Friday, August 7, 2009

Beijing Traditional Zhajiang Mian

My attachment to zhajiang mian (炸酱面), or 'fried sauce' noodles, is deep. They are a traditional Chinese food but across the border in Korea people love 'jajangmyun' just as much, and during the years when I lived with Korean roommates and made two trips to said country, these noodles featured in some of life's most memorable meals. They, are, however, quite rare in Sichuan. So I was pretty excited when I saw the sign: Beijing Traditional Zhajiang Mian, by a large apartment complex on the north side of Jiuyan Qiao.

The house specialty comes nicely presented - a large bowl of noodles with several smaller bowls of stir-ins and the oily sauce on the side. I liked that we could control how much oil we added, and the server helped us mix up the noodles. The flavour was exactly right. Noodles, about to have the dark brown sauce added and mixed up:

(Peeking from the back is an order of stir fried eggplant with bits of ground pork and fresh soybeans - 小炒茄子. Great.)

Although the zhajiang mian stir-ins are all vegetable, the noodles have a little bit of meat. Non meat eaters can request without, or order the dalu mian (打卤面), another type of mixed noodle dish which is meatless. There are quite a few other veg friendly options on the menu.

There is far more to the menu than noodles. We also got an order of Beijing sauce shredded pork, 京酱肉丝, which came with untraditional squares of tofu skin to use as wraps for the meat and sauce.

I really, really, like this restaurant. The serving staff in their blue uniforms (all male the night we visited) appear to be well chosen and well trained, and work very efficiently but still show patience with foreigners who are trying to figure out the menu. The prices are much more reasonable than they need to be, and everything we ate was prepared with care. We are looking forward to eating there again and trying the sweets on the menu. Storefront:

Name: 老北京 炸酱面 Address: 锦江区宏济新路297号 Walk a couple blocks east of the north Jiuyan Qiao bus stop.

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