Living in Asia sure has its benefits when it comes to well, Asian food. One of our favorite lunch spots (and we have many!) is a Korean restaurant in, surprise, Wangjing. Located next to KFC on the fifth floor lies Zixiamen- a huge place with many rooms, excellent service and an extensive menu.
Quite recently on a day of hectic shopping we went back, once again, for a quick fix of kimchi, Korean bbq and whatever goodies they would serve that day. After many visits we have finally learned to not over order because there is no need – they bring you food for free!!
We have tried many items on the menu; bulgogi, prawns, noodles and even grilled squid but we always go back to the barbecued steak on the bone, niu wang pai gu. The meat comes with leaves of salad and cabbage, vegetable sticks, miso paste, raw garlic slices and a clear sauce that we have yet to figure out what it is. You can grill it yourself at the table but we prefer to have them do it for us, away from the table, to avoid the smoke and the extensive heat. Once the meat arrives perfectly cooked and cut into perfectly sized cubes, the best way to enjoy is to douse it in miso paste, roll in a leaf and eat with your hands – simply delish.
Before the meat arrives though, plate after plate appears with kimchi, an assortment of appetizers of the day and a salad to die for. The salad is simple in itself; basically just green leaves, but the dressing is what make it special. Spicy yet slightly sweet and very addictive and best of it all – they keep bringing more!
One of our favorite people, and one of our most loyal students - Sunny, invited us to Korea town one day to visit a Korean market and to have lunch. Obviously we had to do this – what an opportunity!
|One of our most favorite students - |
and our Wangjing tour guide!
The market was a usual supermarket except everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, was in Korean. Sure there were some known brands and products but still – all Korean.
Sunny was swift in cruising down the isles, throwing thing after thing in the basket; snacks, cookies, condiments, rice wine, meat – you name it. While Sunny was busy exploring the meat section we went on a walkabout in the beauty isles and learned some new facts about how Korean women keep that luminous, clear skin. Little did we know that snail mucous does the trick! Exactly what the placenta revival face mask consists of was unclear though…
With shopping done we moved on to lunch, the most important item on our agenda! Sunny took us to one of her favorite spots in Wangjing – Ai Jiang Shan, another beautiful room with an open space as well as separate rooms and a small moat creating a peaceful atmosphere. Again, the service was impeccable (the Koreans really seem to be on to something!). Immediately we were served tea and hot towels and handed the extensive menu. We passed it over to Sunny who proceeded to order a collection of dishes including kimchi pancake, bulgogi served in a hot stone bowl and sweet potato noodles with meaty mushrooms. And once again lots of small bowls filled with delightful little bites arrived while we waited for our main meal: yummy little sausages, spicy bean sprouts, crunchy kimchi, eggy tofu and so much more! This is so very wonderful but also dangerous; it is easy to fill yourself up before the “real” food even arrives. But then it did and again we topped our stomachs up to the brim, leaving sated and happy after having spent a lovely day with a lovely lady eating lovely Korean delicacies.
|A peaceful mid-day break at Ai Jiang Shan|