The Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards: Basically Unnoteworthy, But Thanks For The Free Beer!

The Beijinger 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards

One thing I learned about getting invited to a the Beijinger awards ceremony is you first have to leave Beijing. During my four-year tenure here, I never received an invite. Just three months after I made the move to Hangzhou, I was chosen to be an official nominator. Sure, why not.

Months later, as an Official Nominator for the Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards, I got an invitation to the ceremony. Like, 18 hours before it started. Thanks for the heads up! It just so happened I was back in town for the first time in six months, so in your face, the Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards!

My wife and I roll up to the front desk to register, and I draw a blank when they ask me, “Which restaurant?” I’m like, “All of them?” And then my brain turns back on for maybe the first time since the diaper changes and midnight feedings began, and I say the three magic words (plus one, in my mindhole) that open the doors wide open:

“I’m a NOMINATOR, Bitches.”

We’re in, underdressed and, really, with no good reason to be there. But that’s mostly the fun. We have almost nothing invested and intend to milk that extensively.

My wife is hungry, and I’m thirsty. Within minutes she has sampled all four finger foods. And the award for Best Finger Food at the Beijinger 2013 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards goes to:

  • The Sausage/Pastry Thingies

Awards for Outstanding Finger Food go to:

  • The Meaty Croissants
  • Cream Puffs

Mini-quiche does not make the list. While my wife eats, I beeline for the alcohol. First stop, Grand Marinier Balls. These are a staple at every awards ceremony, a classic. They are good, but I’m more interested in the rack of fine draft beers. I struggle a little between Leffe and Chimay, but in the end, I choose wisely. Goblet of Chimay in hand, we continue touring.

Together we make friends with the fine people from Glacio, and enjoy scoop after scoop of the finest ice cream I’ve had in a while. There was a second ice cream company next to it, but it was unmemorable. We chased it down with a few espressos.

The actual awards were background noise for all the free stuff, obviously. I gain nothing from anyone winning, except maybe bragging rights for my favorite restaurants. But when Element Fresh nabs “Best Breakfast” and Chef Too doesn’t even get runner-up, let alone the Best Breakfast Ever award, I cease to care about the results.

In conclusion, yes, it was worth the price of admission and I will gladly enjoy more free stuff in the future. Thanks, the Beijinger!

Kevin is an Ultimate Frisbee player, blogger, drummer, and former Beijinger who now makes his home in Hangzhou with his wife and young son. This is what he looks like.

    11 Responses to “The Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards: Basically Unnoteworthy, But Thanks For The Free Beer!”

    1. BigCAD

      As a foodie could you tell me how you the rank the resturaunts in Hz? Did 5 years there nyself and was always shocked at the high turnover of western joints.

    2. BigCAD

      As a foodie could you tell me how you the rank the resturaunts in Hz? Did 5 years there myself and was always shocked at the high turnover of western joints.

    3. RhZ

      Good post, pretty funny. You should have worn the Hulk Hogan get-up, that would have been cooler.

      Shocked, shocked that Element Fresh won an award. There is a clear correlation between EF regular and mindless zombie drone.

    4. Kevin Reitz

      Thanks for the comments everyone!

      BigCAD – my favorite western restaurants in Hangzhou are Panchos, Curry Bistro, The Vineyard, Zolo Pizza, M2-Tiba, and this really great Thai place over by Hefang Jie. I really want to like Mango Thai, but they are too hit-and-miss. And we really need an affordable, good indian place on the west side.

      B o’ D’s – hangzhou in general is a great place to try if you’re done with Beijing’s pollution, traffic, filth, and lack of nature. I’ve come to really love it in the 9 month or so i’ve been there. Something about clean air and mountains just makes everyday better. Food and nightlife are excellent as well.

      RhZ – The other one i couldn’t believe was Annie’s for best restaurant. That’s just ridiculous. Best Delivery Range, maybe, or Best Pizza When You Just Don’t Care Anymore. But Best Restaurant? Epic fail.

      • Anthony Tao

        I’m over this Annie’s hate. You get exactly what you pay for with them: great service, very good value, decent food. You get it consistently, and for a Beijing establishment, that’s exceptional. I’d be surprised if it didn’t finish in the top three in every reader awards ever.

        Also, note to restaurant managers, which we can call the Annie’s lesson: people get tired of overpaying for style / garnish pretty quickly, and excellent customer service can cover up for so many flaws.

        • Kevin

          Don’t get me wrong Tao, i don’t hate Annie’s. I’ve ordered from there plenty of times, but rarely (never?) because i actually crave their food. It’s usually just because i want pizza, i want it cheap, and i want it delivered. Believe me, if i lived within hutong pizza’s delivery range, i’d never order Annie’s again.

          Anyway… i don’t hate Annie’s. But it shouldn’t even be considered for Restaurant of the Year, let alone win. They have fantastic delivery range and palatable, consistent food, but i can think of 20 places i crave more than Annie’s, which are just as consistently awesome.

    5. BigCAD

      Hi Kevin,

      Also try the Thai place in the wyndamere, little more expensive but exceptional food. The Japanese places including Hatsunes (a boat ride away north from Hangzhou tower, along the grand canal) as well as the Japanese BBQ place senkushiya on zhongshanzhonglu. He fang jie also has a great muslim place on the road running parallel just to the north.

      I imagine provonce and angelos have died the death by now.

      • Kevin

        Both Angelos and Provence are alive and kicking, although i’ve only been to one. You’re thinking of Sawasdee, and as much as i love Thai food, i’ve never been there. What the hell is wrong with me.


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