Tea being poured in a Beijing restaurant

Check the local press for details of cooking classes

  1. Beijing duck

    The best-known dish in north Chinese cuisine. The duck, a local Beijing variety, is dried and brushed with a sweet marinade before being roasted over fragrant wood chips. It is carved by the chef and eaten wrapped in pancakes with slivered scallions (spring onions) and cucumber.

    Beijing duck
  2. Hotpot

    Introduced to Beijing in the 13th century by the invading Mongols, hotpot is a much-loved staple. Literally hundreds of restaurants across the city sell nothing else but. It’s a great group dish, with everybody sat around a large bubbling pot of broth dropping in their own shavings of meat, noodles, and vegetables to cook.

  3. Zha jiang mian

    The name means “clanging dish noodles” – like hot pot, ingredients are added at the table to a central tureen of noodles, and the bowls are loudly clanged together as each dish goes in, hence the name.

  4. Jiaozi

    The traditional Beijing dumplings are filled with pork, bai cai (Chinese leaf), and ginger but, in fact, fillings are endless. You can find jiaozi at snack shops all over the city. They are also sold on the street, served from a giant hot plate over a brazier.

  5. Thousand-year-old eggs

    These are raw duck eggs that have been put into mud, chalk and ammonia and left, not for a thousand years, but more like two weeks. When retrieved, the egg is steamed or hard-boiled: the white has turned a greenish-black. The eggs are cut up and sprinkled with soy sauce and sesame oil.

  6. Lao mian

    Watching a cook make lao mian (hand-pulled noodles) is almost as enjoyable as eating them. First the dough is stretched and then swung like a skipping rope, so that it becomes plaited. The process is repeated until the strands of dough are as thin as string.

  7. Lamb and scallions

    Scallions (spring onions) are a common Beijing ingredient and in this dish they are rapidly stir-fried along with sliced lamb, garlic, and a sweet-bean paste.

    Lamb and scallions
  8. Sweet and sour carp

    Beijing cooking is heavily influenced by the cuisine of Shandong Province, generally regarded as the oldest and best in China. Sweet and sour carp is a quintessential Shandong dish traditionally made with fish from the Yellow River.

    Sweet and sour carp
  9. Drunken empress chicken

    Supposedly named after Yang Guifei, an imperial concubine overly fond of her alcohol. The dish is prepared using Chinese wine and is served cold.

  10. Stir-fried kidney flowers

    These are actually pork kidneys cut in a criss-cross fashion and stir-fried, during which they open out like “flowers”. The kidneys are typically prepared with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and edible black fungus (a sort of mushroom).

Top 10 Beijing Street Foods

  1. Lu da gun’r

    Literally “donkeys rolling in dirt”: sweet red-bean paste in a rice dough dusted with peanut powder.

  2. Jian bing

    Chinese crêpe. Often sold off the back of tricycles and a typical Beijing breakfast.

  3. Shao bing

    Hot bread roll sometimes filled with a fried egg and often sprinkled with aniseed for flavoring.

  4. Tang chao lizi

    Chestnuts, roasted in sugar and hot sand and served in a paper bag. A seasonal snack appearing in autumn.

  5. Tang hu lu

    A kabob of candied hawthorn berries.

  6. Chuan’r

    In any area with lots of bars and clubs you’ll find street vendors selling chuan’r (kabobs). They cost just a few yuan per skewer.

  7. Baozi

    These delicious steamed dumplings are cooked in bamboo baskets. Typical fillings include pork, chicken, beef, or vegetables and tofu.

  8. Rou bing

    Cooked bread filled with finely chopped and spiced pork. A variant is rou jiamo, which is a bun filled with diced lamb.

  9. You tiao

    Deep-fried dough sticks, often dipped in warm congee (a rice porridge).

  10. Hong shu

    A winter specialty, these are baked sweet potatoes, often heated in ovens made from oil drums.

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