Yunnan twist at top Beijing restaurant IF YOU GO
Made in China, one of Beijing’s most popular Chinese restaurants, is using the start of the chilly winter as a chance to offer something different from its regular repertoire of Yunnan cuisine.
Executive chef Jin Qiang has taken inspiration from his previous trips to the southwestern Chinese region and blended them with his own ideas.
The result of that combination fits the season perfectly — a warming, healthy and appetite-opening Yunnan menu full of sparks of creativity.
The dishes are full of Yunnan elements: a large array of fungus; herbs, such as mint; fruits, such as tamarillo; or the tree tomato. Many of the dishes are sour and spicy, typical of the region.
But Jin says the foods are not entirely Yunnan. He has taken the best of the Southwest China and applied them to what he is familiar with.
The chef has been training in Cantonese cuisine. But he is also adept in many schools of Chinese fare. Moreover, he is a Beijinger, and all these influences are evident in the menu.
Shandong cuisine’s braised beef appetizer is given a fresh flavor by adding fresh mint, a Yunnan specialty, and spicy Sichuan chili oil. Yunnan’s boletus mushroom is combined with Beijing’s preserved turnip pickles. The result is a refreshing sourness.
Yunnan’s popular fungus are everywhere on the menu: tree mushrooms with dried cuttlefish, beef slices fried with fresh Matsutake mushroom and morel boiled with old chicken soup.
A hot chicken soup with mushroom is believed to be a great energy booster in winter according to Chinese tradition. There are many more hot dishes on the special Yunnan menu.
Fresh scallops and abalone are braised along with green and red chilies in a hot stone pot. Seafood is believed to be slightly cold in nature. Braising balances that with a hot temperature, while giving it a lot of flavor.
Pork from “small ear” pigs, a Yunnan specialty, is braised with chestnuts and served hot in an clay pot. Deep-fried lotus root “boxes” with pork stuffing are present on sizzling hot iron plates. It is a traditional Chinese food, using two pieces of lotus root with pork stuffing in between, before deep-frying and stewing. In this case, only the sour and spicy taste is distinctively from Yunnan.
There is sour fish in soup and a small pot of rice noodles also in hot soup. Made in China 1/F Grand Hyatt Beijing, A1 East Chang’an Avenue, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6510-9608.
300 yuan ($49)
Morel with Old Chicken Soup, Braised Fresh Scallop and Abalone in Hot Stone Pot, Mandarin Fish in Sour Soup.
The sour fish soup uses fresh tomatoes and dried papayas to give the mandarin fish a soothing sourness. On the other hand, the sourness of the pot of rice noodles comes from preserved green chilies.
Compared to other Yunnan restaurants in town, Jin’s Yunnan foods are just as tasty but better presented. Made in China’s Peking roast duck is considered to rank the best in the city. But other dishes in the eatery have also maintained high levels of quality.
Jin has been introducing different food styles onto his menu, rotating each on a threemonth cycle. Although the chef is considered by gourmets in Beijing as a representative of northern China-style cuisine, he likes to showcase his ability to mix different styles — the result is mouthwatering.
The special Yunnan menu will be available at Made in China for three months from November.
Yunnan’s popular mushrooms dominate the menu.