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Today I went to Xidan for shopping. By the time I arrived, I was really hungry. I was looking for something cheap and quick. I remembered I¡¯d been to a restaurant with a Scottish friend. We both like the food there. The food they serve is not only cheap and quick, but also abundant and tasty.
The Place and the Process
The restaurant is decorated in the Chinese style with traditional lanterns. The tables and chairs are laid out in the middle of the restaurant. The chefs, the cooked dishes, and the uncooked food form a circle around the tables and chairs.
Service is reduced to a minimum, which helps keep prices low. You can¡¯t just sit by the table and wait for the waitress or waiter: nobody will give you a menu.
You order your food from chefs. Most of the chefs cook in front of the customers. So you can watch them while they are cooking, they can¡¯t fool you by putting bad food into your dish.
An Affordable Meal
There are price marks in front of every dish. After checking the prices and making your selection, go to the counter near the entrance door, and buy the food ticket.
If you want to order a portion of spicy noodles (RMB 8) and a pork pie (RMB 2), your food ticket will total RMB 10, no tax added.
After buying the ticket, go see the chef, and tell him which dish you would like to buy. If the fare you ordered needs to be cooked, you can have a seat nearby. The chef will give you a shout when the dish is ready. It normally takes no more than 5 minutes.
Tofu and Tohua
You may not have heard of ¡®tohua¡¯ yet, but you probably have heard of ¡®tofu¡¯. The texture of tohua is softer, and smoother than tofu.
As the restaurant¡¯s name features the word ¡®tohua¡¯, they certainly should serve some. There are more than 5 different flavors of tohua, priced RMB 5 per bowl. A small bowl of tohua is not enough to fill an empty stomach. You could try it as a starter.
Some of you won¡¯t like it. My Scottish friend said he didn¡¯t like it: not enough flavor for him. Being Chinese, tohua is my favorite food, and I recommend you give it a try.
There are also lots of other choices besides tohua. A small plate of beef, fish, duck or chicken will cost you RMB 5-6. A small plate of vegetables costs RMB 3. You can have any of these small plates as a starter, or as a side order.
The restaurant also offers different kinds of dumplings, priced at RMB 3 for 100 grams. The chef who prepared my food told me the dumplings were bigger than normal size. According to him, 5 dumplings weigh 100 grams.
Noodles are RMB 8-10 per serving. The dishes are all accompanied with rice. The fare is priced RMB 12-15. KongPao Chicken costs RMB 13. So do eggs with fried meat. Dishes cooked with lotus leaves are mostly RMB 15.
There is a lot of this kind of restaurants in big shopping areas in Beijing. Shoppers appreciate them as they offer quick service, cheap food, and a convenient way to fill an empty stomach.
These restaurants are a good choice for a quick lunch. I won¡¯t recommend any of them however when you are looking for a nice and romantic dinner.
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