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Best Szechuan restaurant in Beijing?

By Guest
Posts: 1

Posted on: August 25, 2009 at 7:59PM

When I lived in wonderful Beijing, from 2003 to 2006, Szechuan food was becoming more and more popular, and lots of great places sprang up, many of them really good. My favourite, though, was a modest chain restaurant (in Beijing/China, "chain restaurants" are actually considered rather upscale) called Mei Zhou Dong Po. The branch I frequented was the one on Chunxiu Lu, linking Dongzhimenwai Dajie to Gongti Beilu. It had a wide-ranging menu, from the ubiquitous kung pao chicken (albeit cooked amazingly well) to a really wonderful tomato soup/broth with meatballs. One of the highlights was this great Mandarin fish, boiled and then fried, with a sweet and sour sauce that had just the right balance of flavours. The vegetables there were superb too -- from simple watercress with fresh garlic bits on top to wild mushrooms lightly braised. I loved the service too. At the time, it was still somewhat rare for foreigners to patronize local eateries. Most of my UN ex-pat colleagues went to non-Chinese restaurants in the embassy districts of Dongzhimen and Ritan Park. So the wait staff were more than a bit tickled to see a group of guailo (literally "ghosts" -- "white skins") customers coming there night after night and ordering from a menu that initially was only in Chinese but that, over the space of 3 years, morphed into a bilingual incarnation. One of my colleagues in particular, a wild and adventurous Italian, took delight in ordering new dishes all the time, the rest of us leaving it up to him to help conjure up a different culinary combination every time we went there. I left Beijing in 2006, but still visit at least once a year, and always make it a point to return to that branch of Mei Zhou Dong Po. From a purely social point of view, it's been great to see junior wait staff elevated to positions of "management." The cheeky waiter who spoke some English and loved practicing it on us is now in charge of the little restaurant -- and quite loving his role as boss. The best restaurants are ones where the food and service and atmosphere go hand in hand. This place is certainly a winner. Honest, but not too humble; fun, but not too boisterous. Great food and great folks -- heartily recommended. report a problem

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