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The Beijingers in Hutong

It's the time to the Waking of Insects, a Chinese Solar Term(a day marking one of the 24 divisions of the solar year in the traditional Chinese) happens in early spring. At 6:00 in the morning, people opened the door at dawn, and prepared to start a new day.

Snacks in the hutong are supplied twenty-four hours a day, whether leaving-early or coming -late travelers, there are always bowls of warm soup to expel the frost and fatigue for them.Someone said that Westerners are accustomed to use body to express love while Chinese use food. I think that is just a kind of unique Chinese warmth.

At 3:00 in the morning, it was still very cold and deep at night. A new day had begun for the staff of a breakfast store. They were occupied in making dough and chopping stuffing until the hot breakfast was finally finished and people who get up early for making a living came to the store to buy a cage of steaming dumplings with a bowl of millet pumpkin porridge to get a bit of energy at the beginning of the breakfast.

A waiter of the breakfast store said she came from Anhui province to Beijing when she was fifteen years old, then she had stayed here for another fifteen years. This breakfast store in the hutong has opened for a long time. In addition to porridge and dumplings, the bean curd jelly and wonton are their signature dishes too.

The breakfast store is crowed until half past ten at noon. Then chefs in Wangji Handmade Noodles(王记手擀面) began to prepared lunch. They cooked fragrant sauce including daylily with agaric, which is a characteristic and traditional sauce in old Beijing ,and tomato with eggs, which is a classic sauce loved by both north and south people. Handmade noodles are different from industrial noodles, they are soft but chewy. The owner of the noodles shop said he has made noodles for twenty years." Making noodles needs kongfu in hands. Mixing flour and kneading dough both need a long time to practice. The tastes of noodles vary greatly among chefs. Other chefs can't make the noodles like I do, maybe I was born for it. And I came from Shanxi Province, Shanxi is famous for noodles too. "Chief Wang proudly laughed" I'd like to set up noodles stores in residential area, because I like to talk to customers and chat about what happened recently. I just love this kind of feeling. "Whoever came to the store, chef Wang would greet him or her with open arms. He told me when he was free" I make noodles is not for money now, is for the sake of dream. Do you know what is the spirit of Beijing? My dream is that, after people coming to my shop and eating a bite of noodles, they will utter a cry of surprise ‘Oh yes! This is the old Beijing flavor!’ I aspire to this kind of feeling. I want to make noodles like that."

The picture is braised diced eggplant. The noodles store provide you eight types of sauce.

Choose any kinds of sauce youl like and put it on the noodles. You can select more than one type.

According to your own taste, you can add some vinegar or pepper. Mix all of them, and then you can glut yourself with delicacies.

There are many migrants in Beijing. They have similar experiences, leaving home early and bearing the burden of life at a very young age. However, pressure and hardships did not make them become numb, they formed a sort of nervous and burning passion for life. They drive the day forward rather than the day rolling them. Strong zest for life and tireless diligence of these people are the sparkling and vital spirits of Beijing city.

If you come to the hutong in Beijing, I think the earnest and enthusiasm that touched me very deeply will also satisfy your desire of human warmth.