Hegang Xiaochuan and La Taverne disappeared

Laohe Taitai Hegang Xiaochuan

That was the name of what we called “Chinese BBQ”; Hegang Xiaochuan and La Taverne disappeared from the larger Gongti area. The Hegang Skewers were located on Xindong Road, corner Xingfusancun 4th Alley, in the basement. It has been totally renovated and a new restaurant should open in the near future.
We liked that place, typical Chinese only. Friendly staff, pretty tasty skewers, hotpot and other dishes. And cheap.

I guess it closed due to poor business with COVID.
Beijing is becoming infamous by the many restaurants going bust. Often major reasons are excessive rents and poor management.

La Taverne is gone

La Taverne was on Gongti Xi Lu, fairly popular with French people. I liked the environment, interior was cozy, the outside area very comfortable and pleasant. We have very few outside seating like that in the larger Sanlitun area.
The restaurant was plagued by successive changes in its management and chefs. At times quality could be poor but they had some nice dishes.

Why it closed, no idea. The whole area was changed and one would not recognize the place. It is now part of an office building with a different gate.
I will miss those two places.

Chez Soi is now Le Sud

Chez Soi

Chez Soi is now Le Sud but I must admit I miss the previous version. Caroline has always been very friendly and welcoming and I keep visiting the new place.
Chez Soi was never a luxury top-level restaurant but the atmosphere was cozy, some of the dishes were pretty good and overall prices were rather cheap. Some of the pizzas were very tasty.

See some of the many dishes I enjoyed. Looking at them I feel hungry…
Yes the windows were pretty bad and needed renovation, Of course Chez Soi also suffered from the COVID problems and many forced closures. These 3 COVID years have taken a big toll on business.
Major renovation was done for the new restaurant, very well done.

Le Sud first visit

Our first visit on 14 November 2022 was, well, a bit disappointing.
The dishes: crab salmon, foie gras, beef Wellington, bouillabaisse, Ile flottante, apple tart plus a couple of IPA. The bouillabaisse was a joke and the Wellington was (for me at least) a weird version.

Overall price was rather high, too expensive for the quality and quantity.

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating in the port city of Marseille. This is how it is supposed to look like! There are some different ways to prepare and serve but here you find a good introduction.

Back to Le Sud

On 2 January 2023 we tried again. This time we were much more happy with our choice.

Better choice of beers and the heating was also better. Friendly service.
I was not convinced at all by the fries. Soggy.
The duck was great.
I will surely return to test more!

Old China Hands lunch 6 January

Lunch is back!

Due to the COVID-19 situation in December we had to cancel the monthly lunch. With the Old China Hands lunch 6 January 2023 we started again, entering our tenth year!
We first remembered our friend Hartmut Heine who suddenly left us on 4 December. Our friend Kent, now in the USA gave us a short speech by video call to remember Hartmut, followed by a moment of silence.

I personally knew Hartmut for some 40 years. I discovered these pictures of Hartmut attending my office party in my Beijing Hotel office on 22 November 1982.
With the virus tsunami in Beijing and with a number of members abroad for the holidays we had a modest crowd of 21.

Moldova wine

Our member Lydia surprised us bringing many wine bottles from Moldova and our special guest, the ambassador of the Republic of Moldova.

See the dishes I chose and one of the weirdflowers chosen by Susan “zombie flower”. Always something new!
Many happily tried the wines!
Thanks to Lydia whom I had met in a Moldova Wine Tasting on 25 October 2022.

Moldova Wine Tasting

Moldova-China Economic and Cultural Exchange Center

On 25 October 2022 we were invited by Max Yang and Lydia Long in the Center on Chang’An Avenue. They had organized a VIP wine tasting event to introduce the rich variety of wine from Moldova.
I had quite a bit of wine that day, a nice discovery.

I took some of the leftovers to Morel’s Restaurant to continue the tasting with Renaat.
See some of the wines we had the pleasure to explore.

Moldovan wine

Fossils of Vitis teutonica vine leaves near the Naslavcia village in the north of Moldova indicate that grapes grew here approximately 6 to 25 million years ago. The grape growing and wine-making in the area between the Nistru and Prut rivers, which began 4000–5000 years ago, had periods of rises and falls but has survived through all the changing social and economic conditions.
Moldova has a well-established wine industry. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moldovan_wine) It is the 11th largest European wine-producing country.

White varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Aligoté, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Riesling, Traminer, Muscat, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, Rkatsiteli.
Red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Malbec, Saperavi, Gamay.

See: “15 Fascinating Facts About Moldovan Wine That You Never Knew”.

Old China Hands lunch 8 November

Modest crowd

Our Old China Hands lunch 8 November saw a grand total of 25, due to COVID complications and other. It was somehow good to have a reduced crowd as CCTV4 was running around filming us and Morel’s Restaurant has a lack of staff.
Yeah CCTV4 is making (again) a documentary about me…

But food was great again. This time we saw pockets of French, German, Flemish and English speaking corners, making it pretty international…

Our Hutong Man

Once again Terry in the news. this time on BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV). who shows his Chinese skills and how he is part of the hutong community.

Link of the video clip is here.
Google translation (edited) from the introduction:
“Unexpected Beijing”  American Gao Tianrui, I am “Xichengyang Aunt”
BRTV Youth 21 October 2022
Gao Tianrui from the USA has lived in Beijing for 27 years. A few years ago, he set up his home in a hutong near Shichahai in Beijing, and developed a strong interest in the work of community volunteers. In 2017, he joined the volunteer team of “Aunt Xicheng” and became a member of the Ping An volunteers in Xicheng District, and became well-known. Wearing a red vest and a red armband he is regularly walking in the alleys of Shichahai, enjoying volunteering. His favorite idiom is “helping others.” For him, the Shichahai community is his home.

See previous posts here.