Monday, April 27, 2009

If It's Good Enough for Yao Ming...

We finally made it the much discussed on Chowhound, Beijing Kitchen, on an odd looking corner in Exelesior/Glen Park. The walls were filled with photos of Yao Ming, who apparently comes here to dine every time he's in the Bay Area. We got down to business and ordered some of their specialty items. The shredded potato salad with chili oil was one of the hits of the meal. Crunchy and without that weird taste that raw or undercooked potatoes have.

Tomato and egg soup - delicate taste and perfect egg flower.
Lamb dumplings - this was delicious. The lamb intense lamb flavour without overbearing gamey-ness. The skins were on the thinner side but had a lot of bite. The amount of juice in these dumplings far surpasses what most Bay Area XLBs have.
3 Flavoured Stir Fried Flour Ball - I loved the subtle flavouring of this dish. I've always had flour balls shaped bigger and in soup. These were more like tiny cubes. The size made this dish hard to eat. The texture of the very firm dough cubes, corn, veggies, shrimp, chicken, and fish made it a very unusual combination. A nearby table of Spanish speakers pointed at our table with this dish to copy in ordering. Glad we were able to provide cross-cultural food experimentation.
Jiao Liu Pork Meat Balls - This dish was the hit of the meal. Crunchy on the outside, soft and almost mousse-like on the inside. Topped with a very subtle, savoury sheer sauce. It reminded me of recipes of Beijing/Northern meatball that were a mix of pork and soft tofu then fried which is what I think how the texture is achieve here as well.
The carnage - Once again, way too much food for two people. Lot's of leftovers.
I particularly enjoyed the meal because it combined textures in each dish in surprising ways. I also loved the flavours... not the "hit you over the head" variety, but the kind that builds as you have successive bites. I also appreciated the light hand at saucing. The food may not be every one's cup of tea... especially for those who prefer ma la or associates Chinese food with strong spicing.

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