Opposite the husk of the old Heaven Supermarket and nestled behind the Village, Two Guys and a Pie is your one-stop-shop in Beijing for traditional, Aussie meat pies.
Not only do these guys offer tasty, home-cooked fare, they've also added a serious competitive edge to their business by introducing a pie-eating competition. Basically, the man or woman who manages to eat the most pies is crowned Pie King or Pie Queen. But it's not just a title you're after. Pie Royalty receive a free pie EVERY day they visit the store.
Yep, every day.
It all starts with a harmless pie. “I could eat ten!” you scoff.
Oh no, you couldn’t.
These pies are different. A wodge of short-crust pastry, flaking at the edges, comprises a doughy bowl, and within, a den of lamb, potato, carrot and red pepper chunks awaits diners. The whole entity is flanked by two mounds of mashed potatoes and mushy peas and slathered with a thick moat of beef gravy.
Crust me, it’s more than a mere mouthful.
Two pies deep, I began to flag. As I lowered my head over pie number three – a tasty beef medley – my laboured breathing was met with knowing glances from Matt and Andrew, the two Aussies in charge of this gleaming gravy oasis. They are all too familiar with the tell-tale signs of a struggling participant in the battle for Pie King and Pie Queen. The current Pie King re-claimed his throne with a shocking eight pie eat-off and had to be helped to his taxi afterwards.
That's the kind of 'Pie Hard' attitude I aspired to.
In the background, a frightened fuwuyuan whispered, “Is she still eating?” Whether she said it out of respect or horror, that awestruck fuwuyuan gave me the strength to take my final bite: a chunk of cinnamon-spiced apple pie, topped with a generous helping of ice cream.
Four pies down, and the coup d’etat was over. As I stumbled out onto the street, ballasted by the weight of the pies, I was heady with the glory of a freshly-claimed crown and a pint of apple cider.
The one question remaining is: can you take me on?