Jia Chang Cai – Traditional Northern Chinese Dishes Restaurant
Location: Most local restaurants in Beijing (look for the 家常菜 in the name).
When we were out in Beijing last Jan we looked for traditional home style or family style restaurants ( Jia Chang Cai 家常菜 ). These restaurants offer all of the most traditional family style dishes that a typical Beijing family would eat. The dishes are a mix of spicy Si Chuan style (Szechan as they spell it in the USA) and heavier Shan Dong style. It’s a lot different than tradiitonal Cantonese Chinese food that you may be used to. The difference is that these dishes are more spicy, tend to me a little more oily, and use more regional vegetables. One of our favorites is Xue Li Hong – This is a pickled green vegetable that they stir fry with spicy peppers and pork. It is a little similar in concept to Suan Dou Jiao which wrote about awhile back when we visited a food court out in Flushing NY. I have yet to see Xue Li Hong served in a Si Chuan restaurant in the USA but if you know of one especially in New York please let me know. Next we tried a beautiful plate of mushrooms over Shang Hai Bok Choi This isn’t a Northern specific dish – in fact you’ll see this same dish in many Cantonese restaurants. It’s stir fried mushrooms served over a bed of Bok Choi in a garlic sauce. Last we had a very traditional dish Yue Xiang Rou Si or fish flavord sliced pork. It’s a traditional spicy dish that includes carrots, peppers, mushrooms, thinly sliced pieces of pork stir fried in a spicy garlic sauce. This you can find in many restaurants in the USA – there’s a restaurant in San Diego called Spicy City that makes a very nice plate of this. We had all of these plates and a large bowl of winter mellon soup for just 47 RMB ( ~$6 USD ).