Eating in Beijing

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Sunshine Kitchen

The Chinese, especially the Cantonese, believe long-simmered soups with natural ingredients help boost our health.

Such soups are believed to be nutritious, easily digested and the perfect anecdote for Beijing's dry, cold winters.

Sunshine Kitchen is a reasonably priced Cantonese restaurant offering soups simmered with natural and original flavors for four hours. The soups are boiled with purified water, and there are no additives in the soups - not even salt. But tables are topped with saltshakers for those who want to add a dash to their broths. More than 10 soup varieties are available from 12 yuan a bowl.

Free-range chicken and snail soup with scallops and mushrooms is said to help the stomach and intestines, and prevent cancer and aging. Pork ribs with green and red carrot soup moisturizes a dry mouth and throat.

And pork lungs boiled with fruit and tender cabbage is said to strengthen the lungs and help beat back nagging coughs.

In addition to soups, the restaurant also functions as a Hong Kong-styled cafe, with milk tea, coffee, prawn wonton noodles and Cantonese small fries.

A braised pigeon costs just 19.8 yuan. There are the popular, traditional dishes, such as sauted beef fillet with spring onion, beef and carrot chops, and Cantonese steamed rice with sausage in terrines. Average cost is 60 yuan per person.

East of Jinbao Dasha, 21 Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng district. 50 m east of C exit, Dengshikou subway station. 6528-2121.

Lotus Thai

Lotus Thai's four Beijing branches are providing tasty Thai food in very different settings.

The eatery near the ice rink at China World Shopping Mall has become a canteen for many people working in the building.

Its authentic Thai flavors, along with a beautiful Thai-styled yard and attentive service, have attracted quite a few frequenters.

Classic dishes include Tom Yung Kung, a fresh prawn soup that combines sour, spicy, sweet, salty and fragrant flavors. Curry crab, curry chicken, seafood salad, steamed sea bass with lemon and chili are some other popular choices.

While the restaurant's China World branch fuses modern and traditional elements in its decor, its Twin Towers branch resembles a Thai village much more.

Its China Central Place eatery instead seems to decorative cues from aristocracy.

Lotus Thai's Oriental Plaza branch recently reopened, featuring brilliant inner decor, and the average cost of a meal still exceeds 100 yuan a head.

Lotus Thai's China Central Place eatery offers a lemongrass hotpot with a spicy and sour base soup, complete with curry and Thai-styled sour and spicy sauce.

11am-9:30pm. 8518-6391. B1 Oriental Plaza, 1 East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng district; 5/F, Twin Towers, B12 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Yong'anli, Chaoyang district. 5109-6089; B115 China Central Place, 87 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang district; NB201, B2, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district. 6505-5386.

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