CLICK ON THE MAIN PHOTO ABOVE TO VIEW CAPTIONS IN GALLERY FORMAT
Image 1: Calligraphy by Pu Jie, the younger brother of the last emperor of China. These three characters directly translate to Li Family Cuisine.
Image 3: Full legend here, but long story short, Family Li attracted enormous attention after winning a culinary competition among 2800 candidates from all over China using secret recipes retrieved from Forbidden City by their great-grandfather.
Image 4: Strongly suggested by many supporters, they cleaned up their home and started serving one table each night. Initially, diners had to bring their own chopsticks and napkins.
Image 5: This place is really a home rather than a restaurant. This is the main hallway of their home. The environment is not pleasant, but authentic.
Image 6: With visitors like Bill Gates, Mohammed Ali, Jackie Chan, and many ambassadors, Li was able to expand to a few more rooms with government contributions. Actually, this type of Speakeasy (home-based cuisine - 私房菜), is quite popular in recent years.
Image 7: It makes sense that they served the same menu as their Shanghai branch, but it was shocking that they even charged the same price for this odd location, no décor, unacceptable lavatory, and pretty much no service at all! The menu is also similar to Li's Imperial.
Image 8: They have 18 set menus ranging from ¥230 to ¥2000. They are all similar. The cheapest one contains 20+ items already. The expensive version includes delicacies like lobster, sea cucumber, bird's nest, shark fin, and abalone!
Image 9: In Chinese culture, most people go to a restaurant simply to eat, not to enjoy. So within 3min, our server already dumped 8 dishes on our table without any explanation!
Also, as you can see, the lightin was extremely bad here!
Image 10: We told her to slow down, but she came back with a few more items. This is the experience we had every night in China. They love to fill up customer's table!
Image 11: Fried beancake / Mung bean paste
Mixed vegetable / Pickled cucumber
Image 12: Beijing smoked pork / Green bean paste with pork
Mustard poached Chinese cabbage / Fried beef with chili
Fried pork / Lotus root box
Sweet and sour pork ribs
Deep fried fresh scallops
Image 16: We had a choice of shark's fin or abalone for the ¥1000 menu. This is a Chinese delicacy: Well-stewed Superior Shark's fins. Since Ming Dynasty, shark's fin symbolizes wealth.
Image 17: Shark's fin soup is more about the fin texture and the broth. The fin itself had little taste.
The other choice of delicacy - Braised dried abalone imported from Japan
Another expensive Chinese delicacy – bird’s nest soup. It was a tiny bowl with only some nest at the bottom.
Bird's nest has a subtle egg-white like flavour.
Lobster with Beijing flavour
Within the next 3min, they started loading 5 more dishes and desserts on our table again!
Eggplant in soya sauce
Sautéed Mandarin fish. This piece of fish was perfectly cooked with all bones removed. Brilliant!
We were quite full at this point but still we had a few slices of Peking Duck with rice pancakes.
Winter melon soup
Image 27: Really don't get this - we still have NOT started eatin our fish, nor the soup, nor the duck, but they already placed all the desserts on our table!!
Image 28: Baked fresh milk
Made with fermented milk, rice wine, and vinegar, then baked in an oven and refrigerated overnight. The combination of wine and fermented milk was bad.
Image 29: "Three non-stick" (三不黏)
A well-known sweet for emperor for its golden yellow colour made with yolk. It requires beatin the mixture 600 times in a wok with certain temperature so that it results in a semi solid "al-dente" custard without sticking to the plate, chopsticks, or teeth!
Image 30: After this experience, we definitely prefer a good environment when enjoying good food. Just come here for the cheapest menu if you really want to experience dining at Li's original home. Save your money for the elaborate menu at Li's Imperial or Shanghai branch.