If you wonder what old Beijingers used to eat in the past, go to Yi Wan Ju at Fangzhuang, Feng Tai District. There you will enjoy a unique dining experience, with traditional Beijing characteristics.
Outside of Yi Wan Ju, there is a large signboard with three big horizontal Chinese characters Yi Wan Ju (Yi Wan means ¡®one bowl¡¯) and six vertical Chinese characters meaning old Beijing noodles with fried bean sauce.
But the most attractive and impressive feature though is the four old rickshaws lining up before the facade of the restaurant. It feels like being in an old movie. And this is only a start.
The restaurant is on the basement floor. Going downstairs, you will see brief introductions to Yi Wan Ju¡¯s prize foods rated by the China Hospitality Association: Ma Doufu (Spicy Bean Curd), Soya-bean Milk and Deep-fried Crisp Rings, ¡®Yi Wan Ju Jie Mo Dun¡¯ (Mustard Mound), Tendon Bone and Meat in Old Soup, and ¡®Yi Wan Ju Zha Jiang Mian¡¯.
¡®Zha Jiang Mian¡¯ means noodles served with fried bean sauce. Old Beijingers used to have one or two bowls of Zha Jiang Mian with vinegar, garlic and cucumber. This meal is tasty, convenient, and inexpensive.
In the restaurant
The restaurant is rather noisy. A waiter greeted me at once in a loud voice. No wonder, the house is packed at noon. Everyone has to raise his voice to be heard. I waited a minute to be seated.
There is a small pond on the right side of the entrance door, and beautiful carps swim in it.
All the mahogany tables are laid out neatly in lines. Red Chinese lanterns are hanging from the ceiling. The decoration, the tableware and the atmosphere have a strong traditional note.
Waiters dressed in traditional Chinese clothes act quickly.
Food and prices
One bowl of noodles with fried bean sauce costs RMB 8. Other dishes are inexpensive as well.
If you order the noodles, the waiter will ask whether you¡¯d like hot or cold one. I ordered one cold noodles with fried bean sauce & diced pork due to the hot weather outside, and one share of spring rolls that costs RMB 6.
Before long, the noodles in a big bowl came out first with one small bowl of fried bean sauce and six small saucers in which there are shredded turnip, bean sprouts, garlic leaves, minced celery, peas and shredded cucumber. The waiter put all the things into the big bowl for me. I added some vinegar as well, and mixed them up. It tastes a bit salty and pretty tasty.
Later on, the fried spring rolls were also sent out. It tastes crispy and yummy.
Getting out of the restaurant, I felt like I was stepping forward into the modern world again.
If you would like to have a taste of old Beijing food, especially noodles with fried bean sauce, then come to Yi Wan Ju. An elegant environment, quick service, and tasty food in traditional Beijing style make a charming dining experience. And prices are very reasonable.
A cool breeze -- hand painted fans relax your soul!
Huo Shu Tang: a snapshot of China's finest handicrafts
Fujian Tea pioneer on Beijing's famous tea street
Muji, a way of life