Bring the Family: Lau Pa Sak
Was your favorite childhood restaurant impervious to change? If so, Lau Pa Sak may be for you. The clientele is composed of regulars, including cheerful huaqiao clans on weekends. As for the décor, a patron of seven years failed to identify any change after renovations in January; the sepia-toned photos of olde Singapore, the fruit shrine, the statues of deities Guan Gong and Shou Lao were all in their usual places. Also immutable is the menu, featuring well-executed “hawker” cuisine, the Lion City’s street food that fuses Chinese, Indian and Malay influences. A neophyte would be well advised to try the curry puffs (airy dough pockets stuffed with chicken and potato), Hainan chicken (slices of cold poached chicken served with rice and dipping sauces, RMB 40), Beef Rendang (spicy Malay coconut curry, RMB 50), and Nasi Goreng (fried rice with shrimp served with a fried egg and satay skewers, RMB 40). Some kids may feel more comfortable with a ham sandwich or cheeseburger, but one pint-sized regular who recently tried curry puffs and fish ball soup for the first time, exclaimed in reference to her past ordering decisions, “What was I thinking about eating only sandwiches?”
Daily 11am-11pm. Xindong Lu (opposite Canadian Embassy), Chaoyang District (6417 0952). 朝阳区新东路加拿大使馆对面
Hire a Babysitter: High Tea at Raffles Beijing Hotel
If you think the age-old English tradition of high tea doesn’t qualify for a babysitter, it’s time to redefine your definition of date night. Or should we say date afternoon. The venerable Raffles Beijing Hotel takes you back to the heyday of the 1930s. From the moment you pull up to the arched entrance, to when you take your seat atop the original timber sprung dance floor in the dining hall, you’ll feel decidedly decadent. Once you’ve nestled into your club armchair, or at your cozy table for two, take a moment to listen to the jazz piano and admire the delicate china. Raffles does stick to some high tea staples including fluffy white bread fingers filled with egg and cucumber, but it’s the modern additions such as peppered tuna sashimi with asparagus, that make this a truly posh affair. A high tea is incomplete without repeat visits to the dessert buffet – here, again, Raffles mixes old-fashioned favorites with contemporary offerings. Yes, they have scones with jam and double cream, but they also have green tea mascarpone cream cakes and wicked chocolate fondue. Sneak out of work for a weekday high tea rendezvous, or have a truly relaxing Saturday and indulge in some free-flowing Verve Clicquot with your scones.
Mon-Fri 2.30-5.30pm (RMB 198+15% for two people), Sat 2.30-5.30pm (RMB 328+15% per person, includes free-flowing champagne). Raffles Beijing Hotel, Main Lobby, 33 Dongchang’an Jie, Dongcheng District (6526 3388 ext 4181) 东城区东长安街33号, 北京饭店莱佛士一层