Peking (Beijing) Roasted Duck (Beijing Kaoya) 北京烤鸭
Any visit to Beijing is incomplete without going to the Great Wall (Badaling) or eating roast duck. The history of the Peking Duck can be traced as far back as the Yuan Dynasty; by the early 15th century, it had become one of the favorite dishes of the Ming court. Peking duck is prized for its thin, crispy skin – the most authentic versions of the dish serve mostly skin and little meat. Most Chinese restaurants will prepare two dishes out of one duck: one with thin slices of skin with a small layer of fat, and another one with the duck meat. The latter is often a stir-fried dish.
The two most famous restaurants in Beijing serving this specialty are Quanjude and Bianyifang. Bianyifang bakes the duck in a closed convection oven, while Quanjude hangs the duck over a wood fire in a large oven. Both establishments have a history going back over a hundred years, and have an extensive network of branches.
Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant (Qianmen Branch) 全聚德烤鸭
Established in 1864, it specializes in crispy, juicy ducks. A great place to experience Beijing duck for the first time.
Add: 14 Qianmen Xidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8319 3101/2
Open hrs: 11:00-14:00; 16:30-21:00
Website: http://www.quanjude.com.cn/e_about.html (English)
Getting there: Take subway Line 2 to Hepingmen Station
Hot pot (Huoguo) 火锅
Hot pot is a simmering pot of stock placed at the center of the table or, occasionally, each person has an individual hot pot. Raw ingredients are placed into the simmering pot and cooked right at the table. The pot is made of brass with a wide outer rim around a central chimney which holds the burning charcoal that heats the broth. Once the broth is boiling, diners dip thin slices of raw meat into the soup where they are quickly poached; the cooked meat can then be dipped in various sauces, such sesame sauce, soy sauce, chili oil, or vinegar. Meats can include beef, mutton, chicken, fish, and prawns; vegetables such as mushrooms and tofu are also popular, as are wontons and egg dumplings. Hot pot meals are especially popular during in the cold winter months.
Dong Lai Shun 东来顺
With a history going back over 100 years, Dong Lai Shun specializes in Hot Pot mutton, with crispy, sweet garlic, all kinds of seasoning, and thick slices of halal meat. Of course, you can also cook vegetables, tofu and much more. Heats you from the inside out.
Add: Bldg E, Hualong Jie, Nanheyan Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6559 5084
Open hrs: 11:00-21:30
Website: http://www.donglaishun.com/ (Chinese)
Getting there: Take subway Line 1 to Wangfujing Station
Barbecue (Kaorou) 烤肉
Barbecue as a popular style of cooking in Beijing can be traced back to ancient nomads in the north of China. Typical Chinese barbecue consists of veal or mutton – usually marinated with soy sauce, rice wine, ginger liquor, white sugar and other seasonings – though other meats are usually also available. The best way to enjoy the grilled skewers is with pancakes, sweet garlic, and cucumber.
Among the restaurants with the best reputation for barbecue in Beijing are ‘Southern Wan’ and ‘Northern Ji’. Grill Restaurant (Kaorou Ji), by Shichahai, which opened in 1848 boasts the best barbecued mutton in town; and Barbecue Garden (Kaorou Wan), established in 1668 by a member of the Hui ethnic group is famous for its barbecued veal. (“Kaorou” means “grilled meat”; “Wan” and “Ji” are the names of the two restaurants’ founders.)
Kaorou Ji 烤肉季
Kaorou Ji has been serving Muslim cuisine since the Qing Dynasty. It’s packed every night, so be patient with the waitstaff. Juicy BBQ lamb, steamed sesame buns, and the tender, juicy roast mutton make it worthwhile. Boasts a wonderful view of the lake from the second floor. 100 RMB - 199 RMB per couple. Accepts international credit cards.
Add: 14 Qianhai Dongyan, Di’anmen Wai, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6404 2554/6406 9719
Opening hrs: 6:00-9:00; 11:00-14:00; 17:00-23:00
Getting there: Take Subway Line 8 to Gulou Dajie Station
Kaorou Wan 烤肉宛
Karou Wan’s popular grilled beef is their “must-order” dish. Other specialties include grilled lamb chops, grilled venison, grilled duck, and fried shrimp.
Add: 58 Nanlishi Lu, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6802 8180
Opening hrs: 6:30-9:00; 10:30-22:00
Getting there: Take Subway Line 1 to Nanlishi Lu Station
Imperial Court Food (Fangshan) 仿膳
Imperial Court food originated within the walls of the Forbidden City. Prior to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the general public was not allowed to sample Imperial court food. Today it is still a luxurious dining experience, but one everyone can enjoy; if their pockets are deep enough. There are several places where you can sample this unique cuisine: Fangshan in Beihai Park and Ting Li Guan in the Summer Palace are among the best.
Fangshan Restaurant 仿膳饭庄
Established in 1925 by former royal chefs of the Qing Dynasty, Fangshan is famous as the first restaurant to serve Imperial food. Its authentic recipes have been handed down from generation to generation with only the staff knowing the secrets of every dish. The restaurant boasts over 800 Imperial dishes such as Long-tailed anchovy fin (Fengweiyuchi), Superior Bird’s Nest (Yipin Yanwo), fried chicken breast, and pea-flour cake. The most famous offering is “Man-Han Quan Xi,” which is a feast of complete Manchu-Han courses, serving “eight mountain treasures, eight sea treasures, and eight animal treasures,” combining Manchu roasting and braising techniques with Han-style frying. Be advised – the food is imperial, and so are the prices.
Add: inside Beihai Park, Jingshan Xijie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6404 2573/6401 1889
Opening hrs: 11:00-14:00; 17:00-20:30
Getting there: Take Subway Line 6 to Beihai Bei Station
Noodle with Bean Sauce (Zha Jiang Mian) 炸酱面
Delicious wheat noodles with fried bean paste is one of the best dishes that Beijing has to offer. The noodles come with a variety of toppings including egg slices, bean sprouts, cucumbers and carrots, and are succulent, chewy, and filling.
Yi Wan Ju (Old Beijing Noodle with Bean Sauce)
Yi Wan Ju is a famous old-Beijing restaurant that specializes in noodles with vegetables. Waiters here wear traditional clothing to reflect this restaurant’s longstanding history. Try the Noodles with Bean Sauce (Zha Jiang Mian) for a traditional Beijing experience.
Add: 24-1 Pufang Lu, Fangzhuang, Fengtai District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6765 4321/6766 6667
Opening hrs: 11:00-22:00
Getting there: Take Subway Line 5 to Puhuangyu Station
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