From the small antique cafes in the Drum Tower District to the modern drive-thrus at McDonalds on Pinnacle Avenue, Beijing’s dining industry is undeniably varied. Nevertheless, new entrants are constantly striving for their share in the growing restaurant market. From the creators of Modo Urban Deli and Mosto come Moka Bros. This new establishment has taken an innovative concept of “fast, western food” and kneaded it into a trendsetting, homey café. This fusion café has finely molded two traditional concepts of dining and has given the clichéd term "fast food" a whole new meaning: healthy.
Just as your school cafeteria may emphasize a healthy component in your daily lunch menus, Moka Bro’s also promotes the concept of “Eat well. Feel good”. As an experienced connoisseur, Head Chef Daniel from Moka Bro’s shares his expertise through his carefully constructed dishes available at the restaurant. He acknowledges that “leading a healthier lifestyle means something different to everyone,” so the incentive to open MOKA wasto help customers achieve a balanced diet “that brings tastes, variety and freshness […] so [that]MOKA is not about diet food. It is about the fresh produce that we craft carefully upon order, without any additives nor preservatives, without any deep-frying and with reduced salt & sugar.”
What was the incentive to emphasize heathin Moka Bro’s? The head restaurant manager, Anna Lih Yip, shared the story behind the establishment of Moka Bro’s. Before the café had opened, she had surveyed young Beijingers at Sanlitun regarding their preference for healthy food.
“Most people answered that healthy food was western food; however, the majority tended to be in a hurry so most were inclined to eating fast food—McDonalds.” –Anna Lih Yip.
Though Moka Bros is secluded away from the bustling crowd in the compact square inside Nali Patio in Sanlitun, the interior of the café will remind customers of a chic yet cozy living room up in the Upper East Side. The austere yet eye-pleasing decoration allows customers to take a break from their busy lives and savor the food. The simplistic beauty of this restaurant embraces the wholesomeness of their ingredients. During the daytime, the restaurant buzzes with vibrant energy as young foreigners in theirs 20s to mid 30s sit down to enjoy their meal. As happy hour (4-7pm) approaches, the lights dim and the sound of smooth jazz fills the air.
Most importantly, Moka Bros offers countless mouth-watering dishes. From its signature “power bowls”—a “has it all” magical bowl with all the essential nutrients for your body — to the warm and savory crepes and wraps, the café offers customers a variety of well-balanced meals.As the chef’s recommendation, the “power bowl” is a definite must-try dish at Moka Bros. The wholesome ingredients in the bowl not only ensure the quality of their generous portions and components (protein-packed quinoa, creamy avocado, refreshing house-made salsa and fragrant red rice), but they also come with the promise of an energetic and healthy day. This generous bowl of goodness is similar to a healthier version of the ever-popular burrito bowl. “It is not just normal salad”, Yip explains, “[it’s] not too common, and definitely doesn’t taste too healthy”.
And to top off the meal, the café also provides small dessert delights like powder-sugared lemon squares, soft meringues and grilled apple waffles. With a splash of cinnamon Dulce de Leche over the house-churned vanilla bean ice cream, the signature crispy apple waffles will bombard your gustatory senses like fireworks.The sweetness is not at all cloying,but it’s just right to satisfy your sweet tooth.This impeccable balance can end any night on a perfect note.
With a unique identity and plethora of culinary delights, Moka Bros pleases with its unparalleled ambiance and undeniably healthy food. It’s just a matter of time before this young contemporary diner becomes buzzing with customers, so visit Moka Bros now!
This article originally appeared in the April 20143 issue of UNIT-E. It was written by Wendy Yu and Jennifer Chung, students at the International School of Beijing.
UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
Photo courtesy of UNIT-E