On Rosa Francese, Steamed Fish & Hip Chinese Restaurants

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Beijing boasts of old courtyards turned hip and yuppifed restaurants mostly frequented by expats rather than locals. And last Tuesday, we were invited to one on the outskirts of the city near the airport. My, never thought one would find a place like that in the middle of fruit orchards. It’s kinda cool though, not what our Chinese Clients would call ‘elegant’ (when they say elegant they actually mean “expensive-looking” or “filthy rich”) but simply cool or “China modern” it reminds me of Cool Hotel books. But the food, oh the food, is such a delight that doesn’t disappoint.

The main restaurant wasn’t open until late afternoon so we killed time drinking tea at the adjacent pastry and cafe bar. It is actually the restaurant’s pastry branch. Our interpreter ordered pink rosebud tea and A chose the cake to go with it – chocolate truffles, mocha mousse and tiramisu. The place has ‘no picture-taking allowed’ signs but I said to myself… who cares? Hehehehe not for foreigners, I guess.

Aaah… that’s the wonderful Rosa Francese tea though I don’t think the buds are French. I guess they’re the famous Chinese imperial rosebuds from Anhui Province believed to be beneficial to heart and skin.

Dinnertime and we ordered to our hearts’ delight. As shown on the 1st pic above with my son, we had clam soup with zucchini (very similar to our halaan soup but creamy instead of clear) and sauteed green leafy veggies. Of course, our favorite steamed fish.

Below is similar to our Lechong Kawali but sweet, with a hint of Chinese flavor that goes with sweet and sour sauce as condiment. Sinfully delicious!

Never complete without chao fan (fried rice)! Hao chi!

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I am not a professional cook. My only claim to having a culinary background is a short stint as my dad’s teen ‘sous chef’ in his carinderia ages ago. Dad ran small eateries since I was a young kid - serving standard ‘turo-turo’ food ranging from the likes of menudo, adobo, pritong isda, dinuguan, binagoongan, bopis, munggo, pinakbet and giniling to merienda fares like goto, ginataan, pancit bihon, halu-halo and saging con yelo.

My father, a farmer in his hometown before working his way to becoming an accountant, definitely influenced my cooking in a lot of ways than I thought. My siblings and I were raised in a backyard full of fruit trees and vegetable garden. We spent weekends and the summer breaks running around with ducks, chickens, goats and pigs. I had wonderful memories of gathering eggs, butchering chickens, selling vegetables and the sweet aroma of preserved fruits. But my love for art led me to a degree in Architecture. Just few months after getting my license, I went abroad and lived independently at age 23. Definitely no maid, no cook, and a totally different food culture. Along the way I met lots of friends and spent what seemed a lifetime learning new tricks and recipes.

Now living in Auckland, I am a work-from-home mum who juggles time between work, fun and family - in pursuit of work-life balance. No matter how busy I am, I love the idea of cooking for my family. My blog chronicles home cooking greatly influenced by life outside my home country from Southeast Asia to Beijing and Auckland. And most of the time, being busy also means easy (sometimes quick), affordable meals.

7 thoughts on “On Rosa Francese, Steamed Fish & Hip Chinese Restaurants

  1. i’ve always loved chinese food, but to have it in all its authenticity (and in this lovely “filthy rich” setting to boot) must be sooo wonderful! btw, nagulat ako sa roses, i thought they were siomai (like molo soup), hehe.

  2. Hi, Iska! That rose tea looks mighty intriguing and appears to be sooo deliciously fragrant. Oh, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like steamed fish or Chinese fried rice. :D

  3. Naku lang talaga… the buds are pretty, fragrant and yeah… so invigorating! Good for the skin pa… yun ang sabi nila. :-)
    The steamed fish… oh well I know some guys who hate “basang isda.” They just don’t know what they’re missing….

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