Hot dogs and Cocktail

In the heart of one of the old worker districts of Copenhagen, the now trendy Vesterbro area in walking distance from the central square and the main railway station you can find Foderbrættet, which is a nice place to grab a drink and a fast lunch – or even dinner.

When first I heard of the combination of hot dogs and cocktails I immediately thought of one of my favorite speakeasy bars in New York City – Please Don’t Tell – tucked away behind a secret entrance in Crif Dogs on E 8th street. Foderbrættet is not a speakeasy and also not primarily a cocktail bar, but the cocktails on the menu are well made and the hot dogs are elevated to a higher level compared to what you usually find around the city, making this a very nice pitstop on Vesterbrogade. They have a variety of sausages including pork and lamb, that have a very nice meaty texture as well as being flavourful. This provides a solid base for the different less traditional gourmet hot dogs in the menu, and the combination of Infected mushroom in the company of a Dark ‘n Stormy (see picture above) seemed to work very well together. Hot dogs and cocktail – a great combination (see also Harry’s New York Bar in Paris).

 

Lost in Beijing

I have waited a bit to write this post, but one of my absolut favorit places to dine in Beijing is Lost Heaven near the Forbidden City in the south-east corner of Tiananmen Square, located in the area I believe housed the US embassy until 1949. Lost Heaven have two restaurants in Shanghai, and the one in Beijing, and serve Yunnan cuisine (which is one of my absolute favorite areas for food in China).

Usually, I complain that most Chinese food served in Europe has been modified to an extend where it rarely is possible to link it back to its origin, and as there is so much delicious Chinese food, this is often a crime. The Yunnan food at Lost Heaven seem to have been modified for a European pallet, however, this must be the exception that confirms the rule. Especially, the Lijiang Stir Fried Beef, Shrimp Spring Rolls, and Samosa are extraordinarily good – and never forget to order the Copper Plate Pot Sticker Dumplings, that are absolutely brilliant. Finally, as an added bonus they serve splendid cocktails at Lost Heaven as well. The staff varies slightly and some are better trained than others if you want to move outside the menu, nevertheless, if you stick to the cocktail list you won’t go wrong. So order your dumplings and a Yunnan Mule, and for dessert go for the Paperback Daiquiri.

Lunch near Zhong Guan Cun Dong Lu

I often visit Beijing to teach on the Neuroscience and Neuroimaging programme at the Sino-Danish Center of Education and Research, and in the last few years the classes have been taught at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Teaching Building in the Zhongguancun campus. During this time I have visited several of the restaurants in the area and although these often does not look particularly fancy there are a number of great places to have dinner or grab a quick lunch. Unfortunately, my Chinese is too rusty to decipher the names so I have marked them on the maps below including a picture of the main entrance.

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The muslim restaurant serves a variation of tradition Chinese dishes, with an emphasis on lamb, meat skewers, and naturally, no pork. However, this is an amazing restaurant, and probably my favorite spot for lunch near the CAS campus. Here one of the dishes that is an absolute must, is one of the two bread and meat dishes (either meat and bread fried together, or served on top of a round bread looking a bit like a pizza with serious topping). Also, the noodles are very good, which like most places in China are freshly made. However, if this is bought as a shared dish it is worth considering getting the sliced noodle variation over the pulled noodles. Both types are amazing, but as the length of the noodle is an omen for life span the pulled noodles can be somewhat of a challenge to serve with chopsticks.

The Yunnan restaurant serves dishes from the southern parts of China, and this is one of my preferred regions in the Chinese kitchen. Yunnan is a province neighbouring Burma and Laos, which seem to be a large influence on this region. Favouring ingredients like lime, mint, and chilies, the dishes have a lightness compared to many more northern specialties. Any order should include the chicken and lime dish as well as the Yunnan version of a hash browns, both of which are brilliant, and for the more adventurous it is also possible to order roasted bees and larvae. Finally, they also brew a nice lime and mint drink which is not only very good, but also works quite well to quell the heat if you get a bit too much chilli.

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On the corner on the other side of Zhongguancun dong lu along the alley towards the Park Plaza hotel there is also a very nice chinese restaurant, that serve traditional dishes like the sweet and sour pork, fried beef and onions in an iron skillet (lower left picture), as well as the pork variation of the Peking Duck (also in the picture).

Notes from a foodie

In 2011 I visited Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra to participate in what turned out to be a very nice course on academic leadership and university governance. Here I meet some excellent people, loads of weird animals, and a very interesting food scene with east asien influence. Not many days after my arrival I encountered the term foodie for the first time – as I have keen a non-research related interest in good food and drinks. Since then I my travels takes me to a number of different places where I enjoy discovering different restaurants and cool places to hang out. So I am not a professional critique, but over the years I have grown confident that my recommendations are worthwhile, so perhaps you the reader, will enjoy some of my favourite places around the world as well. I plan to group the different posts with tags for the city and the type of foodie related experience for easy access.

I could also have started this journey in my home city of Copenhagen where I at some point was encouraged to research in the elusive qualia, but as my research have yet to move into this area Canberra will be my starting point, and the best lunch restaurant near campus has to be the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe, at 35 Childers Street. The place looks like any other Chinese restaurant, but it serves up great soup dumplings, and perhaps I am biased in the sense that I rarely find places that serve good dumplings in Europe where Chinese cuisine often is as far from home in distance as it is in content. However, the dumplings at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe actually takes me back to 2010 where I tasted some amazing soup dumplings in the old city of center of Shanghai. Often the steamed dumpling can have a slightly bland taste which is why I think many prefer the fried variations, but stock inside the dough before steaming is really a stroke of genius.

So if you are visiting ANU consider having lunch or dinner at the Shanghai Dumpling Cafe.