Chinese-American chef Martin Yan, the host of the culinary TV show, Yan Can Cook, is an expert when it comes to the food of China. He spends a lot of time in Beijing. This fall, he’ll open a restaurant in San Francisco. Here, chef Yan shares his Beijing blackbook.
“In China, presentation is really important. Food must look just as good as it tastes. Both the food and the décor here is beautiful. Chinese cuisine is unique in each of the different regions and this restaurant features regional dishes like Beggar’s Chicken and Peking Duck. It’s a great introduction to Chinese cuisine because it offers a variety of tastes.” 2 Jianguomenwai St., Chaoyang District, 86/10-8518-1234, beijing.park.hyatt.com
“In Chinese there are over 144 different ways to write the word noodle. Noodles are based on thousands of years of tradition. Hand-pulled noodles, longevity noodles, dough-slice noodles—they are all different. The open kitchen here allows customers to watch a variety of age-old Chinese noodle-making traditions and engage face-to-face with the chefs. It is amazing to watch the skilled noodle chefs perform. They can turn a five-pound ball of dough into thousands of thin strands of noodles. One ball of dough becomes 4,096 strands of noodles in minutes with twelve twists of the hands.” 20 Xi Dawang Lu, CBD, Chaoyang District, 86/10-8472-4700
“Chef Dong Zhenxiang is a pioneer in creativity, transforming traditional Chinese cuisine into the 21st century. The dishes are well executed, and each dish is a work of art, a masterpiece. Of course there is the roast duck, but he also does brilliant dishes like squid roe soup with black pepper and sautéed crab roe with egg custard.” 1-2 Nanxincang International Building, A22 Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng District, 86/10-5169-0329
“Walking through this exotic market at night is culinary theater at its best. From the ordinary to the extraordinary, all of your senses will be stimulated. The sights and smells are incredible. One can find a wide variety of tantalizing treats, from pot stickers to crispy scorpions. I love the skewers of fruit dipped in sugar, the sugar hardens into a caramel that coats the fruit so that each pieces looks like glittering individual jewels.” South entrance at Oriental Plaza, Donghcheng District
“Beijing’s antiques-market street is incredible. You never know what you will find. Old-fashioned, hand-painted glass snuff boxes, old bells that used to reside in a monastery or a temple, bronze figures, Buddha images, fine china.” Liulichang St., Xuanwu District
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