When I contacted chef Jun Trinh mid-afternoon today about the poutine status at 4corners, he sent an SMS about being “out in the boonies, trying to get some ingredients at a farm.” He also said the cheese curds he’d made earlier that week for the poutine needed to be changed and he would have something good in a few hours.
It isn’t easy or cheap to make cheese curds in Beijing, Trinh later explained. He ended up sourcing the milk from a farm outside Beijing and getting rennet from local cheese makers Le Fromager de Pekin. It took 20 litres of that milk just to make two kilos of cheese curds. And did those cheese curds, tasted on their own, pass the squeak test? That is, did they literally squeak a bit when chewed? Yes, they did! Trinh said they would be even better with a few more hours of work.
We wanted to do a more important taste test: those cheese curds with gravy and fries a.k.a. poutine. Given the difficulty of making cheese curds, my expectations were modest and Trinh’s dish easily surpassed them. My fellow co-tasters — a Chinese, an American and a Canadian — all gave the dish their nod of approval and I suggested Trinh add a straw so we could suck up the leftover gravy. In any case, I’ll add some black pepper next time, simply because that’s how I like mine, but this was good stuff.
Get a bowl of poutine this Saturday and Sunday for rmb6o or with a bottle of Moosehead for rmb88. Additional Mooseheads are rmb35.
(I know that photo isn’t the greatest but it does suggest the sloppy mess that is poutine.)