Cheese is a popular food in France, Italy, and Wisconsin. But did you know there was such a thing as Chinese cheese? And Chinese cheese which was only served to the imperial family during the Qing Dynasty to boot?
Yes, it¡¯s true. There is a tiny eatery which offers this very special cheese snack near the Back Lake area in Beijing.
This eatery is located on Nanluogu Lane (ÄÏÂà¹ÄÏï). The nameplate says: Wenyu Nailao Dian (ÎÄÓîÄÌÀÒµê). It is carved in green traditional Chinese calligraphy. As a bit of a gourmet myself, I could not help but visit it immediately.
Very tiny, this cheese eatery only offers four tables to its patrons. A hospitable waiter greeted me and asked me what I wanted to taste. He showed me a few items, patiently explaining what they were and their prices.
Their selection is chiefly comprised of traditional cheeses, double-layer cheese (Ë«Æ¤ÄÌÀÒ), Jiangzhuangnai (½ª×²ÄÌ), red-bean cheese (ºì¶¹ÄÌ), and a few others. Near the price list displayed on the back wall, I could read a short introduction to the history of the imperial family¡¯s cheese in red Chinese characters.
While I was pondering which kind of cheese snack to taste first, numerous clients came in to make their shopping. According to the person who served me, affluent young people make up the main of the shop customer base. I finally decided on purchasing some Jiangzhuangnai, but alas, the choice wasn¡¯t available at this time. The waiter recommended me to try their traditional cheese.
I had a spoon of it at once. Oh, sweet and cool! Compared with the other kinds of cheese, the traditional product is whiter and sweeter. A bowl of it costs RMB 6. Other cheeses range from RMB 6 to RMB 15 a bowl.
Apparently, take-away orders are a frequent occurrence here, especially in summer. The man¡¯s English was rather limited, but you can see each snack clearly on the glass shelves under the counter.
What I appreciated:
Traditional Imperial Cheese
What customers appreciate:
Good taste, reasonable prices
An artist's shop featuring sculptures, paintings and calligraphy
Hand-made bronze and copper ware
Original designs on match boxes
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