Dinner with friends in Beijing
Along one of the main restaurant streets in Beijing (Dongzhimennai Da Jie also known as Ghost Street), there is a restaurant called Huajia Yiyuan (Hua Family Restaurant) within a fully restored old courtyard. The owners have since restored another courtyard home which now joins the old one via a Hutong (Beijing street).
I have eaten at this restaurant a couple of times and enjoyed a private room on each occasion. The first time we went as a large group to farewell a friend from Beijing, we were given a private tour of both courtyard homes including the private ancient courtyards with carved beams and pillars connected with interlinked pathways.
The menu has photographs and English translations of every dish which is extremely useful to ensure you order the correct dishes, if, like me you can only read about 100 Chinese characters (and none of those are food), but some of the waiters speak a little English which is also very useful.
There are also pitchers of fresh fruit juice and hot corn juice, which I did taste and was actually not too bad. There is a range of the usual vegetarian options on the menu but the Yongzheng Dynasty Roast Duck is said to be very good. It is based on the recipe in the ‘Notes of Imperial Court Food’ written during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty and has several accompanying side dishes; including pineapple, melon and lettuce, in addition to the traditional cucumber.
Plenty of fabulous ornate doorways in the restaurant also…
The restaurant also offers a show during dinner which is a variety of Peking Opera, acrobatics and ‘changing faces’…I always enjoy the ‘changing faces’…so clever!!
I have recommended this restaurants to several of my visitors and each has always returned with the same view; excellent evening!!