Flavour is family affair
央视国际 2004年01月02日 17:34
By Ba Shu
A huge chunk of Chinese culture is devoted to food and drink. There are hundreds of different dishes, and each region has its own distinctive flavours.
Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant features what is known as si jia cai or jia chang cai (family-style dishes).
Among hundreds of dishes offered here, many are basically the most common types of food that any self-respecting Chinese can make at home.
These dishes are usually a combination of the spicy Sichuan style (chuan cai) and the more hearty Shandong style (lu cai).
The Sichuan style of cooking in Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant, however, is a little different from others. The chef makes an attempt to ensure both the appearance and taste of each dish makes an impression on diners.
It offers a wide variety of dishes and is especially known for its spicy flavours.
Dishes offered in the restaurant vary in taste with more than 200 options of dishes, including seasonal delicacies, ordinary fare, snacks and refreshments.
Though most of dishes are based on the Sichuan style, some Beijing dishes can also be found here. Among them, the most popular is roast duck.
The duck is made of a special variety of duck fattened by forced feeding in the suburbs of Beijing. After the duck is drawn and cleaned, air is pumped under the skin to separate it more or less from the flesh. And a mixture of oil, sauce and molasses is coated all over it. When dried and roasted, the duck will look brilliantly red as if painted.
According to staff of Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant, apricot or jujube tree from the shady side of a mountain are used to fuel the fire and give the duck its trademark flavour. In the oven, each duck takes about 40 minutes to cook, and the skin becomes crisp while the meat is tender.
In the restaurant, the roast duck, after being shown whole to the customers, is served in slices, which are eaten rolled in thin pancakes with a dish of tianmianjiang (a sweet sauce made of fermented flour) and scallion (or cucumber) cut in thin slices. Few people can resist the temptation of the crisp and delicious taste of the roast duck.
Fried pork chop, stir-fried kidneys, mapo doufu and mashed pig skin dressed in sauce are among the specialities here.
Apart from these favoured family-style dishes, Xiao Wang's Home Restaurant in Sanlitun also offers a charming dining environment for customers.
One part of the restaurant is like a stage. Tables are placed on the stage and traditional Chinese red lanterns offer an elegant ambience while the soft music plays.
The most eye-catching part of the restaurant is a huge box like a railway coach. It gives diners the feeling of undergoing a trip.
Price : from 50 yuan (US$6) to 200 yuan (US$24) per person.
Place: About 30 metres east of the City Hotel in Sanlitun Street.
Tel : 6592-5555 6592-8777