Tag Archives: Beijing

Karaiya Spice House: Karaiya’s Signature Fish

Karaiya’s Signature Fish – a rendition of Hunan 剁椒鱼头 (Double Pepper Fish Head)

Double Pepper Fish Head is a traditional Hunan dish, where a gigantic fish head is covered in spicy peppers and, according to Alan Wong, owner of Karaiya, “simmered in special Camellia oil [aka tea seed oil] collected from trees.”  At Karaiya, they use a whole fish instead, which I strongly prefer because it does not have as much of the goopy stuff fish heads have.  This fish is tantalizingly addicting.  The yellow peppers on one side and red on the other is steeped in a hot oil, which helps to create this extremely tasty sauce.  You can then buy a plate of noodles to throw into the sauce.  Something about hot searing oil and noodles… you can never go wrong.


Even with the noodles, I still always need to gorge myself with their delicious bamboo steamed rice to temper the heat from the fish.


This is one of those must-hit restaurants every time I go back home.

Scallion Pancakes with Pork Floss and Sichuan Peppercorns


I’m back!  I have been away on an Asia adventure for Christmas and New Years and have come back with lots of food to blog about.  I will start with my first meal at home.  The image featured at the top of my blog is what I call a typical Shi’s familiy brunch. The image from this post is how we make our scallion pancakes.  It is a less greasy version of what you typically see in Chinese restaurants in the States.  The dough is made with boiling water, which is apparently one of the “secrets” to Chinese cooking.  Making the dough out of boiling water gives the dough more elasticity, making the end product chewier.  Boiling-water-dough is often used to make dumpling/potsticker skin.  In addition to scallions and salt, we also add Taiwanese pork floss to give the pancake a slightly sweet flavor and a bit of Sichuan peppercorn powder to give it a numbing kick.  While in the pan, we sprinkle sesame seeds all over the pancake so that they are toasted by the time the pancake is ready.  Crispy on the outside, extra chewy on the inside, sweet, salty, and spiceful is how I like my scallion pancakes.

Soy Sauce Fried Rice (酱油炒饭)

My grandma would look down on this dish because Sichuan-ers rarely use soy sauce in their cooking, and NEVER in rice. Soy sauce is more of a northern thing. Beijingers, for example, love their soy sauce. Well, I grew up in Beijing so I guess it is okay for me to make soy sauce fried rice. Had just a bowl of leftover rice (the best kind for making fried rice because it has dried up. If you use fresh rice, you will inevitably end up with a mushier fried rice where the individual rice kernels are rounded at the ends… Do you know what I’m talking about? I notice weird things like that. Anyway!). Scrambled up an egg, added the rice with soy sauce, a little brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt.