Archive for food

Tibetan Restaurant

Hohhot has been good to me the last two days. (last week, not so much!) I’ve had good experiences at new places and hope you’ll enjoy these places too!

 I’ll break them in to separate posts so they’re easier to search.

The subject of today’s post:

Zhuo Ma Tibetan Restaurant

卓玛臧餐吧

成吉思汗大街阳光诺卡商业街西侧107号

 

I’ve passed this restaurant multiple times when I’m in the vacinity but never had an opportunity to try it until Friday. I think part of my hesitation about not going before was also not wanting to be disappointed. My very first trip to China was spent in Tibetan areas and I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Years ago there was another Tibetan restaurant near the square but it was disappointing not only in service, availability of menu items, but also in that it was owned and staffed by Mongolians. I like Mongolians too, but one would hope Tibetans would run a better Tibetan restaurant than Mongolians. 

Anyway, the place above was fantastic. It’s decor makes you feel like you’ve left Hohhot for Amdo lands. The staff, cooks, owners are Amdo Tibetan, and the food was delicious. 

We ordered three dishes. All were so good. 

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The left is some kind of bing 饼 with sweet cream/cheese like filling. The middle dish is called “Nepal Tofu” and the sauce was sort of like an Indian curry sauce. The dish on the right…..that, my friends, is a very close substitute for a chile relleno. It’s green chile peppers stuffed with seasoned yak meat and smothered in a tasty sauce. Pretend it’s enchilada sauce and your taste buds can be back in the southwest United States 🙂

They also have more traditional, standard Tibetan cuisine like tsampa and milk tea but we wanted to try some of the more unique dishes. 

I didn’t get pictures of the menu or the place itself, but below is the business card so you can stop in yourself.

 webwxgetmsgimg (77) Tibetan restaurant in Hohhot

The address is on the business card and written in Chinese above. It’s north of gong da, south of Genghis Khan Road, and east of Zhe Li Mu Road. 

cook like a local: hua juan(r)

A friend shared these handy photos and recipes on her wechat today and gave permission to share them. Maybe you’d like to try to make this Chinese classic?

They are a steamed bun shaped like flowers. 

Here are your instructions:

 

 Three full bowls of flour

 use one spoon of yeast and warm water until a soft dough is formed

cover with plastic wrap 

wait about 30 minutes and dough should look like the above picture

roll out the dough and spread butter on top 

roll up the dough and cut into triangles

They should look like this

 

turn the pieces over so the widest part is towards the bottom

press down the middle with a chopstick to make the flower-shaped pattern

From the bottom, pinch the middle together

now it looks like this

Put on a steaming tray for 15 minutes.
Enjoy the delicious results!

 

Instructions in Chinese:

和大家分享一下做黄油花卷全部过程

️~~满满的三碗白面
️~~面里放一勺安琪,用温水或面(软)
️~~最后用保鲜膜包上
️~~等待30分钟后拿出来
️~~擀面皮、刷黄油后卷起来
️~~卷好的面切成三角形
️~~切的不要太大
️~~切好的面宽的下面窄的上面摆放
️~~正中间用筷子按压
🔟~~从后面捏一下
️~捏好后花卷的造型就出来了
️~上锅蒸15分钟
️~美味的花卷出炉咯

Hohhot songs

Well friends, if you’ve wanted to increase your repertoire of songs to sing at Chinese banquets or KTV that will make your local friends swoon, this is one to try out! The post below is dated yesterday and there’s a song embedded in the wechat link. You can scroll down to read the lyrics (Chinese only) as it plays.

I’ll be honest, I don’t love the guy’s voice, and the song, while nostalgic, takes “cheesy” to a whole other level. That said, it mentions all the classic Hohhot icons and it would still win you friends to learn it 🙂

There are some great photos in the post, worth a scroll through even if you don’t listen to the whole song.

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If the page doesn’t display correctly try this link.

If you’re interested in another Hohhot song, you can look up “Hohhot Night” 呼和浩特的夜晚. It’s available on xiaomi music and I’m assuming any Chinese music player app. I haven’t found the song above on player apps yet.

Also, after listening to both songs it seems there a list of things that must be included when writing a song about Hohhot. Here are some of them.

