Beijing Food & Restaurant

Beijing food brief

China cuisine is renowned all over the world for its appearance, aroma, and flavour. Its unique style of preparation, cooking and presentation can be traced to the beginnings of Chinese history more than 5,000 years ago.

Beijing food is the most famous food of China, particularly known for Beijing Duck. Much of this fame comes from the fact that the Imperial cuisines were based out of there. Beijing Duck is a time consuming dish to prepare of oven roasted duck with a crispy brown skin. Thin slices of the skin are cut off and put onto a plate where it is wrapped with a fresh flour tortilla with plum sauce, cucumber, and green onion. The rest of the duck is used with additional dishes. The northern part of China has a cold climate unsuitable to grow rice, so wheat is the primary grain consumed. Northern Chinese eat more breads than those in the south, where rice predominates.

As the capital of China for Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, Beijing developed its own unique cuisines incorporating the form in the imperial kitchens of the Qing Dynasty. Among the most famous dishes or styles which found their way from the imperial court to public restaurants are Court Cuisine, Beijing Roast Duck, Tan Cuisine, Mongolian Hot Pot, and Barbecued Meat.

Court Cuisine:
Court CuisineCourt Cuisine, as the name suggests, consists of dishes once prepared exclusively for the imperial family. Every dynasty in Chinese history had an “imperial kitchen” to prepare meals for the emperor and his consorts. The dishes were not nonly meticulously prepared, but also included rare and expensive foodstuffs, such as bear’s nests, sharksfins, venison, sea cucumbers, duck webs and other delicacies of land and sea. The Court Cuisine of today is based on the dishes prepared by the Qing imperial kichens but further developed ever since.

Beijing Roast Duck:
Beijing Roast DuckBeijing Roast Duck is prepared from specially-bred Beijing crammed duck with a unique roasting process which gives it a perfect combination of colour, aroma and taste, a crisp thin skin, and a mouth-melting, and delicious flavour.
Beijing Roast Duck dates back 300 years, and originated in the imperial kitchens of Jingling (today’s Nanjing).

The most famous roast duck restaurant in Beijing is Quanjude Restaurant, go to for details

Mutton Hot Pot:
Mutton Hot PotMutton Hot Pot is a Muslim specialty. All the year round, the family, relatives, and friends would gather round the fire and eat in intimacy and warmth. It has now spread to people of all nationalities including foreign diplomats and overseas visitors in Beijing and become one of the capital’s most celebrated dishes. The hot pot used to be a brass pot with a wide outer rim around a chimney and a charcoal burner underneath. Nowadays electric pot is used. Water containing mushrooms and dried shrimps is boiled in a pot. Thin pieces of raw mutton are cooked with chopsticks in a self-service pot of boiling water. Diners dip thin slices of chopsticks in a self-service pot of boiling water. Diners dip thin slices of raw mutton into the water, where the meat cooks rapidly. The cooked slices are then dipped into a sauce. This cooking method ensures that the meat is both tender, and tasty. Cabbage, noodles and pea starch noodles and gradually added to the boiling water, which becomes a very rich broth drunk at the end of the meal.

Red mansions Banquet :
Generally speaking in famous literary works, none excels the classic novel A Dream of Red Mansions written by Cao Xueqin(?---1763) in the description of gourmet of table delicacies. With regard to the more than 400 characters of the Ning Mansion and the Rong Mansion, the book gives spectacular details of banquets, big or small, seasonal delicacies, tonics of four seasons, fine pastries, gruel, soups, noodles and top quality wines as well. The description of these delicacies is not only closely linked with the characterization and plot of the monumental works, but also gives a complete devoted readers of the book in the past and at the present regret being unable to savour in person the delicious food described by Cao Xueqing.

Tan Cuisine :
Tan Cuisine originated in the household of Tan Zongjun, a bureaucrat of the late Qing Dynasty. Very particular about their food and drink, Tan Zongjun and his son Tang ZhuangQing would pay high fees to hire skilled chefs to cook at their home. In this way the Tan family created a cuisine based on Guangdong cuisine, one that incorporates the best elements of house gradually made their cuisine famous. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the then impoverished Tan opened a small restaurant, and thus Tan element of home-style cooking in Beijing households.

Barbecued Meat :
Barbecued Meat is a Manchu dish which has now become a Beijing specialty. More then 300 years ago it was the custom for Qing officials in Beijing to go on picnics in the hills around the capital on the Double Ninth Festival (the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar). They would bring with them boiled beef or mutton, various seasonings and garnishes, and an iron pan for re-cocking the meat. In some attractive spot they would build a fire, heat the pan over it and sear the cold boiled meat in the pan. The seared meat was then dipped into soy sauce and mashed garlic before being eaten. This dish was gradually introduced into restaurants. About eight years ago, the recipe was changed to make the meat more palatable: raw beef or mutton was cut into thin slices and marinated before searing. This kind of barbecued meat then became very popular.

Beijing famous local restaurant

Quanjude Restaurant is the most famous roast duck restaurant in Beijing, go to for details

Donglaishun

The Donglaishun Restaurant was established in 1903. It is known in Beijing as the No. 1 instant-boiled mutton restaurant with a history of more than one hundred years for its careful picking and processing of mutton, rich seasoning, and blazing hot pots. It has developed four series of delicacies¨Cinstant-boiled dishes, stir-fired dishes, quick-fired dishes, and roast dishes.

Dadong
What is unique about Dadong roast duck is its being crisp and not greasy. Its skin is more crisp and soft, and less greasy, than that of roast duck served in other restaurants. Its aroma hits your nose at some distance from your table. It's so soft that it melts in your mouth instantly; so it suits the senior citizens, in particular.

