Posted by 卫三下三尺 on 21. Dec 2008
While not your usual student hangout, which usually comes replete with funky furniture piled high with textbooks and bright-eyed students, Churros deserves a special mention for being the first cafe in China built around the concept of the churro, Spain's traditional deep-fried pastry and equivalent to the donut. If you're North American, you're probably familiar with the longer, larger version that's covered in cinnamon sugar.
But at Churros, which opened its flagship store in early-July, founder Cui Yufeng serves up the smaller European variety—a denser, more filling youtiao—with a small cups of either chocolate dipping sauce or strawberry jam.
"All of my primary ingredients are imported," the quality-obsessed Cui explains, noting that his flour comes from Canada while the chocolate comes from Japan.
We ordered four slender churros with chocolate dipping sauce (25 RMB) and cups of drip coffee for 29 RMB a pop.
The staples of any cafe -- espresso, latte and caramel macchiato -- are available as well. The beans used to make them are imported from Brazil and Columbia, explained Cui, and cost twice as much as those used by Starbucks; hence the slightly-more expensive cuppa.
The shop, clad in orange and fushia hues, is in the La Vita shopping mall, which is parked in the center of Beijing's hi-tech district. Outdoor seating is available, as well.
No stranger to European style, Cui spent the past 20 years living in Denmark as an artist where he conceived, developed and patented his own temporary tattoo technology, Golden Phoenix Airbrush Tattoo. His artwork and designs were well-received and widely reported in Copenhagen, where folks of all stripes lined up for the service. The trend became so popular, Cui decided to mass produce the technology and started teaching others how to apply the designs themselves. Today, Cui has a factory in Hebei exporting airbrush tattoo, airbrush nail, airbrush hair, airbrush cellphone, airbrush clothing and body painting kits.
So how does one go from trend-setting in Copenhagen to Spanish pastries in Zhongguancun?
"I really like churros," confesses Cui. "The Chinese already have youtiao. But I really hope I can bring this new product to the Chinese."
La Vita Shopping Mall
Zhongguancun Dajie, Haidian
Haidian Huangzhuang station (Line 10)
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