Nothing can be more delicious than Jiaozi. And nothing can be more comfortable than lying down to sleep.
This is without doubt our favourite Chinese proverb. We are big fans of both dumplings and lying down to sleep.
Jiaozi are the half moon shaped dumpling variety that is a key part of northern Chinese cuisine. They can be boiled or fried.
Today we visited an excellent Jiaozi restaurant and at our fill. Two dozen dumplings. Bao Yuan Jiaozi came highly recommended by a friend in New Zealand and an online reviewer put it like this: ask a Beijinger whether they like Bao Yuan Jiaozi, if they say no, disregard everything else they tell you about Beijing food.
We ate four kinds of dumplings:
- Pork and coriander. A delicious classic.
- Minced beef, tomato, onion and mushroom. Evocative of Italian cuisine and a timely reminder of how close Jiaozi really are to ravioli.
- Peanut, preserved pork and picked chilli. The peanut was the predominant flavour, but the pork had a pleasing almost bacony taste.
- Lotus root, zucchini and minced pork. The vegetables remained crunchy, which was excellent.
To distinguish between the different morsels that arrived piled high on a single plate, the restaurant used naturally coloured dumpling wrappers. Of these the purple coloured red cabbage flavour was the most striking.
Our dumplingathon was our last adventure with authentic northern Chinese cuisine. We’ve been very pleasantly surprised. Flour is the dominant carb. So there are egg and wheat noodles, unleavened breads in abundance, pork buns and doughnuts, and excellent dumplings. Lamb and duck are prominent meats. Both come in exceptionally good roasted varieties. Northern Chinese is probably my favourite cuisine so far, and Fiona rates it second behind Sichuan. But, we’ve yet to get our teeth into Western cuisine. That’ll be our new culinary focus in Xi’An and beyond.