Rabbit God 兔爷 @ Beijing

It is a strange name for a restaurant but nothing was more appropriate for a Beijing restaurant that focused on traditional Peking food.

What is Rabbit God 兔爷?

In the Chinese folklore, there used to be a beautiful fairy named Chang E. Her husband Hou Yi shot down 10 suns from the sky and made earth liveable by mankind. He was granted Elixir Pills from the Heavenly Goddess, but Chang E stole and ate them. As a result, she floated to the moon and lived there every since.

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Rabbit God 兔爷

The Rabbit God was her companion on the moon. Beijing mothers would give a Rabbit God (either in the image of a boy or girl) to their children as a toy, just like Teddy Bear.

People would look up to the moon and see an image of a rabbit pounding on a mortar – this was where the folklore of the Rabbit God started. Not only Chinese, but Korean, Japanese and Aztec all believed in a rabbit on the moon. The image of a rabbit on the moon was actually an image of craters and mountains on the moon surface that through imagination looked like a rabbit, just like constellations.

Of course, when Armstrong landed on the moon, a billion Chinese were disappointed that Chang E and Rabbit God were not there. But now, China has a Chang E Project – the Chinese version of manned mission to the moon. But I digressed.

The Food

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乾隆白菜

乾隆白菜 Emperor Qianlong Tianjin Cabbage – This dish has a kind of “Caesar Salad” story. One day, Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) went out of the palace incognito. It was Chinese New Year Eve, and most shops were preparing to close. He was hungry and walked into a restaurant opened by Wang Rui Fu. As nothing was available, he was offered this starter dish which is a salad made from Tianjin Cabbage tossed in sesame sauce, vinegar, honey, sugar and salt. Very simple but he loved it. The next day,  he asked the palace to give the owner a special signboard called “都一处” which means “One Place in the Capital” and could also mean “Unique”. That restaurant is still opened today.

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素春卷

素春卷 Vegetarian Spring Roll – unlike the usual spring roll in flour skin, this used a beancurd skin that was tasty and crispy at the same time. Liberal amount of julienned tubers were wrapped and then fried on oil.

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捞汁小肚

捞汁小肚 Spicy Tossed Tripes – One of the cow’s stomach, this was tossed in a spicy Szechuan peppercorn sauce. Very common starter these days.

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糖醋排骨

糖醋排骨 Sweet and Sour Pork Rib – Very different rendition of the familiar sweet and sour pork. This is the proper Peking version. The pork rib was pan-fried and then cooked in a sweet caramel and very sour vinegar. The tartness overpowered the sweetness.

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桃花虾

桃花虾 Vermicelli Wrapped Prawn – this is a modern dish. Sea prawn wrapped in vermicelli and then deep fried like tempura. To be eaten with a blueberry mayo.

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椒麻姜豆拌螺片

椒麻姜豆拌螺片 Peppercorn Black Bean Whelk and Leeks – Another home cooked type dish given a Szechuan twist.

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老北京香酥鸭

老北京香酥鸭 Crispy Duck – unlike all other Peking restaurant, this one did not serve the usual Peking duck. They believed that Peking duck is not representative of Beijing. Instead they have this crispy duck. Duck breast wrapped in taro and fried, eaten with the pepper-salt.

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老北京糊饼

老北京糊饼 Peking Pizza – Like a pizza but with topping of chives, scrambled eggs and dried shrimps.

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三鲜煎饺

三鲜煎饺 Pot-sticklers – what can i say.

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糖葫芦

糖葫芦 Candied Fruits – another Peking childhood memories. Different types of fruits coated with a layer of sugar crust.

The price was reasonable, around RMB 80 pax. Good food, reasonable price in the heart of Beijing. And a Rabbit God to bring home if you have been a good boy.

兔爷(燕莎金街店)
地址: 王府井大街301号新燕莎金街购物广场7层MF705-706
电话: 010-65262629 13911669560

Date Visited : Apr 2018

Another visit in Feb 2017

 

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