BLCU Muslim Restaurant

22 Oct

We touched down in Beijing on a grey, cold Saturday morning. Jetlagged and possibly wide-eyed with anticipation, we were told to meet in our hotel lobby for lunch. After a few hours sleep and a hot shower, we made our way to the Muslim restaurant at Beijing Language and Culture University in Haidian – a favourite of many  students. For some in our group, it was their first meal in China. The barbecue out the front was a warm sign of what we were in for with this Xinjiang-style restaurant. Juicy and big mutton kebabs (definitely larger and meatier than the regular street-side chuan stalls), spicy chicken filled with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and delicious vegetable dishes piled up the table in front of us. The nan bread dipped into the chicken sauce was a favourite of mine, and the sweet potato toffee chips enchanted the table. It was a challenge to extract some of the chips from the sticky toffee – which hardened with every turn of the lazy susan – and then dip them into the bowl of hot water. The result was a beautifully sweet flavour, which we thought may have been dessert…until we had a surprising delivery of more vegetable dishes brought to the table. The meal was a welcome start to our Beijing life, a quick run-through of some banquet etiquette and a reminder of the diversity of Chinese cuisine – definitely not all beef in black bean sauce or lemon chicken.

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