This is part twelve in the Must Tries Series that asks people in the Beijing bar, restaurant, and wine business to give us their recommendations. This time up: Tobias “Tobi” Demker, owner of Purple Haze and Purple Haze Bistro, and bassist for local acts Bad Mamasan and Black Cat Bone.
What is the “must try” food at Purple Haze?
The pan-fried crab cakes with mango salsa. It’s only served at Purple Haze Courtyard, but it’s a really good appetizer.
What is the “must try” drink at Purple Haze?
Vanilla Summer, a simple drink using vanilla vodka, apple juice and ginger Ale. Simple but good.
What are three “must tries” from other places in Beijing?
For Chinese food, 小炒牛肉 (quickly fried beef) at 相西土菜 (called Hot & Spicy Bar in English). This is a Hunan restaurant in the compound where I live. It serves this really spicy beef dish. In fact, it’s so spicy I can’t have it too often.
For Western food: I don’t know if they serve it at their new location but the suckling pig with cumin cream foam at Agua was to die for. Really tender with amazing flavors.
For drinks, I usually have wine or beer, but I had a really good martini at one of the Japanese joints. Might have been Ichikura. A martini mixed with pepper vodka, Tabasco and olives. Really good with some extra olives on the side. Obviously a lot of spice to this drink, so you might not want to have too many on one night.