Again it was a extravagantly decorated restaurant. With cool air-conditioners. Phew. Tables near, seatings were tight. No wonder the waiting staff (men) were all of a certain standard size - petite.
First up, these were served. Sesame paste in a bowl, chilli oil in a small pouring can, minced garlic and fresh spring onions in a sauce plate.
Mix everything up and it's ready for dipping or dunking (immersed the food wholly into it) as most locals do. While waiting for the pot of soup to boil, we each had a Stick of Spicy Barbequed Lamb. DO NOT MISS ORDERING this wherever it's available in China. We did it by the roadside, in shop in restaurant and all had been delicious in their own way.No fishballs, no porkballs, no seafood, oh no!
Instead we had:-
Some kind of Noodles similar to our Laksa Noodles in Malaysia,Some type of Compressed Beancurd,Some type of Elongated Beancurd (this we liked a lot!)Some Cabbage and Local Greens which had a distinctive raw green taste (if that means anything to you)Thinly sliced Marbled Beef. Woohoo jackpot! Especially when 1 of us does not take moo-moo,and finally something I can properly name, Golden Needle Mushrooms.The spread may not be varied but we were full especially when everything went with the fragrant but very filling (kinda like 'jelak' or 'chai') sesame sauce.
All went very well with the hot soup, infused with Chinese Herbs boiling away in an interesting copper pot.Looking at the herbs left in it, think it can be easily replicated at home... if one can recognise them.And yet again, friend of a friend in the 17 million Beijing population settled the bill and refused to let us share. Such friend of friend is such a keeper. =P
Note: Chinese do not steamboat like Malaysians. The ingredients go in and out one by one, not everything goes in at one go and taken out together - rojak style - as we do over here.
I may not have the address on hand but once you are on that street, its elaborate doorway and bright lights will practically jump at you.By the time we left the restaurant, it was already nightfall and the huge crowds were drawn to a night market nearby. We shoved out way there too and that's a post for another day.