One of the great joys of living in Shenzhen is the proliferation of restaurants on every corner and every street. Within walking distance of my house you’ll find well over a hundred places to eat, and there must be tens of thousands of establishments across the city. It’s not living in the UK either, food is not generally expensive though it can be – particularly in Western style establishments and in high end Chinese places.
One of the local fast food chains I like to frequent is the Muslim restaurant, there are several of them dotted around the city but the one I go to is the one that is opposite my house. When I’m feeling particularly lazy I’ll get my wife to call and have them deliver (at no extra charge) but usually I’ll just wander over and park myself there.
The reason “Muslim Restaurant” is in inverted commas in the title is because they don’t quite seem to have sussed out what Muslim means. So while there’s no haram food on the menu (it may be one of the only places in Shenzhen to have no pork whatsoever), they do serve beer which is just fine with me. The beer is cheap too at only 7 quai for a large (1 pint) bottle of Tsing Tao.
The food isn’t bad either; my favourites include potato cakes (kind of a small bun stuffed with mashed potato and onion), the spring onion bread (rather like a cross between a pancake and a Yorkshire pudding with loads of chopped spring onion inside) and kebabs. The kebabs are a particular delight in that they are spicy without being killer and are extremely good value at 4 RMB each (lamb or chicken).
They also serve some excellent lamb jaozi (dumplings) which are steaming hot and come with Chinese vinegar for dipping them in (which is also packed with garlic) at 15 RMB. And if you just want something similar to home there’s a beef in black pepper sauce and rice which actually looks like something you’d find in a Chinese takeaway in Basingstoke (or the like) and is cracking value at 15 RMB (as you won’t need anything else once you’ve eaten it).
The interior is a tad basic and reminiscent of school cafeterias but that’s true for 90% of all restaurants in China, but the menu is wide, varied and best of all comes with pictures of everything they sell so you won’t need any Chinese to order from it. The staff are friendly and welcoming too, the only downside is that they’ve now banned smoking on the premises (one of the very few places in town to continue with the ban following the Universiade games), so I have to stand outside to choke one down between courses.