So here I am in Beijing. Even just after 3 weeks, it’s been one helluva ride. This city is a whirlwind of excitement and activity and I’m lured in by everything I can see. And of course, eat.
I always knew that mainland Chinese food would blow me away, though of course I was never to know the extent. Being Malaysian Chinese, I think of Chinese food staples as rice and noodles. Here in North China, they are very much a noodle and bread bunch. In literally all shapes and sizes.
Shaanxi province, west of Beijing is China’s noodle specialist. Cast away any preconceptions that noodles are long, thin strips – in Shaanxi they can be wide, flat and short, rough blobs that look like play dough or tiny cubes. And made from all types of wheat/flour/bean/legume!
I was all over this carb-fest. A must-have at Qin Tang Fu are the roujiamo or meat sandwiches. Lean pork (as opposed to fatty pork, which will have to be done on the next visit) in stringy yumminess came encased in a flaky, pillowy muffin. I’d have happily gobbled down three of them without anything else. But then there were the buckwheat noodles with mustard sauce and chilli oil. Served cold, the clean appearance this soba look-a-like completely belied its smouldering tingle. Creeping up my nasal passage like a nimble thief, I’m certain these noodles could be used as a form of torture. However, still strangely moreish.
I fell head-over-heels with the nourishing soup of our lamb noodles, which bathed a mixture of little cube noodles and transparent vermicelli. The broth was rich with garlic, coriander, spices and a deep velvety lambness. What a way to lose my heart.
The Chinese love their rice wines, and the jiu to have from Shaanxi is milky white and only very slightly alcoholic. It reminded me of Capilco, a Japanese soya bean beverage, with a sake-esque aftertaste.
Thank you CH for introducing me to my new food mission: conquering the Shaanxi list of noodles! I was unexpectedly treated to what I’m sure will be one of many Beijing foodscapades. So at a guess, the bill was circa RMB70 including 3 dishes, 4 rice wines. I have arrived in the Jing!
Qin Tang Fu
69 Chaoyangmen Nan Xiaojie Chaoyangmen,
Tel: +86 6559 8135