Mix-and-match munchies come from plenty of places
Updated: 2012-04-07 17:08
By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Golden roast pigeon is one of the most popular plates at De Yu Ting. Provided to China Daily
The newly opened De Yue Ting Cantonese Restaurant (Tak's Cantonese Cuisine) represents the regional mix-and-match that's burgeoning in Beijing's food scene.
While most foods are Cantonese classics, others on offer are a grab bag of favorites from elsewhere.
The hottest items are the cold appetizers. De Yu Ting's popular plates include mashed Chinese yam with blue berry sauce, softened walnut kernels with tiny toon leaves, and lotus roots stuffed with rice and flavored with osmanthus.
Those are in addition to the typical tastes of Cantonese cuisine - oily chicken, golden roast pigeon and marinated goose liver.
The hot dishes are also regionally diverse. Sea cucumber with golden millet congee is Shandong-style. Fried diced chicken with red chilies is Sichuanese. And fried black mutton slices with spicy green chilli hails from Hunan.
But the "small fry" - fried dry shrimp with leeks - is a Cantonese convention. So are the pork ribs with bitter melon soup and slow-braised fish head served in sand pots.
Not quite traditional, but increasingly conventional, Cantonese treats include dried fish maw and sea cucumber, which are replacing abalone and shark fin soup, as customers shun these seafood varieties out of health and environmental concerns.
The eatery's Cantonese fare is sublime, but its Chinese and Western fusion of grilled beef cooked over fruitwood looks a bit strange. It doesn't dazzle the palate.
The eatery also offers hotpot with imported beef and Hong Kong dim sum.
De Yue Ting keeps its eye on presentation. And the decor is also fusion, with Italian marble and Turkish carpets. The tableware comes from China's "porcelain capital", Jingdezhen.
It houses 22 private rooms, the biggest of which seats 26, and a public dining hall.
Next door is The Tasty Buffet, which belongs to the same owners. The group has chains in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Zhuhai.
When I went, the Tasty Buffet bustled, while De Yue Ting had few customers.
Perhaps the big tables, heavy wooden chairs, carpet and chandeliers were intimidating.