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BACK FOR MORE Lan Na Thai Mon-Sun noon-2.30pm, Sun-Thu 5.30-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 5.30-11pm. 26 Dongcaoyuan (inside Face hotel), Gongti Nanlu, Chaoyang District (8516 2698) 朝阳区工体南路东草园26号 500m northwest of Dongdaqiao station (Line 6)


t can be hard for restaurants to attract a loyal following in Beijing. With shiny new kitchens opening at the rate of cars registering on Beijing roads, diners munch on the servings from one venue while contemplating which menu to open next. Face is, by Beijing standards, one of the old-timers, here since 2006 – before the Olympics, before the Village (now Taikoo Li), and when some of the fiercest competition came from the likes of Sanlitun’s then-seedy backstreets. We recently made another visit to Lan Na Thai at Face to see how things were going, choosing their new hot pot (RMB 200-400 per person). What is a Thai hot pot and would it be any different from the usual bubbling cauldrons of chili on Gui Jie? It was. From start to finish it was a much more formal and serene experience, being surrounded by dark wooden furniture and Thai decorations, and soundtracked by soft music rather than the usual hot pot cacophony and hollers for a fuwuyuan. The menu is short and simple. Choose a broth – the spicy tom yam goong or crab, and then the style of platter – seafood, beef or vegetable – or one of the sets if you want a bit of everything, which we did. Broth came in individual pots and had a delicate assembly of flavors and aromas, with whole pieces of crab shell adding to the complexity. Two sauces, one sweet and one spicy, were served ceremoniously from stone pots by elegant servers, who then brought out the beautifullypresented platters of ingredients, which for us was thinly sliced beef, vegetables, and seafood, including mussels, hairy crab, abalone, conch, scallops and shrimp. It’s not the heartiest of hot pots – a steak-and-twoveg lover might be left wanting – but it should please those who prefer a healthier, carb-free dinner. And with B e i j i n g’s te m p e r a t u re s n ow p l u m m e t i n g, i t s body-warming flavors are enough of a reason to revisit Face this winter. Shannon Aitken


December 2013

the Beijinger December 2013  
the Beijinger December 2013  

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