Wudaoying Hutong, we are all praying for you. Praying that you do not morph into another monstrosity, the likes of which Nanluoguxiang (NLGX) has become. For now, there is much to recommend this street and Wan is a welcome addition.It’s a secret garden of culinary delight.
Wan is a Vietnamese restaurant located opposite VA bar on the East end of the street, next to the Yonghegong Subway. From the outside, it seems like a tiny space with only 3 tables, but inside is actually deceptively big, much like Mary Poppins’ bag. There is space enough for at least 60 people and it is a very lovely surprise of a space.
With a large open glass ceiling, it is beautifully lit by natural light during the day. There is plenty of foliage – so you can feel like you’re sitting in your very own garden courtyard, and a few private corners for if you want a quieter conversation.
Exterior Entrance of Wan on the East End of Wudaoying
Open Courtyard Beneath Glass Atrium Ceiling & Full-On Foliage
More Secluded Table Seating Options Available
Find a Quaint Little Corner Table for More Privacy
Feeling lucky we snagged a quiet table in the corner, this is definitely a place you’ll want to make sure to book in advance. When we tried to turn up without a reservation last Friday evening, we were turned away as the hostess said they were pretty much sold out of everything by 8:30PM. With a reservation at 7PM on a Monday night, the place was still pretty packed out.
The menu is very straight-forward – it opens up like a brochure with 3 main pages starting with appetizers on the left, salads, pho and sandwiches in the center and stir-fries/desserts on the right. Between the three foodie musketeers, we sampled a variety from each of the different sections.
Overall, flavors were fresh, the food was well presented the service was well-mannered, thoughtful and delightfully enthusiastic. The staff were happy to make recommendations when asked and reminded us to eat our spring rolls first since the rice wrapper gets dry if left out for too long. While the dishes came out very quickly (almost all at once!), they were pretty much finished almost as quickly as they came. Nothing was left out too long to dry.
Out of everything we ate, we were big fans of the subtle and crisp Shrimp salad, you can’t go wrong with banana and prawn fried roll (but is this a thing or a copy off Susu’s menu?) and the sliced pork neck was lovely as well. All the vegetables had a satisfying crunch that pairs so well with the tender shrimp. The pho was decent, but the broth is certainly not the best in Beijing and quite over-priced for RMB 88 per bowl.
Pork Neck Sliced with Lemongrass Sauce (RMB 56)
Nuts & Vegetable Spring Roll (RMB 38)
Prawn & Mixed Shredded Vegetables (RMB 48)
Da Nang Pancakes with Prawn & Pork (RMB 88)
Banana & Prawn Rolls (RMB 46)
“Wan” Classic Pho Bò (RMB 88)
Minced Pork Deep-Fried Spring Roll (RMB 46)
As the portions weren’t massive, we went to town on their dessert menu. Everything was decent, but also a bit odd. The Sticky Rice and Avocado had a nice creamy texture, but the flavors were very bland (more condensed milk please!) and the Coconut milk and fruit was a bit awkward to share. The Taro and Ice Cream stood out as the winner, which was definitely not expected.
Sweet & Sticky Rice with Avocado (RMB 38)
Homemade Coconut Milk with Mixed Fruits (RMB 38)
Homemade Taro Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream (RMB 28)
5 years ago, in the pre-Susu days, Wan would have been a revelation. In 2016, it is a solid restaurant, but it goes to show just how the bar has been raised in Beijing! We tried a selection of everything, but Susu has the edge in terms of both atmosphere and food quality. Not by a long way, but you also pay more for the experience.
Honestly, Wan is a great restaurant and certainly a welcome addition to the booming Wudaoying food street! If this is the new normal, Beijing is a much better place because of it!
Contact Details for Wan菀:
- Address: On the east side of Wudaoying off Yonghegong, 10 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District
- Tel: 6401 0960
- Opening Hours: 9AM-9PM
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.