First trip back to Beijing

Sichuan fandian, or da hongmen 大红门 – big red glossy door as I called it because I was too young to pronounce sichuan fandian, serves Sichuan cuisine that was frequented by Deng Xiaoping. In theory, we wouldn’t be hob bobbing with such notable at all. But during Mao’s reign, Mr. Deng was mostly either out of favor on the sideline, or worst sent to jail.

Since its founding in 1959, we dined there often, because of its proximity to our home at Canzheng Hutong, and availability: not many selections of restaurants.

Nainai was not found of spicy food and Big Red Door by no mean was able to produce edible dishes in today’s standard. Actually Nainai’s cook was far superior, from cutting, presentation and taste. But back then, it was one of the best in Beijing, head and shoulder with Moscow Restaurant by the Zoo. Most importantly, they served liquor there, wuliangye no less: 2 oz per diner. New born counted. So Yeye and Nainai loved going here with me, sometimes Mom too.  They’d enjoy their share of 2 oz there and take my share and or Mom’s share home.

Now it has few more locations.  The dishes are nice.  Quanju De had also renovated and updated, the food is great.  Before, it was a dump – duck bones were all over the floor.  Yuckyy!

This picture was taken at Sichuan Fandian on Feb 6, 1982, my first trip back home after I left Beijing in 1979. Naturally we went there again to have a dinner, still due to proximity and availability. We endured lousy food, horrible service and fleeting service hours, like two hours for lunch, 12:00 – 2:00pm, and 6:00pm – 8:30pm for dinner each day (or something like that).


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