Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bike Throughs and Dive Ins

As much as we thoroughly love going to fancy restaurants all dressed up and fabulous, there are so many good things to say about the simplest places and in some cases, real dives. The kind of places where you wouldn’t even consider peeking into the kitchen (or using the rest room for that matter) can, at times, serve the most glorious food!

One problem while living in a country where you cannot partake of all information due to the inability to READ is: 1. Learning about new places and 2. Reading the menu. We are forever grateful to our drivers, Mr. Jeff and Mr. Zhang, who patiently take us around the city when we are hungry for something new. Without worries about loosing face should we not like the place (like that would happen), they indulge us patiently in helping us discover hidden gems.

Many times we don’t have to travel far to find old and new favorites.  One restaurant we go back to over and over again is the, as we call it, “Hong Kong Noodle Place”.  For sure, it has a real name, we just haven’t figured it out yet and since we know the owner is from Hong Kong and they serve Hong Kong staples such as wonton and fish ball noodle soup, we will just continue with our name for it.

For those of us in the vast restaurant wasteland of Shunyi, the HKNP is conveniently located a short bicycle ride away near Pinnacle Plaza – close to Jenny Wang’s and next to Miso Japanese Restaurant (another STARA favorite).  Plan to arrive before noon so you won’t have to wait for a table.  The restaurant seats maybe 30 patrons with an open (relatively clean!) kitchen where you can see the magic happen. The menu is simple; noodles, rice dishes, vegetables and snacks – all very reasonably priced and delicious. There are specials advertised on the walls but sadly only in Chinese and, while the owner speaks perfect English, the serving staff doesn’t and we have yet to see it translated.

We usually go for our own personal favorites; prawn wonton noodle soup for Stacey and fish ball noodle soup for Sara, cucumbers with peanuts and garlic and bok choy with oyster sauce on the side.  The barbeque pork is also a must-try – not fatty or full of gristle, as is often the case – but with a lovely red sheen from all of the spices.  Steamy bowls of noodle soup arrive and with a generous scoop of the chili paste we are ready to slurp it all up.  

Yummy Fish Ball Soup

Simple, cheap and delicious!

Comfort food – China style.

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