a love affair with hunan food (another beijing post)

In places on December 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

one restaurant along the hutong street where we lived specializes in hunan and szechuan cuisine. this type of cooking is actually quite popular in beijing. we think it’s because mao was from hunan. but that’s a good thing, because this sort of food is really quite delicious. we tried that nearby restaurant as soon as we could (and went there again). the first time around we had hunan-stye diced chicken (22 RMB, P145)

this was the first tantalizing taste of hunan cuisine and we found it bold. moderation is not a key word here. the food was salty, oily, spicy, robust, and we couldn’t get enough. and so we kept coming back and tried green beans with ground pork (12RMB, P80)

and hot pot duck (25RMB, P175)

the hot pot is quite popular (literally a little wok on top of a burner to keep food hot, especially during fall and winter) and made for quite an enjoyable dining experience. and the warmth from the burner really helped us survive the cold.

one other restaurant in the area, called friends cafe, also serves hunan food and from there we tried something called mao’s favorite pork dish (30RMB, P210)

this is basically braised pork with vegetables. nothing spectacular, but it was worth trying just to get an idea of what family food was like. we preferred the other dish we had which was stir fried cabbage served on a hot pot

this had the fiery, salty, greasy quality we’ve come to love.

among the main ingredients, we noticed, were dried sili and pink peppercorn. happily, these are easy to find locally and so we’ve begun attempts to replicate at least the vegetable dishes. we’ve had some success. all we need now is the hot pot.


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