Good Eats

JingDe Restaurant 晋德小馆 @ Beijing

In the popular 亮马河 complex is an underrated Shanxi restaurant that I have been going to for years. JingDe Restaurant 晋德小馆 serves really good Shanxi noodles as well as Shanxi cuisine.

Shanxi Cuisine

Shanxi cuisine, or Shan cuisine, is derived from the native cooking styles of Shanxi Province in China. It is famous for noodles, fried flatbread (da bing) and sour tastes. The cuisine is also famed for using its locally produced vinegar, just like in Huaiyang cuisine, but the flavour is totally different.

一品宫廷鹅肉锅 royal goose casserole

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一品宫廷鹅肉锅 royal goose casserole

The goose casserole was full of flavour from the rice wine that was used to cook the bird. The alcohol content has evaporated from the long period of stewing the goose leaving behind a really rich and grainy flavour that can only come from distilled grain alcohol. Great to warm oneself during a cold winter night.

上党手撕包菜 stir-fry spicy cabbage with pork belly

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上党手撕包菜 stir-fry spicy cabbage with pork belly

Hand-torn cabbage stir fried with salted pork belly, it is usually this kind of simple dish that would be the most difficult to make. The cabbage has to remain crunchy and not lose too much moisture, but still softened enough to absorb the saltiness and flavours from the other ingredients.

干锅肥肠 pig intestine casserole

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干锅肥肠 pig intestine casserole

It is again easy to ruin this dish but turning the pig intestine into rubber by overcooking or chewy if undercooked. It can only be perfect if the timing is just right.

平遥京葱炖驴肉 donkey meat with leek

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平遥京葱炖驴肉 donkey meat with leek

The perfect meat according to the Chinese, donkey has been eaten over the centuries and stewing it in a rich sauce is a common way to cook it.

五台山苔蘑炖土鸡 double boiled mushroom and chicken soup

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五台山苔蘑炖土鸡 double boiled mushroom and chicken soup

Chanterelles are among the most popular species of wild mushrooms. They are orange, yellow or white, meaty and trumpet-shaped. Because they’re difficult to cultivate, chanterelles are usually foraged in the wild. And Shanxi’s Wutai Mountain 五台山 is famous for producing this type of mushroom. The woody, earthy fragrance is perfect to be stewed with chicken.

刀削面 knife shaven noodles

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刀削面 knife shaven noodles

Originated from north China’s Shanxi Province, knife shaven noodles 刀削面 is one of the five signature noodle dishes in China, others being “Huimian” 烩面 from Henan Province, “Hot-and-dry” 干辣面 from Hubei Province, “Dandan” 担担面 from Sichuan Province, and the sweet bean paste noodle 炸酱面 from Beijing.  Here, the knife shaven noodles was served with two different dressing called 打卤 – 白菜卤 Beijing cabbage sauce and 炸酱卤 “zhajiang” sauce.

The story behind this dish dates back to China’s Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), when the power that occupied the now Shanxi Province region confiscated all personal metal wares, including knives for cooking. Ten households were allowed to share one knife.

A woman asked her husband to borrow the knife from their neighbor before preparing dinner, but it was unavailable at the moment. The man stumbled across a thin piece of iron on his way home and brought it back. He suggested that they try slicing the noodles instead of cutting with a knife, as the dough was hard. The sliced noodles were thick at the center but soft on the edges. The tradition of making Daoxiao noodles has been popular since then.

油泼面 oil spill noodles

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油泼面 spicy noodles

油泼面 spicy noodles is not a specialty of Shanxi, but Shaanxi  陕西. For the uninitiated, one can get really confused between the two provinces. Due to its geographical location between the provinces of Shanxi and Sichuan, the flavours of Shaanxi cuisine include both the sour and spicy of Sichuan, and the salty flavours of Shanxi.

Shaanxi cuisine makes elaborate use of ordinary materials, and is best known for its noodles and lamb/mutton dishes. It makes heavy use of strong and complex flavours. There is an emphasis on savoury flavours such as salt, garlic, onion and vinegar; sugar is seldom used. The main cooking methods are steaming, frying and stir-frying.

To make oil spill noodles, the noodles are cooked, drenched and then placed in a bowl. Condiments like scallions, fried garlic mince, chilli flakes and other aromatics are placed on top of the noodles. The final step is to pour hot chilli oil and vinegar.

The restaurant service is normal, but it was the food that got me back one more time. The place can get really crowded during lunch time due to the offices around it, but it is easy to get a table usually in the evening.

JingDe Restaurant 晋德小馆
东三环北路8号亮马河大厦会议中心一层
Tel : 010-65906658

Date Visited : Dec 2019

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