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Trying a new angle

By Dong Fangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-15 07:10
The newly opened Xibei Super Roujiamo in Beijing offers a modern interpretation of the street food roujiamo. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

The humble Chinese burger has just received an upgrade.

If you're looking for a fresh take on an old Chinese favorite, a new specialist eatery in the capital is offering up its own modern interpretation of roujiamo - the humble street-food snack which originated in Shaanxi province and is also known as China's version of the hamburger.

This new roujiamo (literally meat in a bun) spot in Sanlitun bears the name of restaurant giant Xibei, a popular chain that serves good northwestern fare such as rolled oats, cold skin noodles, and beef and lamb dishes across all of its 323 outlets in 53 cities around China.

Sporting the name of Xibei Super Roujiamo above the door, this small and stylish restaurant is unabashed in its flamboyant approach to this cheap street snack, swapping its conventional stewed pork ingredients for a choice of creative fillings, presenting them in an unusually large triangular bun, and most importantly of all - ensuring they are delicious.

This is Xibei's first restaurant in Beijing to specialize in Chinese burgers, adding to the six other outlets in Shanghai and Shenzhen. They are part of the company's much bigger plans to open 100 Chinese burger fast-food outlets this year, says Chu Xueyou, vice-president of Xibei Group.

He says their locations will center around neighborhood communities, commercial areas, subway stations and airports, since "dining scenarios are becoming more pluralistic".

Boasting a turnover of 5.7 billion yuan ($850 million) in 2018, an increase of 32 percent over 2017, the 30-year-old restaurant brand aims to put a new spin on traditional Chinese snacks and local delicacies.

The eatery features down-to-earth decor and a brisk and happy atmosphere with an open kitchen that allows a clear view of the chefs as they are busy stir-frying, baking, and packaging. People concerned about hygiene related to traditional street food need not to worry here.

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