Kungfu Hustle on Your Plate: Feng Bo Zhuang, Big Power Balls, Nine Pillars of Harmony
Just as i would think that i might be getting jaded at Beijing for whatever reason, I get lucky enough and have an experience that leaves smiles on my face. Walking into and dining at Feng Bo Zhuang 风波庄 was one of those!
The best way i can describe it: You’re thinking you’re walking into a rustic restaurant for a meal and you find yourself in a Stephen Chow movie with swords, funky furniture and waiters talking weird…. yup, that would be Feng Bo Zhuang!
I picked the place initially because it looked like the only decent eatery i could find on dianping close enough to pingguoyuan where my MIDI crew could meet and eat before the musical onslaught. Boy am i glad i picked that.
The restaurant itself has an unassuming rustic wooden facade, much in line with those you see in old Kung Fu movies, down to the bowl of water outside to wash your hands. Once you walk in you’re greeted by smiling shouting staff dressed in replica outfits making them look as if they were ready for kungu class as opposed to serving you dishes. Everything from the tables to the bowls and plates is just like the movies.
How about the food? It’s good!
There is no menu to be had, the staff decides what to bring you and you can accept the dish or send it back. They also make it a point to ask whether anyone at the table suffers from any specific allergies as to avoid problems. The dishes themselves have funky names, all kung fu related, which sound nothing like what you’d see in a normal menu. I got lucky that particular day as both my dining companions were kung fu movie freaks (in a good way) so they could understand and explain the nuances of what was taking place.
We got served some pretty tasty dishes, all varieties or different takes of classics but with funky names:
Stuffed sticky riceballs are called 大力丸 dà lì wán ( big power pellets? ), whereas a lovely dish of meat over noodles with scallions and other goodies goes by the name 九阳神功 jiǔ yáng shén gōng ( nine principles of harmony?).
Other standouts were their version of 口水鱼 (saliva fish) and 叫花鸭 (beggar’s chicken), both better than those of many famous restaurants in town.
What really got me was the attention to details: The cups were old style, the words used were almost comical, the staff so freaking cheerful and friendly and the experience overall outstanding. It’s a place I’m looking forward to trying again, especially with a big group because it takes the ordering hassle out of the equation. I don’t think i’m likely to go to their west side branch much but dianping lists a total of 6 all around Beijing, most of which are actually closer to me.
Be aware that this is not the place you go in for a quiet dinner, it’s busy and happening without getting to “loud” levels but still, I know some people that might be put off by it. I’m not sure an out-of-town visitor would really appreciate the difference but I liked not hearing the word “fuwuyuan’r” even once.
Most people would probably end up in the haidian or xinjiekou branches which I will list here:
Feng Bo Zhuang 风波庄