7.145 Some Kind of Baby Zucchinis


29 (Sun) May 2016

Some Kind of Baby Zucchinis


at Dali Courtyard

-Dongcheng, Beijing-

with staff and temporary advisors

Mission to China, Day 1.

In Beijing.  Arrived this morning.  Here to attend a tobacco meeting, tomorrow.  Flying back to Manila, Tuesday.

Upon arrival, going directly from the airport to the venue (Beijing Middle School #8), where we supported a youth-oriented event to celebrate World No Tobacco Day (May 31), I got there a bit early and had a quick lunch at a restaurant (Golden Lake) across the street.

Day 1 / Beer 1 : Tsingtao Draft (province Shandong) (2.0) : lacking the Old World hoppiness that the original Tsingtao used to have; light in texture, flat in flavor.
Hargao [right] (2.5) : fortunately, the menu had photos, so ordering wasn’t a problem (see for example 2.330 Har Gao).
Scrambled Egg & Leek with Black Sauce (2.5) : first time that I’ve ever encountered garlic chives (see for example 7.143 Buchu Kimchi) at a restaurant outside of Korea.

For dinner, the Country Office hosted an informal gathering for the speakers of tomorrow’s event.

The venue was Dali Courtyard.

Dali Courtyard is a Chinese restaurant, specializing in Yunnanese cuisine — seems like an optical illusion that this tiny, humble entrance…
…leads to this expansive, opulent establishment; packed — which is always a good sign — though mostly with expats — which usually isn’t.

The cuisine from the southern province of Yunnan is one of China’s most eclectic, with culinary influences from bordering countries/cultures, including Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam [as an international civil servant, I find it difficult to write “Burma, Laos, and Vietnam”].  In essence, loosely described as an “anything goes”/”whatever works”/”it’s all good” philosophy.

Day 1 / Beer 2 : Dali (2.25) : again, light in texture, flat in flavor.
Some kind of ham and veg with chili sauce (3.0).
Some kind of minced chicken with chilies (3.25).
Some kind of pork spring rolls (3.0).
Some kind of mixed mushrooms in banana leaves (3.5).
Some kind of minced pork with steamed buns (3.0).
Some kind of greens with chilies and garlic (3.5).
Some kind of deep-fried fish with vinegar sauce (3.5).

The food was excellent.  No menu, every day something different.  Prix fixe, just 100 CNY (about $15) per pax.  In addition to the quality of the dishes themselves, impeccably prepared and presented, far removed from traditional/typical Mandarin cuisine, the surprise with each course was a treat — like visiting America and going out for exotic Cajun.

Located next door to the hotel.
Day 1 / Beer 3 : Nanjing Fresh Beer (1.5) : as suggested by the color, light in texture, flat in flavor.

With trepidation, I return to China — first visit in over 2.5 years (see most recently 4.294 Yabozi), second visit to Beijing (2008, before GMTD) — where I’ve had my share of communication problems, particularly in restaurants (see generally 4.291 A Palatial Feast…).   So far so good this trip : the venues for lunch and midnight snack both offering menus with photos, and the dinner venue needing no menu at all.

Mushu Pork (2.5) + Vegetable Fried Rice (2.0)

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