This was one of the first “provincial” restaurants I wanted to try in Beijing, especially after i read about their yurts and the famed lamb that fell right off the bone. Alas, all my attempts to find the original location, as outlined in the insider guide to Beijing, fell by the wayside… until now.
A few weeks ago, on my regular dianping sweep, I saw pictures of this place that had yurts in the yard and i jumped in excitement. To make things even better, just a few days later, the restaurant showed up in CNNGO’s list of most bizarre restaurants in Beijing.
Ruxiang Piao Piao 乳香飘飘 (Ordos Hotel Restaurant 鄂尔多斯宾馆内):
The place is apparently managed by the Ordos Representative office and would be more genuine that the official Inner Mongolia rep office restaurant. I had to gather the troops and go…
The restaurant is located inside a hotel. The hotel itself is in an obscure alleyway. The alleyway is hidden at the back of a hidden street… Let me tell you folks, finding the place ain’t easy the first time around…. heck, it’s almost faster/easier to head over to inner mongolia for a meal! Good luck! Patience little ones, for it shall be rewarded!
I was a bit disappointed that we couldn’t get to sit in a yurt but that’s what you get for trying to organize a dinner party for 14 people last minute. The staff was nice enough to set us up with a table in the main dining hall and hindsight 20/20, that just made the experience more memorable: We were a table mostly made up of foreigners sitting next to a table made up of of mostly Chinese, some of which were from Inner Mongolia… this would shape the evening!
We couldn’t get the yurts for the meal but we did get to see them and even sit in them long enough to get a taste of what we were missing. Next time, for there will be one, I’ll make sure to plan ahead of time (as if i was capable of such a thing) and book one early. It was overall chilled with the staff relaxed enough to run around, sit with customers, drink along and what not. For a while there, I felt like i was back in the back waters of Hebei province having a Chinese weekend.
Extremely friendly and helpful but their putonghua might be worse than yours. It’s a necessity to speak slowly and stick to basics for both parties..unless you happen to have a few inner mongolians in tow or your own skills in that language are good. They were a bit of airheads in terms of food delivery and forgetting a few things but then again, unlike most Chinese restaurants, they only had about 3 people working there. smiles go a long way.
It was gooooood! I’ve had the pleasure to spend some time in Baotou, Hothot and a few other cities in the region. The dishes at Ruxiang compared favorably and in some cases were even better. We ordered the family size pot of milk tea that was served ceremonial style. I really liked how it had a bunch of side ingredients that we could dump in or skip as we see fit. One of the diners was a vegetarian (yes in a predominantly meaty place) so we decided not to put in the dried beef jerky in the tea.
The menu was tick and nicely illustrated with pictures albeit a bit misleading in terms of portions. They had a nice variety of lamb dishes, some fish, very little beef and chicken. They also had the whole array of noodles, normal and Mongolian, as well soups, dumplings etcc…
We did order a bit of everything, literally! The neimeng chuan’r were thick and juicy. We also ordered a roasted leg of lamb as well as a half boiled/half roasted dish that was quite tender. The beef and potato stew was tasty without being special. The soup was good. We had a bunch of vegetable dishes whose names i can’t remember. We also had some amazing mongolian style baked baozi which were not as juicy as their Xinjiang brethren but nevertheless good.
We also had the cool mongolian rolled noodles, you mian and qiaomai mian (Oats n Buckwheat), which i’m a big fan of.
There was a bit of disappointment on that side as I’ve had the noodles a few times before when they came with lovely sauces, sometimes multiple sauces and it was a joy to try all the different flavors but in this case, they were served with a mutton broth soup that i didn’t particularly like.
What made the experience memorable that particular evening was interacting with the locals… I’m a sucker for toasting, singing and generally having a good time with complete strangers just because you can. Somehow, Ruxiang Piao Piao seems like the place where that might happen more often than not, especially if you sit in the common room. The managers are likely to be the ones that pull a chair for a chat and they all exhude friendliness.
That said, this would be the perfect place to organize a party provided you plan ahead of time as they definitely did not seem like the kinda place that closed early.. it a welcome difference when all other provincial/rep restaurants seem to shut their kitchen at 9:30pm.
I find myself slowly enjoying Mongolian style mutton… heck, i now specify whether i’m having mutton or or lamb which still seems weird to me. I’ll probably always be a bigger fan of the more complex Uighur meat dishes but the Mongolian ones have their charms.
What matters at the end is that i keep good memories of the meal, good memories of the staff and can’t wait to get back there for another meal. And that in itself is as good of an endorsement as a place can get!
Ruxiang Piao Piao 乳香飘飘
Ordos Hotel Restaurant 鄂尔多斯宾馆内
3 Shanglong Beixiang, Andignmenwai Dajie (just outside the east gate of Qingnianhu Park)
Whatever you do, do NOT forget the phone number!!! you will get lost!
Big thanks to the ever lovely islandchick for some of the photos.