Dong Bei Hu is one of few Chinese restaurants in Helsinki that brand themselves as authentic. The restaurant itself is very nice, great location in the heart of Helsinki and a really nice menu and attentive staff.
I had dinner here on a Monday evening, the place was semi-packed with foodies of all type. I was a solo diner so I was a bit concerned that I would have to wait long since there were a lot of people waiting for their food. When the waitress asked me what I wanted to eat I replied Mapo tofu, make it spicy! You guys might know that this is one of my most favourite Chinese meals, speaking of that I should make a Mapo Tofu Top 10!
The tofu was excellent, great texture and decent sized chunks! The sauce was spicy, a lot of Sichuan peppers and chili, broad beans, fermented black beans and the stuff that goes into the dish. However, I am not 100 % certain that it was made from scratch since it was a bit salty. Usually the Mapo Tofu sauces that you buy are a bit too salty and have an artificial flavour to them. However, the execution at Dong Bei Hu was excellent and I would really like to go here with some friends and have a feast! Please visit them and have a great meal!
Mrs Fuchsia Dunlop http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/writes the following about Gong Bao chicken in her book Sichuan Cookery:
“This dish: also known as Kung Pao chicken, has the curious distinction of having been labelled as politically incorrect during the Cultural Revolution. It is named after a late Qing Dynasty (late nineteenth-century) governor of Sichuan, Ding Baozhen, who is said to have particularly enjoyed eating it – gong bao was his official title”. ‘
The book is a true masterpiece, her passion for Sichuan cuisine has inspired me greatly! Please buy it and support her cause. She also consults for Barshu in London, a Sichuanese restaurant that I hope to visit very soon.
I followed her recipe that can be found in the book but added some additional sauces and fried the chicken using a different method from what she describes. Let us get down to business people, enough talking!
The recipe calls for the following spices that are found on the plate: Sichuan skyward-pointing chili pepper, Sichuan pepper, garlic, spring onions and ginger. You also need some roasted peanuts, please do not used the ones that you snack on because they will kill the dish. Instead you should get some non-salted peanuts and roast them in the oven for 5 minutes in 175 degrees celsius.
You also need diced chicken breasts (I also included some legs). Prepare a marinade for the chicken with salt, Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce, Kimlan Light Soy Sauce, corn starch and some cold water.
Mix a sauce using Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce, Kimlan Light Soy Sauce, Hua Tiao Chiew Rice Wine, Chinkiang Vinegar, pure sesame oil, corn starch and some cold water. I also added some Fu Chi Chili Bean Sauce and Sichuan Zigong Baiweizhai Gongbao Sauce. These two sauces were not included in the recipe by Mrs Dunlop, however, I have seen them listed in other recipes.
I also deep-fried the chicken before actually frying it with the spices. Heat plenty of cooking oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches, about 45 seconds or until the chicken turns a bit brown. It is not necessary for the chicken to be cooked through, you will fry them a second time so no need to worry!
Start preparing the spices. Fry the Sichuan chili and the Sichuan peppers in a hot pan for a minute or so, you want a nice fragrance from the pan. I also added some Sichuan oil at this stage, this was not part of the original recipe but I love the taste! Add the garlic, ginger and onions and fry for about 30 seconds. Finally add the chicken and fry until done, do not let it dry out however. Before serving, add the peanuts and the sauce and you are ready to go. What a great meal, enjoy bitches!
Yes, finally a new and exciting recipe! I found this great video on youtube that showed in detail how to make this great Szechuan dish. Please have a look at the video http://www.youtube.com/user/yweelims#p/u/19/yfwrXxMKBOU or follow my instructions below.
This is quite easy to make actually. However, you need a lot of ingredients that might be difficult to find if you do not live in a capital city. For the sauce you need the following stuff:
From left: Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce, Fu Chi Chili Bean Sauce, Hua Tiao Chiew Rice Wine, Chinkiang Vinegar, Pure Sesame Oil, Kimlan Light Soy Sauce, Corn Starch and White Sugar.
Mix about equal amounts of the ingredients and put aside for later use. Chop generous amounts of ginger, garlic and spring onions. For the recipe you also need a lot of Sichuan Skyward-pointing Chili Pepper, I used about 15.
You also need some minced pork, the fatty alternative.
Cut aubergines into equally big pieces and add to your bamboo steamer, they will take about 15 minutes to soften.
When the aubergines are ready, let them rest under the lid and start frying the pork. First, add the ginger, chili and garlic into a very hot pan. Fry for a minute or so. Add the pork and cook until done. Now it is time for the spring onions and the sauce. Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes and taste to check that you have a good balance between the flavours.
I added some Sichuan oil to the dish just before serving, this made it a bit more hot and fragrant.
Ok, so now it is time to eat. Put the steamed aubergines on you serving platter, mash them gently and pour over the pork. Enjoy bitches!
Finally!!! I found the skyward-pointing chili pepper that is THE ingredient in Sichuan cooking. My obsession with Sichuan cuisine started about one year ago when I had some water-cooked beef at a restaurant in Stockholm. I was seduced by all the spices and flavours, it really surprised me! When I was in London I had my very first hotpot and since then I have been hunting for these chillies. I tried to find them in Spain, in Finland and in Sweden! I think I have spent hours browsing through stores (at least 10 different Asian supermarkets), I have tried to find the online and googled like crazy! I have spoken to Chinese people in the stores, asked in restaurants but without luck…
However, I found the heaven facing peppers at a store called Kina Li on Ringvägen 129 in Stockholm. As you can see from the picture below, they differ from the normal dried red chili (which is usually a Thai chili). They are shorter, the shape is different and the colour is darker and the flavour is much nicer.
