For some reason, a few weeks ago, I just started developing a craving for noodles, and not just any noodles… I wanted Shaanxi style Yangrou Paomou 羊肉泡沫 and I kept trying them in various establishments until i got tired of average quality and decided to head for the Shaanxi Provincial Restaurant in Beijing: 陕西省驻京办.
I gathered the usual suspects for a little Friday night extravaganza with a promise of noodles, roujiamou, roasted lamb and other delicacies then we proceeded to make a booking. It was a bit harder than expected as the staff refused to take 8:30 pm reservations at first. They mentioned that the kitchen closed at 9:00 and it was greatly inconvenient for them. After a bit of forcing, we did secure a table for 8:15. K-hua got there first and proceeded to order an array of traditional goodies before the kitchen closed so that we could start eating right away…. and it was a nice feast!
Now, we gotta separate Shanxi from Shaanxi as they’re not created equal. Shaanxi with 2 A is home to Xi’An and the terracota warriors. It’s also the recognized home of the yangrou paomou as well as the chinese burger known as roujiamo 肉夹馍. They have a bit of a Muslim tradition and do great noodles! Shanxi with 1 A is home of Taiyuan, one of the most polluted cities in China. A lot of their restaurants are also doing similar items but not as well IMHO.
We ordered a whole assortment of noodles, roujiamo, roasted ribs and other specialties as recommended by the staff. to be honest with you, I actually don’t remember what half of them were called as hunger took over and we just started swallowing whatever came out.
The ribs were heavenly.. not too dry, not undercooked with a perfect balance of spices.
The roujiamo was a little underwhelming i must say when compared to some of the others I’ve had around town. The bread was a bit dry but still retained some decent flavoring.
The yangrou paomo on the other hand was almost perfect. It was still a bit too thick for my standards as I would have like more broth/meat and less bread but the taste was exactly what I had been seeking for a while.
It was my first time meeting the You Po Mian油泼面 which i’ve had a few times since and they’re on the fast track to becoming one of my favorite type of noodles. Thick, with more flavor than the usual plain flour noodles and the sauce with sesame, ginger and others just plain rocked
A special mention to the local fermented beverage, Chou Jiu 稠酒, a Xi’An specialty made from rice and served warm. They only had it in 2 liter containers for about 80rmb but it was quite smooth and pleasant.
The place is a bit hidden in the panjianyuan area of town so it can be out of the way and hard to find. It was also empty with our table being the only one in the entire restaurant. I’m realizing that the unfriendliness I tend to see at these places is probably due to the fact that my group gets there late and the staff just wants to get the hell out. In this case, one waitress was pretty darn rude while the others were just friendly as could be.
This might not make it into my regular rotation of restaurants but I’ll definitely keep the address handy for when I want a gooooooood quiet treat with assorted noodles and what now. Eileen Wen-Mooney recommended this as one of the better provincial restaurants in Beijing and I haven’t seen anything to make me think otherwise. I’ll definitely give them another shot at an earlier time slot.
Shaanxi Provincial Restaurant 陕西驻京办餐厅
27 Huaweili, Chang An Grand Hotel Floor 2 (at the back of the hotel) 朝阳区华威里左安东路陕西大厦
Panjiayuan (Inner SE 3rd Ring Rd)
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