Beijing: Liang An Yi Jia (两岸一家)

We visited a place called 簋街 aka Ghost Street (due to the same pronouciation) on a Friday night for dinner. This is more of a local hangout place , where the restaurants open 24 hours. The atmosphere is very lively, with hundreds of red lanterns lining the whole street. To a certain extent, it does give a ghostly feel to the place. We strolled along the whole stretch in the chilly night weather. There are some random stalls on the street selling gifts, toys and even fruits. We didn’t bother to stop and check them out as they were not very interesting looking.

It is very obvious which are the popular restaurants along Ghost Street. Some of the restaurant entrances were packed with people sitting around and waiting for a table. The restaurants conveniently provide bowls of sunflower seeds to waiting customers. Unwilling to queue for hours (looks like it since there are at least 50 people standing round), we went for the restaurant with no queue (always a bad sign) but was still reasonably full. I guess there are a lot of people who have the same mindset as us. Practically all the restaurants in Ghost Street sells mini lobsters, cooked in several ways. I know that there are reports saying that these little critters can be quite poisonous due to the rubbish they eat in polluted waters. However, I was quite curious to try this in BJ as the people here can go through them by the buckets. I am quite sure I ate this before in Sydney but that was just steamed. Over here, I opted to have it cooked in mala sauce. The mini lobsters came in a tray, piping hot. The restaurant also provided some plastic gloves which are quite useless against the heat, and my hands got sauce all over after going through 2 lobsters. The flesh is a mix between prawn and lobster. I quite like it.

The other favourite dish was the spiced mutton bites. These cubes of bite size mutton were deep fried and sprinkled with spices that were similar to mongolian style (think cumin and pepper). I think my boss polished most of it off. The more lacklustre dish was the sichuan style fish in oil and sichuan peppers. As you can see from the picture, there wasn’t much peppers. More like fish drowning in oil. We also had braised meat with preserved vegetables (梅菜扣肉). The preserved vegetables were mushy and of dodgy origins. We wisely left that alone after having a few bites. It is unlikely that I will return to this restaurant since the food was only average. If I come round this part of BJ again, I will definitely ask my colleague to book me a seat in one of the more popular restaurants.

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