Mao became a cult figure once again after 1989 when former Red Guards, by then in their late 30s, craved for the nostalgia and character-building years spent together being re-educated by the peasantry in the great Northeastern wilderness of Heilongjiang and elsewhere. Restaurants opened up to cater to their tastes and provide ground for networking. While you can chi ku, eat bitter, under portraits of Mao just like in the good-bad old days, there are also whole some dishes on the menu. But to taste the revolution try da cha zi zhou, cornmeal gruel, and ji cai, a wild vegetable stuffed into steamed buns. Restaurants serving Hunan dishes, from Mao’s home province, provide feasts for lovers of hot and spicy food. The Chairman believed that eating hot food produced good revolutionaries. His favorites were hong shao rou, red boiled beef, and chao jian jiao, stir-fried red chillies!
Sunflower Village (Xiang Yang Tun) Restaurant
Add: 26 Wanquanhe Road, Haidian District Tel. 6256 2967, 6261 4715
Simple and reasonably-priced food amid atmospheric surroundings of Maoist flavor
Add: Dongsi, opposite the China Art Gallery, 43 Cuihua Hutong, Dongcheng District
Yuebin Restaurant’s owner was Mao’s private chef. After Mao died, he started his own business serving tasty, wholesome and very reasonably priced dishes in an atmospheric room
The Red Capital Club (Xinhongzijulebu)
Add: 66 Dongsijiutiao, Dongcheng DisTrict. Tel. 6401 7150, 8401 8886
Serves “Zhongnanhai” cuisine, such as Deng Xiaoping’s chicken and che Marshall’s delight-fiery hot green peppers stuffed with pork and shrimp. The Red Capital Club is in a well-restored old courtyard house, decorated with antiques and 1960s memorabilia. Please make reservations in advance, because seats are limited. Closed Mondays.