SECRET RECIPE PORK KNUCKLES AT HAOJI
When you think of local Beijing food, what comes to mind? Probably Peking duck. It’s by far the most wellknown local dish, made famous by restaurants like Da Dong and Duck de Chine. Though delicious, Peking duck isn’t the only thing that real locals crave for when they’re looking to get a taste of those nostalgic olden days.
Nestled on Tianshuiyuan Lu is a little old Beijing restaurant that isn’t very eye catching (heck, we walked past it for six months before deciding to give it a try). There’s no neon sign or flashing lights. Just an old plaque that says they make old Beijing food.
Don’t expect anything fancy when you go. It’s a small family-owned restaurant with wooden benches, no music, and a couple of flies buzzing around.
Why are we recommending it then? Well, while this little family-owned restaurant cooks up an array of local dishes, they specialize in one thing; pancakes stuffed with pork knuckles (¥12). Their freshly baked shaobings (pancakes) are stuffed with three thick slices of homemade pork knuckles that have been marinating in their secret recipe for hours.
Here, it’s all about family. From the chefs in the kitchen to the waitress taking your order, everybody’s somehow an extended family member of Mr. Hao. The first time we visited was on a random afternoon when the staff was having their meal. Upon seeing our curious faces eyeing their giant scallion shaobing, the chef brought a slice over to us to try, free of charge, eagerly telling us that he’s been perfecting his skills and asking for feedback. His smiling eyes after seeing us eat his food says enough about what this restaurateur family truly values.