At Made in China, the hearty stewed Northeastern beast gets placated with a self-consciously designed dark wood and steel eatery; floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with erguotou spirits and a stylishly exposed kitchen behind glass. But don’t be fooled by the hotel location.
“Made in China” has been serving one of the best Peking duck in Beijing since I don’t know when, when it first opened 20 years ago? Back then, it held the top spots with Da Dong 大董 and Duck King 鸭王. Of course, some of them have been dethroned over the years, and with recent crackdown on corruption, many of these opulent versions have lost favour with the masses. But at MIC, Peking Duck is still their force de resistance, and require advance reservation. And sorry, there’s no half duck, so we couldn’t order this for lunch.
1/ 富贵鸡 Beggar’s Chicken
Fortunately, their second best seller was available a la carte. Beggar’s Chicken is a classic Chinese dish of chicken that is stuffed, wrapped in clay, and slowly baked at low heat. It can take six hours to prepare a single serving. While many versions exist across China, many would agree that the origin was from Hangzhou, and my favourite version from 西湖楼外楼. MIC’s 富贵鸡 Beggar’s Chicken was flavourful, but a tad too dry for my liking.
2/ 藏红花栗子白菜 Saffron Chestnut Peking Cabbage
Peking Cabbage 京白 was so called because they were specially farmed to be presented to the emperor in old times. 藏红花栗子白菜 Saffron Chestnut Peking Cabbage gave this classic dish a new twist with the introduction of the umami from Tibetan saffron and succulent Tianjin chestnuts. Very yummy, would need a bowl of rice to whop up the sauce.
3/ 臭鳜鱼 Stinky Mandarin Fish
Mandarin fish 桂鱼、鳜鱼 were sought after for their succulent flesh and clean taste. And during springtime peach blossoms, they fed on petals dropped from the trees lined along the river. Gourmands then believed that gave them the “peach blossom” taste, talking about organic food, they even wrote poems about it.
About 200 years ago, before modern refrigerated trucks and highways, fish was transported usually in a marinated state. Stinky Mandarin Fish 臭鳜鱼 was result on this transportation. No, the fish has not turned foul. Salt was liberally rubbed on these fish and during the transportation, developed a naturally smell that would be usually described as smelly. However the salted fish remained tender and “fresh”, and after descaling, tasted really good.
These days, the fish are farmed, and there’s no need to salt the fish for transportation. However, the marination process gave the usually bland fish a new lease of life. The flesh firmed up due as the salt extracted the moisture. It also gave it a really nice, salted taste. That’s why 臭鳜鱼 Stinky (Marinated) Mandarin Fish has been so sought after, even though it has a lot of bones and really has not taste on its own.
4/ 黑山猪肉炒香干 Kurobuta Pork with Wood Fungus and Dried Tofu
You would expect the peasant dish of 回锅肉 stir-fried pork belly to be given a lux treatment here in Grand Hyatt. MIC pimped the everyday dish with Kurobuta pork – yes, imported top-grade, oats-fed black-haired swines from Japan. Conventional farm-raised pigs tend to lack the incredibly tasty fat that heritage breeds have maintained, and which keeps their meat juicy, tender and, yes, expensive. But if you’re a true fan of pork, heritage is worth every succulent bite.
Heritage breeds are specially raised and heralded for their intensely flavorful meat and fat. In the realm of haute Japanese proteins (all apologies to tofu), wagyu beef, jidori chickens and kurobuta pork reign supreme. But you don’t have to travel to the Far East to experience some of the best pork on menus today. Kurobuta or “black hog” pork comes from the famed Berkshire pig.
黑山猪肉炒香干 Kurobuta Pork with Wood Fungus and Dried Tofu was well executed, but the inspiration of the dish, where leftovers were tossed together with a vinegar-soy sauce, and the simplicity of the taste of home was lost in this deluxe version.
5/ 地道炸酱面 Peking Zhajiang Noodles
Who can come to Beijing and not try the 地道炸酱面 Peking Zhajiang Noodles? there’s no one best, but everyone has a secret recipe, just like Spaghetti Meat Ball, “my mother’s better than yours” discussion will arise. This is pasta tossed in fermented soy bean sauce with simple condiments like radish, cucumber, edamame, soy beans, celery, parsley, etc – no meat. Some will tossed a meat-based soy sauce, but here they served the vegan version.
I find the lack of pork lard disturbing, but modern healthy conscious consumerism has pretty much wiped that version out of restaurants. Damn, there was GF version too!
6/ 锅贴 Pot Sticklers
This ritzy establishment also serves delicious pork and leek dumplings. You can order either the usual boiled ones or 锅贴 Pot Sticklers. As the name suggested, one side of the dumplings were crisped to golden brown that they “sticked to the pot”.
I loved the way it was crispy on one side and still soft and moist on the other side. Each one packed a lot of flavour and watch out for the steaming hot meat juice that popped out as you bite into one.
Very popular, lunch, dinner, all the time. Reservations are recommended. Book the Peking duck too.
Made In China 长安壹号
1/F, Grand Hyatt Hotel,
1 East Chang An Avenue, Beijing, China, 100738
Tel: +86 10 8518 1234
Date Visited : Mar 2018
Michelin Beijing 2020 Plates