Ethnic Nationalities restaurant (unsure of name): "Loads of atmosphere" Beijing Restaurant Tip by Jez79
Beijing Restaurants: 709 reviews and 938 photos
We came across this restaurant while walking back to our hotel. Someone had pointed it out to us the previous day, saying it was a restaurant of the Chinese ethnic nationalities (as opposed to the hun racial group). I'm not sure of the name, as the signs were not in English, but it seemed to have a lot of groups, possibly tourists, though most of them appeared to be from asian countries. The restaurant is set out with bamboo panneling over the walls, and a cool ceiling design with lights coming through some greenery. It is decorated with artefacts of some of the chinese ethnic minorities, and has a really great atmosphere. The tables are mostly fitted with lazy susan's, as the best way to eat is to order a bunch of dishes and share them. When we sat down they then bought us menu's in english. Through sign language we began the process of trying to order without speaking the same language. There was much pointing, gesturing and laughing from both sides. Being vegetarian, I had some difficulty trying to order food without meat, so I pulled out a phrase book and pointed to the chinese character for "is there anyone here who speaks english?" This proved successful, and eventually a girl with passable english came out to help me find a suitable meal. While we were eating there was various performances by the various ethnic groups, which included dancing, singing and various instrumental pieces. At the end they got the audience to jion in the dancing, which was a lot of fun. It's times like that I really feel like a tourist though. And I realise just how little coordination I actually have.
Another interesting part of the evening was when a table near us ordered a meal iwth snake in it. They bought out the live snake, then cut it open and drained the blood right in front of them. Thankfully this was before I'd eated, or I think I would have reacted badly. It's moments like that when I'm glad I don't eat meat!
Favorite Dish: Jasmin tea: The best way I can describe the container he poured the tea from is to say it was like a small watering can with a huge spout (like 1 metre). He would stand right back, point the container at your cup and then tip it so the tea spouted out and into the cup. It was fascinating to watch and made the usual cup of jasmin tea much more entertaining. The cups themselves were full of leaves, and you had to hold the lid on while you dramk to stop yourself getting a mouthful of them.
The food itself was just awesome. We had bamboo rice (which turned out to be rice served out of a bamboo stick), a tofu dish (which was one of the nicest things I've ever had), a beef dish, some vegetables, and a chicken dish. It's hard to explain how they were cooked, but they were very tasty (at least the tofu and vegetables that I tried were, and my family reports the rest were pretty good too).
Address: Guang Hua Rd, Beijing, China
Price Comparison: about average
Directions: Down the road from the Kerry Centre Hotel, Beijing.
Price: less than US$10
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