When they heard I’d never tried 毛血旺 (maoxuewang) Stew, my coworkers were horrified. Absolutely aghast. “What, you have to try it! You’d love it! It’s my favorite dish,” said Ginger. “In English, it means ‘Blood Hair Strength.’” Oh, I knew I’d like this.
And it was pretty damn good. Fat solid chunks of duck blood, long strands of tripe (the “hair”), and more ma and la than you’ll find in most Sichuan dishes. My mouth was tingling, my eyes were awake. It was definitely a winter dish.
“Duck blood is smoother,” said Echo. “But the cheap places will try and cheat you with pig blood.”
“So the blood is blood, and the hair is tripe. Where does the strength come in?”
“The stew gives you strength!” said Qi.
“And maybe virility, too,” chipped in Ginger. In China, doesn’t everything, though?
My favorite thing about the restaurant, though? These little baggies to protect your cellphone and glasses while you splatter. Now that’s cool.
New Fei Teng Yu Xiang Restaurant, Chaoyangmen Wai Dajie, Beijing. (Although I hear there’s a darn good branch in The Place, too.)