We all know about Peking (Beijing) ducks in Beijing, but what about Chinese Islamic food? My trip to Yan Lan Lou (燕兰樓) was a short one, but it is definitely worth mentioning.
Yan Lan Lou is a Gansu restaurant in Jingshan West Street, I went there after I visited the Forbidden City since it’s only a short walk away. Gansu is a province in the northwest of China; it is famous for the ancient silk routes that connected China to Rome, and is home to a large Muslim population called the Hui Chinese. Their cuisine is referred to as the Chinese Islamic food. With over 1400 years of history, the Chinese Islamic cuisine follows the general guidelines of the Muslim restrictions with Chinese cooking techniques.
The owner of Yan Lan Lou, Mr. Su DeMing, is a Gansu native, “I want the world to learn about Gansu culture through my restaurant.” To keep the taste true to its original core, not only does he hire Gansu chefs, but also imports most of his ingredients from Gansu. His fastidious attitude is paying off today, and now Yan Lan Lou consists of 5 restaurant locations, serving authentic Chinese Islamic food.
The restaurant’s staple dish, LanZhou Beef Noodle Soup, is a must. You have the choice of thick or thin, freshly hand-pulled noodles. It is served without spicy sauce, but a big bowl of house made chili oil with sesames is already placed on every table when you arrive, so you can add to your liking. The presentation looks plain but with just one sip of the broth, you know this is onto something spectacular.
Also try traditional dishes such as Niang Pi (a cold noodle and tofu dish), Kao Yang Pai (roasted lamb chop), Shou Zhua Yang Rou (Hand Grasping Lamb) and He Zhou Bao Zi (He Zhou Steamed Bun with Lamb and Vegetables).
If you want to venture into the vast culture and branches of Chinese food, Yan Lan Lou is a good place to start! What’s more fun than a food journey? Enjoy!
No. 11, Jingshan West Street, Xicheng, Beijing, China
+86 10 6407 6028