Monday, July 4, 2011

Made in China

I had the perfect weekend getaway to Beijing, a nice reprieve from my competition paper. While it was a short trip, it was jam-packed with excellent food. Going to Beijing, you can't not eat Peking duck so I made sure that that was the first thing I booked. I was originally planning on hitting up Da Dong, my favourite while living in the city, but my dad told me it had seriously gone downhill since then. After some quick research, I opted for Made in China over Duck de Chine and I'm sooo glad I made that choice.

The dark wood interior was beautiful and very similar to Sha Tin 18 in the Hyatt, Hong Kong. There were wine racks and Chinese knick-knacks all over, and I particularly loved our cutlery and the green bowl (above) for folding our roast duck.

I reserved a couple weeks in advance and made sure to request a spot near the show kitchen. There are three work stations (one for dumplings and la mian, one for all the stir-fries and mains, and a final one for peking duck). Luckily, we were seated by the big brick ovens where duck was being prepared.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get good photos in the low lighting but here was the chef taking the duck out the oven. You should definitely pre-order the duck when making your booking as it takes over an hour to come otherwise. I had pre-ordered 1/2 a duck which is plenty for two, and it came out within 10 minutes of us ordering the rest of our food - perfect as I didn't have to salivate too long watching all the ducks being prepared.

ducky condiments - scallions, cucumber, garlic, hoisin sauce, and sugar

carving our duck!

meat & head


my favourite - skin & meat :)

quite a decent amount for 2 people - 1/2 duck (¥148)

i wrapped mine like a popiah...

this was slightly nicer.

I think this duck was one of the nicest I've had. I particularly loved the pancake wrapper which was served warm and had a perfect consistency - not too thick, not too thin. I actually like them to have a little more depth so this was delicious to me. The duck itself was also amazing, especially when sprinkled with sugar. They're served in three parts which are meant to be eaten differently but I just ended up putting all of them in one wrap :P My favourite part (skin + meat) had excellent flavour and was nice and juicy. How I missed peking duck!

duck soup

I really loved this broth as well. It was super comforting and homey, and really helped me digest my food so I could plough on! (Serving sizes here are huge). I only wished it had come in a slightly easier to handle bowl - I ended up just picking it up and drinking out of it since the spoon was too cumbersome and I couldn't get big enough mouthfuls.

We also ordered a few other dishes:

spinach leaves tossed with sesame sauce & chinese rice vinegar (¥35)

This was supposedly an appetiser but it was huge! I think we only managed to finish 1/3 of it, if even that. Nothing particularly special about the dish but I enjoyed it. It had quite a kick, almost like there was wasabi in there. And you can never go wrong with cooked spinach :)

poached chicken w/ crushed peanuts, sesame & spicy sauce (¥45)

I couldn't believe the size of this thing when it came out. The bowl was really deep and had a lot of chicken in it. I enjoyed this with heaps of steamed rice. While it wasn't overly spicy, it was definitely big on flavour. Delicious.

braised blue cod w/ homemade chili and crispy shallots (¥148)

This dish stole the show. It was also the last thing I ate that night which means I might even have found it better than the duck!! (I always leave the best for last). The sauce was absolutely amazing and the fish far tastier than flounder or sole, which has a much milder flavour. Thoroughly enjoyed it and wish I can find something similar in Hong Kong! Maybe another trip to Sha Tin 18...

mango pudding with soursop sago (¥48)

The dessert was the only miss of the meal. I know a lot of people rave about the dessert here but maybe it's a little too out there for my tastes. I had wanted to finish off the meal with something light and refreshing, preferably gelato or sorbet. However, their flavours were limited and none caught my eye. We ended up choosing this mango pudding w/ sago which was a very strange flavour + texture combination. The sago was super gelatinous and came in a hard block at the top. The mango pudding was meh. Together they made for a pretty disastrous dessert and we ended up going to Bellagio's for some coconut sago instead. Much more satisfying.

That aside, this meal was one of the best Chinese meals I've had in a while. The food was consistently delicious (at least the savoury dishes) and the service impeccably attentive. What was even better was that we were happily satiated and the bill only came up to ¥520 for two! Gotta love China ;) Thoroughly recommend this place and would suggest it over Da Dong where the peking duck was the only thing I ever really enjoyed there. Plus, service and ambiance is far better at Made in China.

On my ride back to Hong Kong I was delighted to see that Dragon Air's menu was designed by Made in China:

Usually I think people are ridiculous when they take photos of airplane food but I was so excited by this that I couldn't help myself. I was also anxious that the stir-fried chicken would be out of stock by the time the stewardess got to me but luckily a lot of people seem to really like goulash :P

This is the first time I've actually finished the main dish on a plane (minus the string beans which I always find soggy and unappealing when served in the air). The flavour was spot on with lots of chili in the sauce, and the chicken pretty tender. Yummy! Or maybe I was just hungry since our flight was delayed over an hour...

Do check out Made in China if you want an excellent Peking duck meal at seriously affordable prices :) It's worth the trip to Beijing!

Made in China
Grand Hyatt Hotel,