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Congee (rice porridge) is one of the healthy Chinese dishes popular among Beijing locals, especially the old people and girls on a diet. Baizhouxiang is a chain restaurant which offers its patrons nearly 100 flavors of Chinese congee, from salty to sweet, accompanied with all kinds of meat or vegetables.
Exiting the subway at the Andingmen subway station one day, I stumbled upon a Baizhouxiang restaurant opened 24/7. It was a good opportunity to taste one of these 100 flavors. The entrance is decorated in a traditional Chinese style, with a few pictures of congee samples on the walls.
The main three tastes offered here are “special”, “salty”, and “sweet”. Prices for the “special” type—such as abalone congee--range from RMB 98 to RMB 128. In general, Chinese people coming from the Northern provinces prefer salty congees, while their Southern neighbors’ favorites are of the sweet type. The restaurant prepares two categories of salty congees: with and without meat.
The waiter recommended me a salty congee named Zhuangyuanjidi Congee after the name of a student who took the #1 spot in the imperial examination during the Ming or Qing Dynasty. For a meager RMB 12 my congee had pork liver, chitlins, and the spice caraway.
It is said in Chinese medicine that some sweet congees are healthy for lungs, stomach, and throat. Baizhouxiang prepares them for anywhere between RMB 6 and RMB 28 a bowl.
Beside congees, Baizhouxiang also offers delicious cool dishes and staple foods such as steamy pork dumplings (6 for RMB 8), Hutazi (糊塌子, RMB 4), and steamy shrimp Jiaozi (RMB 12). In general, a full meal fare will be about RMB 20 ~ 25.
Although the waiters and waitresses have a hard time speaking English, the menu is written in English which is convenient for English-speakers.
What I appreciated:
Congee, steamy pork dumplings
What customers appreciate:
Diversity of congee flavors, traditional Chinese taste
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