Beijing | Chinese Cuisine

Beijing Chinese Cuisine

With the exception of Beijing’s best-known culinary export, Peking Duck, most of the city’s most famous dishes have been adopted from surrounding areas; Hebei, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang. Regardless of their origin, all of the following dishes are now fully ingrained in Beijing life and can be sampled at restaurants throughout the city.

Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing roast duck or Peking Duck (北京烤鸭 běijīng kǎoyā /bay-jing kaow-yaa/) is the epitome of Beijing cuisine and if you had to choose just one dish to try whilst in the capital, this would be it. The dish is mostly esteemed for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly skin and little meat. Whilst sauces and accompaniments will vary between restaurants (the most common being scallion and cucumber) it is difficult to go wrong with roast duck in Beijing.

A lot of restaurants offering this dish will carve the duck beside your table. If you eat at one of Beijing’s more famous duck restaurants it will also be accompanied by a short demonstration on the correct way to assemble a Peking Duck wrap using chopsticks. Whilst this may take some time to master, rest assured that the wraps don't need to be well constructed to be delicious.

A local trick, that comes highly recommended, is to dip the crispiest pieces of skin in sugar before eating.

Recommendation: Da Dong Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭)

Address: F1-F2, Nanxincang Business Building, 22 Dongsitiao Jia, Dongcheng District 东城区东四十条甲22号南新仓商务大厦1-2楼

Price: CNY198 for a whole duck (will feed three/four)

Jiaozi — Chinese Dumplings

There is a lot of myth and mystery surrounding the history of Jiaozi (饺子 jiǎozi /jyaow-dzuh/) and the dish has long been a part of Chinese folk tradition. Whilst they are popular throughout Asia, a plate of Jiaozi with a soy sauce, vinegar and chilli dip is synonymous with Northern Chinese cuisine.

Beijing foodTraditional recipes contain minced pork, ginger and leek, however you can find restaurants that offer all types of different meat and vegetable fillings.

Jiaozi is another dish that can be found anywhere across Beijing and whilst there are a number of better-known dumpling restaurants and chains, some of the tastiest dumplings (and most interesting experiences) can be found in smaller, less conspicuous family eateries where dumplings are the only thing on the menu. At these restaurants you can often sit and watch the next batch of dumplings being rolled and filled as you eat.

Recommendation: Mr Shi's Dumplings (老石饺子)

Address: 74 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dong Dajie 东城区鼓楼东大街, 宝钞胡同74号

Price: CNY20–30/plate (15 jiaozi)

Jing Jiang Rou Si — Shredded Pork in Beijing Sauce

Jingjiang rousi (京酱肉丝 jīng jiàng ròu sī /jing-jyang roh-srr/) is another dish incredibly popular with local 'Beijingers' and and unlike many of the cities other popular dishes, it originated in the capital. It's popularity may stem from its simplicity; sliced pork cooked in a sweet bean sauce served with soya bean wraps.

Although it doesn't look like the most appealing meal, once you have tried the first wrap you will understand why it is so widely enjoyed. Jingjiang rousi is a necessary component of any authentic Beijing dining experience.

Recommendation: Jin Ding Xuan Restaurant (金鼎轩)

Address: 77 Hepingli Street, Dongcheng District 北京市东城区和平里西街77号

Price: CNY60/person (for an entire meal)

Gangou Potatoes

The literal translation of this dish ‘dry pot potato slices’ (干沟土豆片 gàn gōu tǔdòu piàn /gan goh too-doh pyen/) offers diners a fairly accurate idea of what to expect. Slices of potato, crispy pork and chillies simmer in an iron pot sat atop an open flame. As you are working your way through the meat and potatoes, the bed of sliced onions that is hidden underneath slowly caramelizes in oil, leaving you with a delicious snack to finish your meal on.

It is a dish best enjoyed during the colder months but is popular with locals all year round.

Recommendation: Any of the rows of restaurants along Ghost Street will serve this dish. It is best enjoyed as part of a larger meal so it is recommended that you choose a restaurant along this street that serves other dishes you are interested in.

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