Asiniuniu is a Yi minority themed restaurant in Sanlitun whose vibrant decor is rivaled only by its equally colorful dishes. That combination will wow curious youngsters, and satisfy parents who are hankering for unique eats. Quality meats, fresh vegetables, and other ingredients are flown in from Sichuan province’s Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture, (which the majority of Yi people call home), ensuring that the dishes are authentic.
Like most Chinese restaurants, there’s no kids menu on offer, but children will enjoy the nourishing, warm, slightly sweet huili chuanfu yu pian (RMB 98), a golden yellow rice porridge rounded out with slivers of boneless fresh fish. It comes in a bowl big enough to serve four hungry patrons, and is soft enough to practically melt in the mouth. Also good for little ones are the deeply flavorful pork ribs, meizhi xiaopai (RMB 58) and fluffy stir fried eggs baishenjun chao tujidan (RMB 68). No kids’ meal is complete without getting some vegetables in, which come in the form of suchao dajiao jungu (RMB 38), a flavorful mix of mushrooms, peppers, and broccoli.
Today’s burgeoning food critic, is Angelina Germain (age 6), who is a student at House of Knowledge International School and Kindergarten. Angelina is not acquainted with Asiniuniu’s lesser-known style of Yi cuisine, and normally likes plain fare. She cites fried noodles and rice as her favorite Middle Kingdom dishes; her other favorites include spaghetti and pizza. However, she deftly snatches up some slices of Asiniuniu’s reddish, fatty lawei pinpan pork (RMB 68) with her chopsticks, declaring it: “Yummy, but spicy.” She also gobbles down a few spoonfuls of the aforementioned sunny rice porridge, deciding that it is “Also yummy and a little bit sweet,” waving her hands enthusiastically while describing it.
Her parents, Patrick and Christina Germain (from Canada and Germany respectively) also enjoy the porridge, and are equally thoughtful while tasting it. Christina says: “It’s a bit familiar, almost like something I’d eat back in Germany.” Then she pauses, and chuckles before correcting herself: it actually tastes like something she would have eaten in Thailand.
Such momentary mix-ups are understandable, the Germain family spent years living in Bangkok, before relocating to Beijing. Indeed, it’s hard to picture a more globetrotting family, hence Angelina’s eagerness to try unfamiliar foods. And while she was up for sampling everything, she wasn’t immediately impressed by each and every dish. The yijia qiaobing flatbread, for instance, was bitter enough make her grimace, until we realized it should be dunked in the accompanying bowl of honey, making it suddenly quite tasty, which provoked further
family laughter. Moments of exploration and fun like these make
Asiniuniu a perfect venue for well-traveled expat clans like the
Germains; not only satisfying their appetites but also their curiosities.
Bathrooms are clean and tidy, with western toilets, toilet tissue, and soap. While the venue lacks play areas, it compensates with colorful murals depicting Yi Minority festivals, along with a gift shop that sells traditional earrings, hand crafted tableware, and more, all of which will intrigue older children. Better still is the daily performance at 7.30pm, which feature the Yi people’s traditional music and dance.
Daily 11am-10pm. Bldg. 66, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (5712 7788) 工体北路4号院66幢机电学院
This article originally appeared on page 26-27 of the beijingkids February 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email email@example.com