French and Middle East cuisine in Beijing


Trying some French and Middle East cuisine in Beijing. Well, the “French” restaurant is not that French: Chez Soi, see earlier post. I had again the sausages, pretty good, on 6 October.

The promised Belgian Evening on 14 October was a bit disappointing, the French (lady) chef apologized that most items were not available. We had the Mitrailette sandwich, pretty OK, but the Cocotte de Poulet was served nearly cold (not long time enough in the microwave I guess).

They are now changing their so-called Belgian Day to Saturday. Not good for me!

Meza, Middle East

I went to say hello to chef Adel in his newly opened restaurant, east of the American Embassy. Nice interior. the food was good. Planning to return to explore more of the dishes.

I love that cuisine, many of the dishes you find in many countries, Israel, Lebanon, North Africa. The funny thing is I learned about it in São Paulo (Brazil): it was considered as some fast-food, very popular at lunch time.

Japanese, hamburgers and Irish restaurants

Trying new and established restaurants in Beijing

No, I do not only eat at Morel’s Restaurant! Been trying Japanese, hamburgers and Irish restaurants in Beijing.
After a a long time back to Paddy O’Shea’s, the well-known Irish pub on Dongzhimenwai. See their website:

This time to watch the Tuesday Comedy Live, pretty entertaining. Mostly full. Food is OK, not haute cuisine but lots of good beer.

Japanese in Aikiya

Aikiya Japanese Restaurant (合气屋日餐 in Chinese) is at the back of the former German restaurant on Gongti Dong Lu. Interesting decoration, very Japanese. The snacks at the door are free, must eat there. Not sure about the English name, it is a Google translation.

Food was good and price reasonable. We enjoyed!

New hamburger place

We finally made it to Shake Shack, the new hamburger joint in Taikoo Li in Sanlitun, close to the new Apple shop.

In the first weeks, often long queues, so we waited till things calmed down. Supposed to be a famous chain in USA. The hamburgers were juicy and tasty. Not really cheap. Service at the counters efficient, quick and friendly.

Cold pink soup and mooncakes

Cold pink soup

While Morel’s Restaurant and Café has a pretty standard menu over the years, cold pink soup and mooncakes were very recent surprises.

The cold soup is simply delicious, called Šaltibarščiai, or cold borscht with kefir. Lithuanian Cuisine. It is not yet on the normal menu.

Kefir or kephir, is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt that is made from kefir grains, a specific type of mesophilic symbiotic culture. The drink originated in the North Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Russia, where it is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains. It’s made by pouring milk over kefir grains, which are a cluster of bacteria and yeast. After about 24 hours, the microorganisms inside the kefir grains multiply and ferment the sugars in the milk.

Šaltibarščiai – cold pink soup
Kefir is not available everywhere, buttermilk with a little bit more lemon juice is a good alternative, or any mix of yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream. This soup is best made ahead, as it needs a few hours to develop more flavor.

  • 1 liter kefir
  • 2 medium red beets, cooked
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh dill
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, peeled
  • 4 medium potatoes, cooked and peeled

It is one of the many recipes on the Internet. More, see:

Special mooncakes

I was a bit surprised to learn that Morel’s is making mooncakes. I checked the packing, pretty ingenious and efficient, two per box. I tasted one of the different varieties and it was a pleasant experience. The outside is not so dry and hard as the normal Chinese ones, it is a bit like croissant, the filling is soft and moist.
A new type of mooncake, approved! For sale, two pieces for RMB 28.

NVP Garden Buffet

Netherlands Embassy

On Sunday 13 September 2020 we had the NVP Garden Buffet as a “welcome back” event, in the Dutch embassy. I am a member of the NVP, the “Nederlandse Vereniging Peking“, some other Flemish friends are also member.
The NVP has been very active and once again the buffet in the garden of the embassy was a success, with some 100 people participating, including many children who had a great time.

It was also the last event with our friend Willem as the president of the NVP. He has done a wonderful job and hopefully the new incoming team can continue the good work.
Catering was by Morel’s Restaurant, a guarantee for good and copious food to satisfy everybody. As our friend Renaat needed help, I happily volunteered to help Willem and Renaat.

It is always an interesting experience to see how much preparation and work is involved to set up a buffet and make the guests happy. Willem thought of everything for the setup, Renaat and his team was efficient as always. A great experience!

Belgian buffet

Thanks to the Dutch ambassador for letting the NVP organize the buffet in the embassy, that also has a nice big kitchen. In his speech, the ambassador thanked Willem for his work with the NVP.

We were lucky with the weather: not too hot, blue sky, a nice sun.
See the pictures of the preparation and of the buffet.

Back to Morel Restaurant

Making all Europeans (and others) jealous

Yesterday Sunday evening I headed again back to Morel Restaurant, to have dinner with friend and with the owners Renaat and Susan.
Was great to be “back to normal” a bit, after all those weeks.
As I had said: yes I went for the “steak tartare” (half portion) that is actually what we call in Belgium “filet américain”. It is indeed different because the mincemeat is chopped to perfection, the tartare has bigger pieces of meat.
Other dishes you see: veal sausage, gratinated mussels and the hearty soup.

And yes we had plenty of great French red wine. For lunch at home, another Keto diet friendly dish

Take away – home delivery

In Beijing there are a couple of websites where you can order any food you imagine. Swiftly delivered by the army of “kuaidis”, the delivery boys on their (mostly) electric bikes.
To help foreigners who cannot navigate the Chinese websites, the restaurant has now started a menu in English and clients can order by phone, best with WeChat that allows them to give the address and pay. You pay the delivery boy separately.

I tried the delivery service, The soup comes piping hot, all dishes at the right temperature and very well packed.
Prices are currently reduced, so,… Don’t wait!