Tasty Sichuan Near Jianguomen Subway Stop

The caveat of eating a lot of great spicy food is that you keep wanting more spicy food. When dinner time came around, J and I played with some options that included Korean hot pot, Beijing-style dumplings, or Yunnan. But I had a craving for spicy Sichuan, probably fueled by the larger-than-usual amounts of Sichuan I've been eating for the past few days

About half a block north of the Jianguomen stop is Dongzhongbu Hutong. Bǎichuānwèi 百川味 doesn't draw the crowds that nearby Chuan Ban does, but had a dining room filled with enough happy diners to draw us in.

The menu had typical Sichuanese fare, hot pot options, and a few Beijing homestyle dishes thrown in. A small kitchen attached to the dining room also had a chef preparing and roasting Peking duck. Another chef in the dining room was adeptly slicing very fragrant ducks with a cleaver the whole time we were eating, while waitresses briskly brought the plates into the adjoining dining room.

Peking duck would have left us with leftovers for a week, so we went with less extravagant options. Mápó dòufu 麻婆豆腐 was tasty and spicy enough to satisfy my cravings. The "Mouth-watering chicken" 口水鸡 (also translated as "saliva chicken"), chopped up and served with chilli sauce and peanuts, lived up to its name. The meat was tender, and I couldn't help sopping up the chilli sauce with our side of broccoli.

The ambiance was nothing special, with bright lights and the requisite lanterns that lose their effect because of the brightness. But at 70 yuan ($9.40) for for 3 entrees, chrysanthemum tea, and beer, I'm not complaining. (Though I will definitely brave the crowds at Chuan Ban another day.)

Dongzhongbu Hutong, off Jianguomenbei Dajie
Dongcheng District, Beijing