I can finally start cooking Sichuan food from scratch, God bless Kina Li!!!
Before we get to the story, let us all join hands in prayer and ask God that he sees to it that this Chinese restaurant never goes out of business because this place offers incredible food. I have had some great Chinese meals in New York, London and Paris but this was just marvellous.
First of all, the location is a bit strange. The restaurant is in the middle of a high-rise residential block in the outer parts of Barcelona. It looks like a normal Chinese restaurant from the outside and you will not find notice anything out of the ordinary when you step inside.
When we sat down at our table we were greeted by a waiter who introduced their menu. What a disaster it was. Old faded pictures of really not that appealing food, a lot of stuff with chips and spaghetti – oh my God… I asked if there was a separate Szechuan menu and the waiter just did not understand the English and a second waitress turned up. She understood the question but not really the request… Why would we want to eat from another menu?
She did however return with a menu in Chinese, which I do not understand in writing at all. So then a third waiter (perhaps the owner) turned up. He spoke perfect English and asked us what we wanted to eat and from that point on I was truly in heaven.
We ordered three main courses. First we have steamed fish, it came with Chinese mushrooms and fresh ginger and a light sauce. It was a true masterpiece, velvety and very gentle. This was by far the best fish I have had in a Chinese restaurant anywhere, I am not kidding.
For our second course we had Mapo Tofu, I have found that this is a dish that really sets the standard for a Chinese restaurant. This was such a masterpiece, very soft and nice tofu, a good amount of Szechuan spice and a lot of different layers of flavours. I was in heaven eating this.
The third dish was Szechuan Spicy Beef. I had asked for something ridiculously spicy and this was not a disappointment. Very tender beef in red bean paste with loads of chilli, it was just beyond amazing! Sweet and hot at the same time, great!
We ended our meal with Eight-treasures Rice Pudding. It was sticky rice with different preserved fruits, sweet bean paste, sesame seeds and some sort of sweet sauce. This was so great and not at all as heavy as one would think.
When leaving the restaurant we were offered some Chinese rice wine with cinnamon, it tasted a bit like sherry – great! I also chatted a bit with the staff and talked about Chinese food and eating out.
There were so many nice options to choose from the menu, I wish I would have had more time to spend in Barcelona so I could have eaten it all. I will most definitely come back when I am in Spain, please visit the restaurant while I am gone. Enjoy!
I have had Chinese food in many, many, many restaurants around the world and in my honest opinion Dragon House in Stockholm is one of the better restaurants north of London. They actually offer and cook food that is more authentic. The restaurant itself is not that sexy and they have a crappy buffet with Chinese/Thai/Japanese and whatever food which is a total disaster.
Stay away from that shit and focus on the Chinese menu. They have a lot of good stuff on offer, Szechuan water boiled meat, deep-fried fish, pork belly, intestines and feet. Oh, glorious food! I have eaten at this restaurant several times and I have noticed that the quality differs a bit depending on if you go there for lunch or dinner. I guess they have many different chefs at well. However, I can recommend the stuff that we had on our last visit.
Tofu with sesame oil, great!
Water-boiled beef, wonderful!
Pig’s feet with sea cucumber, delicious!
The waiter laughed at us when we ordered the pig’s feet! He grinned and shook his head several times! What a funny guy… I think it was cooked with sweet black vinegar and ginger, it was soft and fragrant. Great! The sea cucumber was a bit chewy, it is some sort of weird animal/plant thing that really is as disgusting as pig’s feet if you google it.
Happy dining bitches!
My second attempt to find a proper Chinese restaurant in Gothenburg. This time around I opted for a place that markets itself as authentic. For starters I had a sour soup with tofu and chicken. It was tasty but a bit too thick which made question if it is a soup or a sauce. This was followed by some sort of Szechuan beef. It was sweet, a lot of onions and bell peppers, not hot at all. Overall ok, a bit different but lacked a lot of spice and flavour.
Let’s just put it like this, there is no need to go to Gothenburg for Chinese food (or for any other reason, quite a boring town).
Piquant soup with chicken, vanjii mushrooms and tofu.
Chilli woked beef with szechuan vegetables, green pepper and onion.
Yes, the pictures are crap! Please send me a new digital camera!
I was in Gotheburg this week and wanted to sample some of the food the city has to offer. At Ming I ordered Mapo Tofu from the “Chinese” menu. As you can see from the picture, it looks quite nice. However, they did not use enough Szechuan pepper corns and the sauce itself was just the basic brown sauce from a can. A bit of a disappointment I have to say, why have a Chinese menu and go halfway? 5/10 points.
Eating hot pot was a dream come true for me, it was just great! The experience was so nice, the white soup base was wonderful and the hot soup base was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Look at the amount of red chillies, ridiculous! Basically, you get a lot of nice fresh ingredients that you can prepare for yourself. This was just great! The restaurant itself had so many nice meals to offer, unfortunately we run out of time on our trip to London and did not have time to try the other Szechuan stuff. OMG, I loved the food!
Hot Pot (White Soup Base / Hot Chicken Soup Base)
Hot Pot Ingredients: King Prawns, Sliced Fish, Squid, Fish Bolls, Sliced Beef, Sliced Lamb, Tofu, Seaweed, Needle Mushrooms, Chinese Leaves, Potato Slices, Dry Beancurd Sticks, Sweet Potato Noodles, Chinese Cabbage, Baby Squid, Chinese Sausages.