For a foodies like me and my wife, when we travel anywhere, we will always go and try the local dishes. As we have been to Beijing quite often, we are quite familiar with the Northern China dishes and we sometimes get cravings when we have been to Beijing for a while.
Located in Mosque street Chinatown, this restaurant has a simple decoration with a few square tables to sit up to 4 people and round tables that can seat 6 to 8 people. It seems more like air conditioned coffee shop than a restaurant. Service is very minimum, you just tick your order on the order sheet and pass it to the waiter when you're ready. Here is the catch, the order form is only in Chinese, but not to worry, for people who can't read Chinese like me, they have English translated menu just tick on the corresponding number. They also have some menu with pictures, but it does not cover their one hundred dishes.
To start we ordered Mung Bean Jelly with Ma La (numb spicy) sauce cold dish ($6) The sauce is called Ma La because it is made from Sichuan peppercorns which give a spicy numbing sensation. It is more peppery spicy then chilli spicy. The cold bean jelly noodle that looks like thick hor fun but with more springy texture of the goes well with the Ma La sauce is a good way to kick start your appetite. However, comparing to the standard in Beijing, this dish is very much pale in comparison.
Next come Tomato and Egg Soup ($5). This is a simple and refreshing soup dish. The sweet and sour of the tomato combine with the smoothness of the egg soup really warms up your tummy. Following the soup is Pickled cabbage with streaky pork stew ($12). It looks more like a clear thick soup instead of stew. The sourness of the pickled cabbage cuts through fatty pork belly and create an appetising dish. For those who don't like fatty things, you might want to avoid this.
For protein, we ordered Pork Ribs ($15) and Stir Fry Sliced Mutton in Cumin sauce ($14). Both this dish is actually quite similar in the marinating process. The both have a strong smell of cumin, which is also commonly use in the Chinese Kebab (satay). The sliced mutton is just a quick stir fry of mutton slices with onions. While the jumbo ribs is quickly deep fried and stew. Both meat are tender but heavy on seasoning and flavour.
|Stir Fry Sliced Mutton in Cumin Sauce|
Finally, the dish that we have craving for, dumpling (or jiǎozi). We ordered the traditional chinese cabbage with pork fillings ($6) and chives with egg ($8). A good jiǎozi skin must be al dente, springy and not easily break to protect the fillings inside. If the skins are good, you can put any fillings, it will just taste great. And the jiǎozi here does not disappoint, all the criteria above are met. If you never have jiǎozi before, start with the cabbage and pork fillings as the taste is more neutral, while the chives with egg has a stronger flavour. They have other fillings such as pickle cabbage with pork, prawn with pork, celery and pork and a few other choices.
Overall, if you are adventurous or have cravings for simple and no fuss Northern China (Dong Bei) food, come and give this place a try. Typical Northern dish is heavily seasoned with strong taste, so if you prefer Chinese food that is lighter in taste and flavour, this might not be the place for you. Cheers !!!
Food & Drink: 6.5/10
Dong Bei Cai Guan 东北菜馆
18 Mosque street
Ph: 6220 0987
Op Hours: Daily 10.30 – 22.30