Beijing is obsessed with cheap Japanese eats, and spots like Tori Tei make it easy to see why: tidier than their local counterparts, affordable and delicious. The perfect drinking food. You can’t spit in Beijing without hitting an izayaka that’s brimming with youngsters tossing back grilled chicken bits with draught Asahi and bottles of sake.
At Tori Tei, the open dining room fits about two dozen white pine benches, the fresh green smell of which still
lingers, mixing with the smoky aroma
of combusting chicken drippings that
occasionally spit minor explosions
skyward from the busy grill.
will be familiar to fans of Tori Tei’s first
location, which now lays quiet and
dark a few metres up the road. Hungry
revellers tuck into skewers of chicken,
thick cuts of sashimi, rolls piled high
with bright orange salmon roe and, of
course, fried chicken.
Various chicken skewers arrive hot
from the grill (6-35RMB). Some lighter
cuts of salmon and tuna (120RMB)
sashimi go down well with a sip of cold
Junmai sake (50RMB per 180ml).
cuts of raw fish are far from the best,
but more than acceptable for the
price tag. Similarly, fried chicken with
sweetened vinegar (45RMB) won’t
blow minds, but its crunchy richness
is a welcome change of pace.
The new space is one of the most
sprawling izakayas in the capital,
where weekend nights (and weekdays
for that matter) can get a bit rowdy,
echoing a contagious drunken energy
throughout the cavernous hall.
Reasonably priced fare and the lively
atmosphere make it a solid choice for
a night out or an affordable taste of
Japanese bar food.