Welcome to episode thirty-eight of the Must Tries Series, where the people running the city’s restaurants and bars make recommendations from their menus and from other spots, too. Up this time, legendary quiz master and Wudaokou crew member Josh Lally of Lush and Pyro Pizza, a supporter of the city’s education scene for nearly a decade.
What is the must-try pizza at Pyro?
It would be a complete cop out to say “all of them”, so I won’t be that guy. I’m a pretty basic guy at heart, so I love the pepperoni, occasionally with extra pepperoni and mushrooms or black olives. And it doesn’t hurt that we use American pepperoni and Anchor mozzarella cheese from New Zealand. We also make a pretty kick-ass nacho beef pizza. But the best thing about pizza is that you can customize it how you want it. So the best pizza we have is the one that you order with exactly what you want on it!
How about cocktails at Lush?
The simple answer is: any of the epic cocktails. At 1.3 liters, they’re the best to share or to kick-start your night into high gear. The Adios MF is the go-to for most students and with nine shots of genuine alcohol (I regularly test our supply, much to my liver’s chagrin), it’s definitely the old reliable. And I’d be the world’s worst quiz master if I didn’t promote the fact that our epics are only 100 rmb on Wednesday nights when I host our award-winning (shameless, I know) quiz. It’s been called the hardest (and most fun) in Beijing.
Note: A pro tip for those of you cautious about the city’s alcohol supply. Order a shot straight up and taste it. If it tastes like nail polish remover, you’re only out a few rmb and your liver will thank you. If it tastes legit, pour the remainder of the shot into your mixed drink and make it a double! And stick to alcohols that you know the flavor of. It’s not foolproof, but it will save you from the most dubious stuff.
Next up: shooters.
Nothing better represents the student life quite like tequila. It may not be fancy, but it gets the job done. I think one of the most common exchanges is:
“Get me anything. Well, anything but tequila.”
“Here you go!”
“F U! I said no tequila!”
“Shut up and drink it!”
Let’s move back to food. What’s the must-try at Lush?
The burger. I’m quite partial to the Spicy Burger, with chipotle mayo, pepperjack cheese, and jalapeno peppers for a triple kick (as well as lettuce, tomato, and onion).
For dessert, the Mud Pie is amazing and made in-house, and has been the best-selling dessert on the menu since our inception. I could go on and on about the many little things we do to guarantee quality and authenticity, but we’re going for highlights rather than novel-length dissertations.
Outside of Lush, what are three “must tries” you recommend around Beijing?
Only three? Beijing has really grown into quite a wonderful city for the bar and restaurant scene, and is light years ahead of where it was when I first landed in February 2005. But narrowing it down to three, I think these would have to be the ones:
Only held a handful of times through the year, I’d definitely say that anyone who loves a party absolutely has to experience a Yen party. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city for the Halloween Fetish party, it’s my personal fave, and one of the largest parties in Asia.
Ganges. They’ve been around for ages, and while it’s a bit pricy, it’s just solid every time I order it. Delivery is fast, the food is good and filling (and super easy to nuke the next day), and it’s awesome when you order it on a Sunday afternoon and pick at it all day over movies on the couch.
And I love the Carnivore pizza from Gung Ho!, especially on whole wheat crust (so I can tell myself I’m being healthy with my choice) and accompanied by the Xinjiang spice pack they send along. Delicious.