Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cutting Corners in the New Beijing

Worcester BBQ Wings with cinnamon, ginger, and paprika, Y18
Pure Girl Bar, Sanlitun, Beijing

BBQ chicken wings at Pure Girl Bar, Sanlitun, Beijing
Unlike its neon neighbors around the corner, Pure Girl Bar has no line, no 50” plasmas, and no Mongolian hookers. But it does have wings.

Unfortunately it took the Nibbler three Jonnie Walkers to realize that Pure Girl didn’t actually make the wings on premise. They arrived, order by order, from an undisclosed location. Clearly I was waiting for a guy on a bike to make his way across town.

But no matter. The Nibbler has plenty of time to wait for the sweet meat between the skin and bone. My late afternoon drinks lent a sparkle to Pure Girl’s sidewalk view of modern China: hurried Westerners on cell phones, local poseurs happy and proud, African hustlers keeping their heads down, and the oldest people you’ve ever seen in your life dodging traffic on bikes.

BBQ chicken wings at Pure Girl Bar, Sanlitun, Beijing
Surprisingly, the wings arrived warm. But a menu inviting you to “pick your sauce” rarely bodes well, and the Pure Girl was no exception. The sauce wasn’t bad. A nice mix of sweet and spicy, perfectly glazed on an even crisp. But you can never shake the taste of the bottle it came in. Food scientists have tried for decades to replicate that homemade sensation, in which individual flavors pop. They even have a name for it: amplitude. Pure Girl Bar suffers from their continued lack of success.

Well, that and the fact that chickens in China are poor copies of their Western brethren. They seem to have big chucks of fat in random places under the skin – a trait engineered out of existence by Arkansas mega-producers but clearly not yet globally defeated.

Doused with Jonnie Walker, I still found myself reasonably satisfied when the doe-eyed waitress offered me a Tour of Han. Much giggling ensued when I asked several times where Han was. Fortunately a German club promoter, taping a flier near my table, cleared it up: “she says you can get 2 for 1”. Xiexie!

The Nibbler's Rankings for Pure Girl Bar in Sanlitun, Beijing

1 comment:

Jrod said...

Mr. Nibbler,

I sincerely hope you can keep up your rigorous world-wide wing sampling schedule after the imminent birth of your twins. The world needs more specialists like you!

GOOD LUCK--and cheers to 20 fingers and toes!