It’s often said that spring is the best time to visit Beijing and see what the city has to offer. While getting out and about isn’t exactly possible at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t start to make plans!
To that end, for the past few weeks Cultural Keys, in partnership with some of the best travel and culture companies in the business, has brought to you our Best of Beijing series. Each week, our partners introduce you to the best of what the Chinese capital has to offer, from food to flowers, from classical architecture to useful words and phrases especially for Beijing!
Now in week 4, it’s our great pleasure to welcome the Beijing Cooking School and Chef Chao who shares with us his top picks for Beijing’s best food and snacks. Enjoy!
Beijing Roast Duck (北京烤鸭 / Beijing kaoya)
Beijing Roast Duck is a world-famous Chinese dish. The traditional Beijing Roast Duck is roasted with jujube wood, pear wood or another fruit wood over an open fire. To make sure the duck is roasted fully and evenly, the cook will regularly swap the duck’s position in the oven. With its shiny brown color, crispy skin, tender meat, and delicate smell of fruit wood, the duck is well-cooked. Take a thin pancake, brush on a layer of special sauce, add a few slices of duck, some shredded scallion and cucumber, then roll up the pancake. Now enjoy the exquisite taste!
Siji Minfu Roast Duck shop
Address: No. 11 Nanchizi Street
Next to the east gate of Forbidden city
Bianyifang Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: 3-5 Chongwenmenmenwai Street,
3rd floor, New World Department Store
CK says: Vegetarians can enjoy roast duck at Jinglianzhai Vegetarian Restaurant (静莲斋素食餐厅); multiple locations around town.
Hotpot (火锅 / huoguo)
Hotpot is a very popular Chinese cuisine. It combines a simmering pot of soup and raw ingredients which you cook while you’re eating. With a variety of ingredients and dipping sauce, hotpot is super popular in China for its rich nutrition and convenience.
Different places in China have their own local style. Beijing hotpot is characterized by its use of a copper Mongolian pot, heated with charcoal and filled with pure water, scallions and ginger. While eating, you use chopsticks to hold the thin slices of beef, mutton, chicken, tofu, vegetables or other ingredients in the boiling soup, and they will be ready in a short a few seconds. Dip the well-cooked food in a variety of sauces and enjoy! In the winter, hotpot can fill your whole body with warmth and happiness.
YangFangDaDu Mongolian Hotpot
Address: NO. 384 Dongsi North Street.
Address: 1St Floor of No. 8 Dongsi South Street
CK says: The most popular dipping sauce for hotpot is sesame sauce (芝麻酱 zhīmajiàng), more commonly known as tahini in English (and also great as a dip for veggies or spread on crusty bread!)
Fried sauce noodles (炸酱面 / Zhajiangmian)
“Southern people like rice and northern people love noodles” is a common Chinese saying. Noodles are the main food in the north of China. A famous type of noodles in Beijing is Zhajiangmian, which translates as ‘fried sauce noodles’. A perfect bowl of these noodles requires the selection of finely diced pork belly, which is stir-fried with scallion and ginger, then slowly boiled on a low heat with soybean paste or sweet flour paste. The noodles are cooled in cold water to make them extra elastic and served with shredded cucumber, bean sprouts or carrot. Mix them all together and you can enjoy!
Old Beijing Fried Sauce Noodle King
Address: No 141 Dongzhimen South Street
Beijing Pancake (煎饼 / Jianbing)
As one of the northern specialties for breakfast, Jianbing is a popular and nutritious meal made of flour, cooked into a thin pancake on a large griddle. You can add eggs and various sauces, sprinkle with cilantro (coriander), scallions, sesame seeds, lettuce, and a crisp piece of fried dough. Then you wrap them up. Enjoy the tender and crisp taste and rich smell sauce.
Address: No 21 Beijianzi Alley
Queen Jiang Jianbing
Address: No. 277 Dongzhimennei Str.
CK says: Jianbing is our go-to Beijing snack, and you can often find it being sold on street corners from small carts labelled with the characters 煎饼. Watch them cooking it from scratch in front of you to ensure it’s fresh!
Mutton Kebab (烤串儿 / kaochuan’r)
“There’s nothing a kebab can’t fix. If there is, take two. ” Now you know how much people in China like kebabs. Beijingers can’t live without them!
The sun sets late on a hot summer day. The oil drips on the coals, sending out thick smoke. The smell of roast meat, mingled with the shouts of hawkers and the clamor of diners, wafts far away into the night. Whether you are rich or poor, you will be attracted by such a scene. The perfect interpretation of life.
There are tons of ingredient choices: beef sinews, potatoes, eggplant… but lamb kebab is a must. Lamb is tender, easy to digest, high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol. Before roasting, add some salt, cumin powder and pepper to bring out the flavors.
Address: No 57 Nanjianzi Alley, Gulou East Str.
Address: No. 242 Dongzhimennei Str.
Dumplings (饺子 / jiaozi)
There is a saying in China that “nothing tastes better than dumplings “. It’s the usual main food and an indispensable part of the Chinese family’s New Year dinner during the Spring Festival. To make Chinese dumplings, knead flour to form dough, roll into small thin flour pancakes, and wrap around a variety of fillings such as minced pork and leek. Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or fried. They’re tasty and nutritious and you’ll never get tired of them!
Address: No 252 Andingmennei Str.
Baoyuan Dumplings House
Address: No. 6 Bld. Maizidian Str,
CK says: Our favourite flavour is fennel and egg (茴香鸡蛋 huíxiāng jīdàn) – a must-try!
Thanks to the Beijing Cooking School for taking the time to provide us with this post! As one of Beijing’s top choices for local expats and visiting tourists who want to learn how to cook authentic Chinese dishes, Beijing Cooking School is the winner of many awards and more than 170 five star reviews for their level of service and quality of their instruction. If you are looking for a unique cooking experience in Beijing, be sure to contact Chef Chao about booking a class for yourself and your friends, family or colleagues!
What’s your opinion of Beijing Cooking School’s list? Do these look tempting to you? Have you tried already tried all these options? Which one’s your favourite? Or was your preferred delicacy not included? Let us know in the comments below!
– Beijing Cooking School
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