  • drinking alcohol
  • the grasslands
  • chi le chuan
  • the sky
  • evenings
  • romance (even better if it didn’t quite pan out)
  • ding xiang (lilac trees)
  • zhong shan lu, xin hua square, or other famous location
  • bei zi, hot pot, or other famous food. 

What else needs to be included to write a hit song about Hohhot? Leave your suggestions in the comments. Bonus points if you actually write song lyrics and leave them for us!

iMoment Coffee Shop

If you still haven’t found your perfect hang out, we’re happy to introduce iMoment Coffee Shop. Connect with them on wechat using this QRcode.

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For the coffee lover, finding a nice coffee shop must be the first thing you do in Hohhot! By recommendation we found iMoment Cafe, a mysterious cafe hiding in an office building.

Why is it called iMoment Cafe?

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First, the English letter “i” shares the similar pronunciation with the word “love” in Chinese. You can tell the founder (a Taiwanese girl who speaks great English) loves coffee, wants everyone to enjoy their moment here in iMoment.

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Second, iMoment Cafe is a reminder that people need to drink the premium specialty coffee. It’s not just a regular commodity, they treat every cup of coffee seriously. I am sure iMoment Cafe has high standard in its coffee. They use LOVERAMICS’s cups for the coffee, created using state of the art equipment by Lamarzocco and Victoria Arduino’s Mythos.

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They also offer a selection of classic desserts to go with your morning coffee.

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The other part of menu was equally impressive, king size panini with fresh garden vegetables, cuttlefish ink and other healthy ingredients on the dishes. Apart from the coffee, the food is definitely worthy trying.

iMoment Hohhot

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They claim they are the furthest shop on Hohhot’s map of specialty coffee, but it’s definitely worth finding. From the warmth of the Taiwanese baristas to the food and drinks, it’s a spot to go! (and actually it’s not far at all )

Address:
內蒙古呼和浩特市賽罕區騰飛路51號金隅時代城(金隅朗峰)15號樓C座4樓
4th Floor,No.15 Jinyushidaicheng,Chilechuan Avenue

 

photos by Hilary Lee photography, used with permission

Da Yao Jia Bing

If you’ve lived in Hohhot any length of time and haven’t had a Da Yao yet, you haven’t really lived in Hohhot. If Hohhot had an official drink, I’m pretty sure this would be it. It’s a soda produced and bottled right here in HET. There’s the standard flavor, which according to my husband tastes like carbonated bubble gum and there’s a citrus-one. I’ve only ever seen bottles, but there’s photographic evidence below that cans also exist.

photo from Da Yao Jia Bing wechat account

photo from Da Yao Jia Bing wechat account

What I didn’t know until last week is that you can follow da yao on wechat. The link below is from their public wechat account which is a compilation of fan-submitted photos.

Take a look at it here.

Here’s what I need to know from you in the comment section:

Da Yao: love it or hate it?

Da Yao: describe the taste in your own words.

What is the best meal to pair with a bottle of Da Yao?

Locally Roasted Coffee!

If you love making a great cup of coffee at home, Harvest Coffee is selling high quality imported coffee beans, roasted and packaged right here in Hohhot! Below are the types available for September and October! The owner speaks great English so don’t worry about a communication barrier.

Harvest Coffee Roasters also teach training classes to locals about how to make a good cup of coffee at home and sell equipment and implements.

 

You can order by phone or wechat (QR on image below).

 

Harvest Coffee

Harvest Coffee, Hohhot

 

Sorry, I know the image isn’t super clear, if you need the pdf, add my wechat and I’ll send it to you:  hohhotjill

 

14 years in (and out of) Hohhot

 

Early September marks the anniversary of my first arrival to Hohhot in 2002. Although I haven’t been here continuously, coming in and out for 14 years I’ve gotten to see some pretty amazing changes in the city. I posted articles in the past from news sources about some of the changes, but this post is my own reflections on what has changed in the Blue City since I first arrived.

Airport Arrival

When I arrived in 2002 the current airport wasn’t in existence yet (the old HET was a few hundred meters to the east of the current location) and the road (Xin Hua) into Hohhot proper wasn’t paved.

Western Food and amenities

There were 4-6 locations of KFC, two locations of Dairy Queen and that was the extent of international establishments. The newest big “thing” was the mall that’s now called Kai De, although it had a different name then.

