Photo by age fotostock
For those who like it hot, this humble Sichuan eatery delivers. There is no ambiance or décor of which to speak—Zhang Mama is like a tidy school canteen—but the fiery food more than makes up for the bland setting. Look around and you’ll see Beijingers and a few tables of red-faced expats eating skewered grilled chicken, fresh, crunchy lotus root, squares of tofu, and mutton. They’re tucking into bowls of searing dan dan noodles, plucking up chili-oil doused zhong shuijiao (minced-pork dumplings), and ladling mapo doufu (cubes of tofu in chili oil) into bowls of white rice. The rice is crucial for cutting some of the heat and you’ll want to order a bowl per person.
By Sophie Friedman, AFAR Local Expert