Admittedly, I’ve become a bit fascinated by all things Ningxia. I’ve developped an appreciation for the music that’s coming out of that province as well as the people. Now, we can add food to that list! From what I’ve read, the local cuisine has been described as “special and practical” which indeed matches my experiences so far. I might add the word “rustic” to those descriptives. Eating at Xixia Fengxing 西夏风情 is pretty much just like that.
The restaurant is tucked in an alleyway north of yugong yishan making it a great little spot for a pre-gig meal. Adding to the neighborhood convenience, the place has rock n roll credit due to the owner, Sijia, being a regular on the Beijing music scene as the current drummer for Ska outfit, The Rudeness.
The place is small and fits about 20 people on a good day. The food is prepared by Sijia and his mom who joined him from his home province of Ningxia to help out with culinary duties. I guess one way to think about this is a hui version of Jia xiang cai.
I’ve eaten there a few times by now and always tend to get the same items on the menu: Rou Jia Mou and steamy hand pulled noodles in one form or another. I’ve had a few of the other dishes on the menu like a stewed beef with potatoes amongst others which were all satisfactory if not good. The flavors are fairly basic when you look into it with the taste of vegetables and fresh halal meat shining through without too much grease and oil getting in the way. You can especially taste the difference in their version of a roujiamou, stuffed with tender strips of meat, capsicum, onion and more…. It’s one hell of a treat! One fact that bares noting is that the lamb all comes in fresh from Ningxia.
For it being such a small place, the place is very foreigner friendly with an English menu as well as decent wine bottles when they’re available. I also love the fact that someone’s mom is in the kitchen cooking, much like she would be doing in her own house. This just makes the food taste better, it does!
The prices are also unbeatable with dishes starting at RMB8 and going up from there. Don’t be in a rush though because like most home cooking, it does take a little while to get the dishes out. Having 2 persons take care of the place does slow things down a bit but on average, 2 persons can go in and out within half an hour.
The place has been around for a few months but is still pretty much under the radar, one of those hidden gems to be treasured before the masses discover it. Don’t be surprised to run into plenty on Ningxia musicians over there as everyone from Buyi to Lidong has made it their homebase……. for food
Xixia Fengqing (西夏风情)
28 Xiguan Hutong (off Dongsi Bei Dajie)
Maps and Reviews: City Weekend