducing the Guide to Bread Baking in China

Five-grain multigrain sourdough from Hamelman

I have been baking sourdough bread for more than a year now, and it occurs to me that I’ve learned an awful lot in that time. Not only how to knead dough by hand, or how to shape a loaf using minimal counter space, or how to take care of a starter – but also [...]

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