Falling in love

By Dong Fangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-05-16 07:30:56

Falling in love

Sauteed crab with fried garlic and chili.  [Photo by Dong Fangyu/China Daily]

Pineapple rice is usually served as a staple at Yunnan restaurants, and the one we tasted at Xiang'ai was more satisfying and soothing, like a dessert. The glutinous rice is steamed with pineapple flesh and brown sugar for 30 minutes before being placed in a hollowed-out pineapple for another 15 minutes to create the sweet, fruity aroma. It costs 28 yuan.

The icing on the cake of this culinary extravaganza came in the form of what Xiang'ai calls "durian popsicle" (36 yuan). The creamy fresh durian flesh is mixed with milk and crushed nuts, and chilled into a popsicle. Wrapped with crispy rice, the popsicle is placed on a bed of cracker crumbs, decorated with little hami-melon balls and strawberries. It is only mildly sweet, but the strong fragrance and silky texture will surely capture you if you are a durian lover.

Xiang'ai is spread over three floors and can hold up to 200 people at a time. Private dining rooms on the second and third floors are named after species of flowers and birds. The decor gives you the impression that you are entering a fantasy land, with the backs of chairs in the shape of a flame or tree branches, or leaves - depending on your imagination.

There is a patio at ground level where you enjoy a meal or a few drinks in a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, and which is just a stone's throw from the vibrant Galleria Shopping Center near the eastern 3rd Ring Road.

If you go

In Love (Xiang'ai) 5 Shuguangxili, Chaoyang district (300m to Sanyuanqiao subway)

Lunch: 11:00 am-3:00 pm; dinner: 5:00-10:00 pm

Average cost per person: 200 yuan


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