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Best tasting charcoal in Beijing

By Pauline D. Loh | China Daily | Updated: 2012-11-25 17:18

Best tasting charcoal in Beijing

Nobu Flower Pot is a deceptive illusion full of sunny flavors. Fan Zhen / For China Daily

It is simply called the Nobu Flower Pot, and it's made from charcoal. Bamboo charcoal. And not just any bamboo charcoal, because this one is edible and comes flavored with salty butter.

Related: Nabe at nobu

As the little pots arrive with a tiny sprig of mint planted in each, we looked at them warily, unsure whether to admire them or eat them. The first teaspoon removes all doubt. The charcoal may be charcoal, but it's the best tasting charcoal in Beijing.

In fact, it tastes more like Oreo cookie crumbs, but even better.

When you dig deeper into the pot and uncover the snowy, sunny flavors that lie beneath, the silky layers of cream and passion fruit pudding light up the mouth like a brilliant ray of sunshine.

Dining at any Nobu around the world is a decadent treat. From the sumptuous decor to the deferential service, it is an experience that lets you, for the duration of the meal, escape into a world where you are royalty at the table.

Nobu in Beijing is no different, although in this most imperial of cities, the rich and able can find plenty of places to be pampered.

So it is all the more important that the extra touch, that human element, is manifested in dishes that reflect the nature of the chef.

Nobu Beijing has Karu Wedhas, an all-American boy who graduated from the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, honed his skills in Italian, French and American contemporary cuisine in southern California where he grew up and worked in Nobu Las Vegas absorbing the Nobu culinary legacy.

And his personal touch is beginning to show in dishes like this flower pot dessert, a creation of artifice so nicely executed that it beats some Chinese chefs at their own game.

Karu tells us he is eager to explore more of Beijing and its food, and we have a date to go to market. In his barely four weeks in Beijing, he has been busy settling into his new restaurant, a world away from Las Vegas, his last stop. Already, he is thinking of a dish using salmon collar, that tender triangle of meat that is sure to appeal to the Chinese palate.

Nice. Welcome to Beijing, Karu. You'll fit right in and we look forward to more.