Cuisine: Sichuan

Area: Nanluoguxiang (Dongcheng district)

Price: 80-120 RMB per person

It was one of those eating nights in Beijing that lurches away from the plan, because Beijing is just changing way too fast to keep up with little things like which restaurants have opened, which have closed, which have been knocked down entirely.

We headed out to Amigo, only to find a newly-opened hotpot restaurant where it used to be. (“Try hotpot instead,” suggested the waitress who tried to wave us in.)

Then we looked for a place on Nanluoguxiang where we’d loved the xiangla tudousi. It had disappeared, and we decided it was the place boarded up with blue tin.

Finally we washed up at Baguo Buyi at the south end of Nanluoguxiang. Baguo Buyi, however, is no kind of last-resort restaurant. It’s a safe standby for good Sichuan classics and we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.

First of all, even on a Sunday night, it was full of happily eating people, in an old-world China kind of atmosphere. (We were in an outer wing; inside the main building it’s lovely. Don’t miss a trip to the bathroom just to look inside).

The menu is full of pleasures for those who know and love Sichuan food. Like many Sichuan restaurants in Beijing, Baguo Buyi is a high-class sort of place, with expensive sea cucumber on its menu and without more homely, delicious dishes like fish-fragrant eggplant (yuxiang qiezi 鱼香茄子).

But they do have lovely fish-fragrant pork slivers (yuxiang rousi 鱼香肉丝). And the star dish, without question, is a showstopper: the crisp intestine (三峡石爆脆肠), which comes on a hot plate covered with sizzling chilis and hot stones there to keep up the temperature. It’s a charming dish but we’ve found it too heavy on the Sichuan peppercorn in the past.
On to what we actually ate this time: my old favourite huiguorou, twice-cooked pork, is less beany here than you usually find. Instead it’s gingery and rich and is served unusually, with little buns to stuff the meat into:

It’s no wonder it’s referred to as huiguorou “hamburger” on the menu.

Then there’s dry-pot cauliflower, with fresh, bright lantern chilis, a little more pork and green onion:

My usual dining companion, my boyfriend David, adores these cauliflower, and so did my parents when they visited Beijing. Actually Baguo Buyi is a great place to bring visitors to soak up some atmosphere along with some chili oil.

The chaoshou (pork dumplings in chili oil sauce) were deemed “awesome.” I mentioned before, dan dan mian is good here as well. It’s all in the nice, wheat-y noodles.

I haven’t yet tried the shuizhuyu, but you should and tell me about it. Experience so far suggests that it would pack a delightful punch.

Baguo Buyi/巴国布衣

89-3 Dianmen Dongdajie (at the south entrance to Nanluoguxiang). Dongcheng district.

东城区地安门东大街89-3号(平安大街路北).

Phone: 010-64008888

Opening hours: 11-2pm, 5-9:30pm.

Buses: 42、60、612、701、地安门东下车 (get off at Dianmen Dong)

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