City Weekend - - Eat & Drink -  Bidisha Mul­lick

The her­itage of Xi’an cui­sine is as old and var­ied as its ter­ra­cotta army. The city, which has wit­nessed trades and reigns of dif­fer­ent times, now serves as a melt­ing pot of dif­fer­ent cul­ture and cui­sine. A visit to Xi’an’s Mus­lim street is a whirl­wind of fla­vor, tex­ture, and spices. In Beijing, Country Kitchen has brought the an­cient cap­i­tal’s kitchen alive with the help of their Chef de Cui­sine Leo Chai and their lim­ited time only Xi’an menu (un­til Novem­ber 30).

Country Kitchen has a charm­ing rus­tic am­biance with its open grilling sta­tion, brick walls, and wooden fur­ni­ture.

Af­ter a glass of cu­cum­ber soda (¥45), which re­freshed our minds and palate, we dug into a braised air­dried beef with spicy sauce (¥68). It wasn’t as spicy as it looked but com­ple­mented the meat in ev­ery way. Next up was beef jelly (¥68) with a hint of spici­ness and an in­cred­i­ble tex­ture. Then, it was our turn to taste Chef Leo’s yi pin broth (¥1,680). The del­i­cately fla­vored broth is made from fish lips, deer ten­don, tur­tle skirt, scal­lops, abalone, sea cu­cum­ber, quail eggs, var­i­ous mush­rooms, and herbs. It was a cu­ri­ous mix­ture and no doubt an ad­ven­tur­ous one , but we can vouch for its rich fla­vor, tex­ture, and ap­pear­ance.

The Xi’an menu at Country Kitchen of­fers 30 unique dishes. The lamb leg roasted in the tra­di­tional method (¥680) was suc­cu­lent and tasted bet­ter with the as­sort­ment of pick­led gar­lic and roasted cumin pow­der. We could not leave the place with­out tast­ing tra­di­tional Xi’an food like rou­ji­amo (¥50 for two), and dou­ble-boiled Xi’an mut­ton glass noo­dle (¥120), which trans­ported us to Mus­lim Street.

The other tra­di­tional dish that re­minded us of grandma’s cook­ing is their Changan four trea­sure (¥280), which fea­tures four recipes served to­gether: steamed chicken, steamed beef, and steamed pork balls. The last del­i­cacy was the mildly sweet gluti­nous rice with dry fruit in ev­ery bite (¥120).

Sim­ply put, Country Kitchen is a mustvisit beau­ti­ful culi­nary jour­ney.

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