There was, surprisingly, a decent sit-down Western restaurant that could rival, and arguably upstage, Hohhot’s current Western restaurants.

Currently Kai De mall, the newest large shopping center at that time.

Currently Kai De mall, the newest large shopping center at that time.

Communication

I didn’t have a cell phone. Some foreigners and very few locals I knew did, but they weren’t a necessity. Every convenience store had a red public use phone one could use for a few mao.

This situation meant that one had to know the full Chinese name of one’s local friends because you weren’t calling them directly. The mother, father, roommate, etc might answer the phone and one had to be able to ask for Wang Shao Hong (or whomever).

I also think this made us (foreigners) learn the city better since we had to be able to get to a location without the aid of being able to call multiple times along the way when going to meet someone.

Transportation

EVERYONE with the exception of professional drivers and government officials rode a bicycle. I didn’t even know anyone who owned an electric bike until 2006 and didn’t know anyone who owned a car until 2007. (And I wasn’t a hermit who sat inside and didn’t know people).

The only vehicle on the road were taxis, public buses, deliver vans, and black government cars….and LOTS of bikes. Lots and lots of bikes.

Also, the size of the city was much smaller. The second ring road was an anticipated enigma much like the subway now and places that are now six lane roads were dirt alleys then.

My first bike, purchased on day two or three of my arrival in Hohhot. This one was in my possession less than 36 hours before the transfer of ownership to bike thieves. (Some things never change!)

My first bike, purchased on day two or three of my arrival in Hohhot. This one was in my possession less than 36 hours before the transfer of ownership to bike thieves. (Some things never change!)

Intersection near Manduhai Park circa 2003

Intersection near Manduhai Park circa 2003

Standard of living

Perhaps the biggest change, though, is the standard of living in the average person’s residence. Housing in Hohhot has come a LONG way in 14 years. For the first few years I lived here, one would have to inquire if a home had hot water all the time, or just the standard two days per week. The public water service provided heated water through the pipes at set times, twice per week, and landlords were only just becoming willing to fork over money for a hot water heater if one wanted hot water all the time.

I only knew of one complex of “high rise” apartments (I think it’s called the Metropolitan, west on Da Xue Lu). Otherwise, most lived in 4 or 6 story walk-ups and some in ping fangs.

Not an uncommon sight in 2002

Not an uncommon sight in 2002

Many homes still had plain concrete floors and interior design wasn’t a thing.

BUT, we’re all paying for those upgrades in our rent now. The first two bedroom house I rented was 450 RMB/month. The second one, 4-5 years later was 600 or 700. Even in 2007 I only knew 1-2 people (families with kids) who were paying more than 1000/month.

Interesting enough, though, it was much more common to be invited to someone’s home for a meal, instead of being invited out to eat. My guess is that economics is the reason for this. Meals could be prepared at home much more affordably than eating at a restaurant, which was still a luxury for many.

Entertainment

There was roller skating, bowling at the Xin Cheng, and KTV was big. The squares, particularly Xin Hua, had lots of cool things it doesn’t have now….a camel to ride on and take a photo with, and cars like these, below. They weren’t bumper cars and they weren’t for kids. Just small electric cars for adults to drive around the square.

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Other old photos

Chang Le Gong

Chang Le Gong and the New York New York Club used to be located in the same building.

I've heard that this was the tallest building in Hohhot until the late 80s or early 90s.

I’ve heard that this was the tallest building in Hohhot until the late 80s or early 90s.

12th Annual Inner Mongolia Food Expo

April 15-17 the Inner Mongolia International Exhibition Center is holding the 12th Annual Inner Mongolia Food Exhibition.

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You can see more about the event here and here.

A few people asked in the wechat groups about the time of day it closes each day, but I couldn’t find that information on any of the sites.

And you can find all the events happening at the International Exhibition Center here.

And here is a map of where the center is.

international exhibition center

Papa John’s

The opening of a Papa John’s in Hohhot was news to me. Did you know about it already? Are you excited or indifferent? leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.
The dine-in restaurant is open, but delivery service hasn’t started yet.

Location is the east corner of Zhong Shan Lu and Xilingol Road. (south of the Da Tian hotel, east of Hailiang)
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