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Spoiled for choice

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-17 07:56


Spoiled for choice

At Nooxo, a Hulk smoothie bowl is made from dried banana, house-made granola and black and white sesame seeds.[Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

A new food hall in Beijing combines pop-ups, food artisans and a quest for variety to give visitors plenty to choose from, Mike Peters reports.

Under the long roof of this former Beijing factory you can find grilled grass-fed lamb. French-style artisan cheese. American-style barbecued ribs that smell like heaven. Elegant pastries. Beer and wine. Picture-perfect vegetarian meals in a bowl.

But Hsu Li is quick to shake his head when someone suggests that Yu Food and Lifestyle is a "food court".

"That's what you have in the basement of a mall," he says, "where the cheap fast-food is."

The co-founder and general manager of Yu, which now houses 22 small kitchens, says it's best described as a "food hall" of great variety.

The spaces are rented out to entrepreneurs who have a pop-up concept, he says, but people have different reasons for setting up shop here. The facility is also known as "The Crib", and while some vendors will take advantage of the shared roof, space and delivery platform to eventually launch a free-standing shop elsewhere, others are looking for something more long-term than the usual pop-up. Longtime Beijing cheesemaker Liu Yang liked the idea of having a retail space where he could engage customers, and so did the team at Mengba Warriors-a lamb wholesale operation in Inner Mongolia. A few meters away is Yaksa Thai, one of the busiest shops in the hall, which is run by a group that previously worked in a popular small Thai restaurant group and decided to strike out on their own.

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