Sanlitun Soho is in my neighborhood but I have spent little time since it opened and have thus tried to make amends in the past few weeks. Some spots tried:
Holland Fish (1F): I was drawn like a foot to a wooden shoe by a flier that mentioned “Dutch” fried rice (rmb36). Apparently, the nod to northern Europe is due to the side of cod in a dish that otherwise struck me as Indonesian — then again, the Dutch did colonize that part of the planet. When I visited, Holland Fish had a side deal that included two fish sticks, a small salad (unfortunately overloaded with dressing) and a soft drink (rmb5; regular rmb10). Solid filler…
Rice and Beef (B1): This place offers more than a dozen meat, veggie and rice options served on a hot skillet and seems ideal for those seeking a quick lunch. How quick? By the time I had finished paying for my order and picked a seat, a waitress was behind me with a sizzling plate loaded with kimchi, beef, an egg (rmb2 extra), cheese (rmb3 extra), and rice topped with vegetables. She stir-cooked the meat and egg and then I had at it. Combos start from rmb23.
Moment Cafe (B1): The ‘Indiavolato’ sandwich is among the tastier items I have tasted in the past month. Chicken breast, lettuce, green pepper and jalapeno spread on ciabatta, with a sprikling of sliced chili peppers on the plate — I added them to my sandwich to up that spice level. During lunch, you get a sandwich (five choices) with a soup (I have had the aspargus and the pumpkin and liked both) or salad and an espresso or soda for rmb62.
Ssam (B1): Not everyone’s cup of barley tea but I am a fan. The lunch special offers excellent value — try the chicken sandwich in tofu “bread” (rmb38), the chicken nuggets, rolled in crushed seeds and nuts, with side salad (rmb48) or the bude chigae a.k.a. “soldier stew” (rmb38). The lunch specials are also available on the weekends.
I was lucky enough to sample items on the new Ssam menu lately and enjoyed this place’s take on dukpukki (the rice cake came crispy), the sword fish in a hot tangy sauce, and the soy bean creme brulee. The wasabi in the raw fish dish nearly vaporized my head so you might want to take that one slow. If you like the Korean pancakes known as jeon, the new menu includes potato cheese and chili squid versions.
I have also been to Tonton and to Sydney Cafe but want to return once more before writing about them. And I’ll have more on some of the cafes Flour, Luvoello and TF Coffee, and on the bar Titanium.