When in doubt, settle for Chinese is my eating out philosophy. And, that’s how we landed in Lao Beijing, amongst the many, many restaurants at Lakeside in Pokhara.
The narrow path that leads to the restaurant reminded this writer of Hutongs in Beijing from where the owner, Liu Xiansheng, comes.
PICS: ELAINE WANG YIWEI
Liu came to Pokhara last year, fell in love with the place, and decided to stay. Dissatisfied with presentation of Chinese cuisine as an oily and spicy fare, he decided to open Lao Beijing in May this year to introduce traditional, northern flavours to diners who are only familiar with Szechuan-Chinese dishes.
“All our dishes are prepared with minimum oil and spice, ours is more home style cooking,” said Liu.
We thought so too.
The first dish that we tried - the Soya bean paste noodles (Rs 400) – set the precedent for rest to follow. The noodles, prepared by hand, (Lao Beijing serves both handpulled and machine made noodles) was served with shredded cucumber and tomato slices and had an authentic Beijing taste – courtesy of the sauces that Liu imports from the Chinese capital.
We also ordered two other noodle dishes: Sesame paste noodles (Rs 400) and Noodles with gravy (Rs 400). Both tasted divine, and celebrated its ingredients that are unique to Chinese cuisine. The gravy, prepared with pork, dry lily, agaric, eggs is a traditional Chinese family recipe that all foodies should try.
Lao Beijing also offers a variety of Chinese dumplings. Unlike the Nepali way of cooking it, the dumplings at Lao’s are poached. We tried the one with pork and Chinese cabbage (Rs 400). It was fresh, and bursting with flavours. If you like flour-made dumplings, opt for the steamed bun (Rs 50 per piece), another traditional northern Chinese food.
For beef eaters, the Stir fry beef (Rs 500) and boiled slice beef with hot flavour sauce (small Rs 150) are recommended. The beef fried with onion, celery and dry chili, will satisfy those who prefer a little hotness in their dish while the boiled slice beef which is cooked for hours, was another crowd pleaser.
Fried pork with cabbage (Rs 350) and fried Chinese cabbage with vinegar and dried chili (Rs 250) were two other dishes that we ate which helped quell a little bit of the homesickness we were feeling.
The average price per person comes down to Rs 500, a bargain for the taste and quality of the dishes on offer if you ask me.
How to get there: Lao Beijing is at Lakeside, Pokhara next to Standard Chartered Bank.