Dining Out: Fava Beans with Yunnan Goat Cheese, and Overly Hip Restrooms

I was hesitant to visit a restaurant owned by a Taiwanese pop star. In the US, celebrity-backed ventures are usually failures with seriously bad food. It didn't help that one online reviewer mentioned that the décor was "over the top."

"Really?" I asked my friend, who usually prefers threadbare restaurants where one can feast like a king for next to nothing. He insisted we try, because it was listed on his Beijing map.

I guess Taiwanese celebs know their food better than their American counterparts. We ended up having a pretty good meal of mostly Yunnan and Guizhou food. One dish I loved was a dish of fava beans with Yunnan goat cheese. (I had mentioned Yunnan goat cheese before, from a restaurant I have come to despise because of the horribly rude, even for Beijing, service.)

Rǔbǐng (乳饼) is the only Chinese cheese I know of that is widely known and popular, at least in China. It's delicious when pan-fried, with a sprinkle of sugar or salt and pepper on top. In this fava bean dish, it was steamed and dressed with a mellow rice wine sauce. Simple, and a great rice accompaniment.

We also had a fried radish dish overed with dried chilis. While more photogenic than the goat cheese, I couldn't really taste the radish beyond the thick layer of greasy fried batter. One bite and I felt pimples starting to form. That dish will be one to avoid on future visits.

The restrooms are still too trendy for my taste. The stalls have silver beaded curtains in lieu of doors.

Jia 21 Hao (甲21号) 21 Beitucheng Donglu Chaoyang District, Beijing 朝阳区北土城东路甲21号