Chinese Comfort Restaurants


Where do you go when all you want is some simple, comfortable, reasonably priced, predictable food that you can do twice a month forever? Oh, and you are in Beijing.

王府井(WangFuJing) has this 狗不理 (GouBuLi, Dogs Don’t Pay Attention to) 包子 (BaoZi, steamed buns with filling). We ordered a pork plate and a vegetable one. There were 9包子 in each plate. The grain and bean broth (小米綠豆粥) is all you can eat. We also ordered 2 appetizers (very spicy pickled veggie). For adult men, the 包子 is bite-size. They are fast, satisfying, and well-flavored. Maybe a bit on the greasy side.

東來順 (DongLaiShun) uses traditional coal-burning hot pots. In no time, the water started boiling and you are in business. Thinly sliced meats take a quick bath, dive into the famous sesame-peanut thick sauce, and disappear into the mouth. Beers get consumed in large quantity and moods get magically lifted. The sweetly pickled garlic should be specially mentioned. You pop one into the mouth, peel the it in your mouth, and bite into the garlic. The strong, but not biting, clover cleanses your palates and refreshes your spirit. It is another magical food item.

In the old 前門 (QianMen, the front gate) 都一處 (DuYiChu, the only place in this capital) has been selling 燒賣 (ShaoMai) for over 250 years. This is not your typical DimSum variety. They are bigger and obviously more substantial. An order gives you 10 in whatever combination of beef, port, lamb, 3-combo (pork, shrimp, and mushroom), or veggie. One plate satisfies a hungry young man. No matter, they expect you to take them home and reheat for the next meal.

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