Yun­nan twist at top Bei­jing restau­rant IF YOU GO

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By YE JUN yejun@chi­

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.

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