Updated: 2011-07-31 08:30
By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Biao Li Ru Yi Chinese restaurant steams most of its dishes, and that was what attracted me to it in the first place. It advertises itself as a healthy eatery, both on its display windows and on its menu.
Biao Li Ru Yi means "to act and think the same way", and it sums up the restaurant's commitment of quality and service to patrons.
By way of introduction, the menu explains: "Sauting, frying and deep-frying process food at high temperature, but steaming produces a much lower amount of carbon dioxide, and makes the indoor environment more comfortable."
The part about the environment is evident. A stainless-steel shelf by the side of every table has two induction stoves on top. The dishes, most of them half-prepared, are placed on the stoves and steamed to finish cooking. The steaming takes about 5 to 10 minutes, there is no smoke or smell, and the air is clean in the restaurant.
One way to make good use of the waiting time is to enjoy some cold appetizers. Our choices included bitter chrysanthemum leaf salad with black fungus, the hand-peeled bamboo shoots and the pretty two-colored seaweed.
I was curious to see if the steamed dishes would taste monotonous, but that concern was quickly dispelled.
The chef's repertoire was drawn from five regional cuisines - Sichuan, Shandong, Cantonese, Jiangsu and Hunan. Besides the cold appetizers and main dishes, there are soups and dim sum.
The waitress recommended the chicken bean curd, and we had no regrets. There was minced chicken, and beancurd made with a chicken broth - very tasty.
But our favorite was the fish head steamed with preserved spicy green chili. The fish was very tender, and just spicy enough.
Another favorite was the tender steamed pork ribs with dark brown preserved soy paste, which was the perfect companion for white rice.
I also ordered a pig's trotter, which was soft enough but a bit greasy.
Five dishes were just enough for the four of us. The restaurant lists two prices for each dish, with member's prices about 3 yuan cheaper. If you are ordering more than three dishes, it may be worthwhile getting a card, which costs 10 yuan.
The restaurant takes advantage of its proximity to two universities by offering affordable set meals.
Our meal cost 45 yuan ($7) per person. Considering the price and food quality, I may not come especially for a meal, but I will certainly drop in if I am around the area.
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