by Stan Aron (FR), with Will Philipps (UK)
An Englishman and a Frenchman walk into a fish and chips bar in Beijing.
“Great – they have burgers!” says our Frenchman (OK, French-American, we admit), looking at the three-item menu displayed on panels above the counter. “You what?” his Anglo-Saxon neighbor replies. “We came here to try the fish supper, mate.”
Don’t expect a three-course meal with wine at this diminutive Houhai fish and chips joint. (It is British – c’est la vie.) The mains are simply battered fish, a burger, fried chicken, and a short list of sides: onion rings, mushy peas and fries – sorry, make that ‘chips’.
Another amusing detail: all prices are displayed in pounds sterling above the yuan amount. The ‘classic meal’ (read: fish and chips) will set you back a modest £4.90 (RMB49) while the burger and fried chicken range from £2.50 (RMB25) to £3.50 (RMB35) depending on the size of the portion. “My wife often goes to London, so she uses the pounds during her trips there,” the Chinese owner jokes. (NB: euros not accepted.)
This might be a Chinese-owned restaurant, but, as That’s Beijing’s resident English editor testifies, it’s the real deal. (“Bit stingy with the peas, but proper malt vinegar on the chips is a plus.”) Real deal or not, however, our Frenchman has no love for fish and chips. “Where’s the ketchup for my fries?” he asks, noticing the only condiment is the vinegar. Ketchup and mayonnaise are duly supplied.
If you’re looking for this staple of British gastronomy, Fish & Chips is the place for you. If you get forcibly dragged here by UK-born friends, rest assured: the burger and chicken offer varying takes on cholesterol-rich, greasy fast food served from paper packaging.
See a listing for Fish and Chip
Read more Beijing Restaurant Reviews
Photo by Stan Aron