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Beijing, China: Serve the People

27 December 2010

Chairman Mao would have been proud. His famous maxim "Wei Ren Min Fu Wu", literally translated as "Serve the People", has been put to good use by a popular Thai restaurant in the embassy district. Even the taxi drivers seem to know this humble eatery by name, which is no small matter given how big Beijing is.

Serve the People is primarily staffed by Chinese youths with a fairly good command of the English language, and I suppose it's because it needs to cater to the foreigners and expatriates here who make up the majority of its clientele. Cheerful, friendly and eager to oblige, these youths are a good bunch to have compared to some of the grumpier old folks I've come across. Eye candies are available too, if I may just add ;)

My Southeast Asian-inclined tastebuds were yearning for something spicy, and a quick check on Lonely Planet and Frommer's brought this place up with some pretty encouraging reviews. Reading the menu I realised that it has almost everything that you could get in a decent Thai restaurant in Singapore, and perhaps even more. It also meant that hungry (and greedy) me wanted almost everything on the menu, but since I was alone I had to make some choices.

Chicken Green Curry

The Chicken Green Curry was surprisingly good. Instead of leaning towards the Beijing-penchant for having things on the sweeter side, this curry was addictively spicy and flavourful. The gravy was rich and thick and had all the spices necessary for a good Thai curry. Served hot-pot style, it was kept warm throughout.

The chicken slices were tender and came in a generous portion. I'm quite sure this serving was meant for two but I suppose I was more than hungry enough to have been able to finish it all up on my own. I honestly never thought I could find such a good rendition of a Thai green curry in the middle of Beijing, not by a long mile, so this truly exceeded my expectations.

Phad Thai

The quintessential Thai noodle dish. The Phad Thai from Serve the People was just average, and lacked the authentic flavour that could have been helped with some grated peanuts. A big mistake was for the chef to succumb to the typical Chinese practice of adding cabbage to stir-fried noodles, which was what he did here and which was just odd. If you put that aside, it's alright I suppose, sweeter than I would have liked but at least the green curry was around to save the day.

Coke Bottle

We have not seen this served in Singapore for a long while now, it's all cans and PET bottles on our side, but at least they're more easily recyclable than glass bottles. Coke, is well, coke - probably the best soft drink in the world that's all.

Very good. Friendly and polite.

About 60-75RMB for all three items.


No. 1 Sanlitun Xiwujie, Sanlitun,
Chaoyang District, Beijing.

Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.

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