The restaurant has a special way of processing the duck, with strict rules on the duration of the dressed duck's immersion in hot water, the temperature of refrigeration, dryness, and the duration and degree of heating. While traditional processing makes the duck rid of some of its nutritional elements, the process employed by Dadong ensures that they are fully retained and well balanced.

The Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant features two more brand dishes¨CShark Fin in Red Flower Sauce and Dong's Sea Cucumber. The most frequently ordered dishes are: Australian beef with abalone sauce, goose liver with mushroom sauce, tongzicai, crystal goose liver, roast river eel, spicy jiayu (terrapin), and bird's nest duck.

The restaurant has an elegant and ornate ambience. The exquisitely fashioned copper-nail-studded walls used to be the mullions when the place was a part of the imperial palace of Ming and Qing dynasties; the windows open onto clusters of lush bamboo. It's a perfect choice for dinners with your business partners.

The Duck King
The Duck King Roast Duck Restaurant offers roast duck (hung over fires of fruit tree wood while being cooked) and new-style duck dishes, Hunan dishes, Sichuan dishes, Canton dishes, and sea food. Duck dishes are accompanied by Canton home-style dishes instead of Sichuan or Shandong dishes, as they traditionally are. Canton dishes taste much less strong than Shandong dishes, and are more delicate. They have proven to be very popular with our customers.

Traditional roasting technique plus innovation by the new generation chefs results in roast ducks with purplish red crisp skin, tender flesh, no grease under the skin, and melting softness. They do not taste greasy, because grease becomes as crisp as the skin in the roasting oven.

Bianyifang
As is known among long-time dwellers of Beijing, Bianyifang has a longer history than Quanjude. The restaurant started as a small shop selling delicious roast duck at a low price. But, It was very popular, and people who frequented the place dubbed it pianyifang, or the inexpensive shop. As its business boomed, its selling point changed from pianyi, or low price, to bianyi, or convenience and delightfulness, hence the change of its name from pianyifang to bianyifang.

Ducks sold at this restaurant are not roasted over open fire, but in a closed tile oven measuring about one square meter. First the oven is heated to a certain temperature with sorghum stalks. Then the fire is put out, the dressed duck is placed in an iron hood within the oven, and the oven is shut. So the duck is actually cooked by the heat from charcoal fire underneath and the walls of the oven. When done, it tastes wonderful, with purplish red, gleaming, crisp skin and tender, white flesh.

Barbecue Park
Barbecue Park was established in 1686. Here meat for barbecue is very carefully chosen: it must come from a four- or five-year-old castrated bull or dairy cow weighing over 150 kg. Only the tenderest parts¨Csuch as spareribs and tenderloin¨Care used, and all the muscles are plucked out. The meat is cut with great skill and exquisitely seasoned, before it is roasted over carefully picked pine branches, apricot wood, and pear wood. When done, it is succulent yet not greasy, and lean yet not bony.

Whether beef or mutton, its muscles must be rejected and cut into slices some six millimeters thick, and mixed with varied seasonings, such as sesame oil, soy sauce, shrimp oil, cooking wine, ginger sauce, refined sugar, monosodium glutamate, shallot slices, and parsley. On the grill it gives off an intense aroma. It is popular with the customers from across the world.

Fangshan
The 70-year-old Fangshan Restaurant is situated in the Beihai Park. It is well-known at home and abroad for its court dishes, especially cakes, pastries, and dishes originating from the Forbidden City in Qing Dynasty. The beautiful scenery it commands, its palace-style gallery, and its plain yet elegant furnishings make it a charming place to dine.

The restaurant offers over 800 court dishes. The most special among them are phoenix-tail shark fin, jade abalone, first-rank bird' s nest, fried shrimp, tribute fish, and quick-fried chicken chest. Famous refreshments are: mashed pea cake, kidney bean roll, (steamed cake made of corn flour), and sesame-seed baked flat cake with meat filling.

The most renowned dish made by Fangshan is the Complete Manchu and Han Banquet. In making the banquet, expensive materials such as eight treasures of the mountain, eight treasures of the ocean, eight treasures of the fowls, and eight treasures of the herb are used; some of the dishes are roasted in the Manchu style, and some are stewed, braised, boiled, or fried in the Han style. It is little short of an encyclopedia of Manchu and Han food culture. A complete version of the banquet is divided into 4 to 6 meals. For the convenience of its customers, the restaurant has launched a new version compressing the banquet into one meal by offering the pick of the bunch.

Nanlaishun
Nanlaishun was first opened in 1937. The original restaurant was located in the Gongping Market, Tianqiao. The boss, Shi Kunsheng, whose nickname was 'quick-fired tripe Shi', had but a dozen or so employees. He made a roaring business selling a limited variety of quick-fired, roasted, or instant-boiled Muslim dishes with a distinct flavor.

In 1956, when the whole trade was converted into joint state-private enterprises, all the well-known snack stall owners were merged into the Tongfuhe Tea and Cookie Shop. In 1961, it was merged with Nanlaishun Snack Shop to form the Nanlaishun Restaurant. Since then, the restaurant has been a showcase of the skills of the best Muslim food chefs and snack chefs in the city, and a constant source of delight for its distinct Beijing style.

The restaurant offers the following famous snacks:

Merry laughter, honeyed fried dough twist, sweet bee cake, sliced cake, salty short cake, sesame-seed baked flat cake, twist, big/small fried dough twist, roast spareribs and ginger shreds, doughnut, thin and crisp, jellied beancurd, almond tea, bean porridge, steamed cake made of corn flour, mashed pea cake, almond and beancurd, bean jelly, lotus leaf porridge, a variety of rice cakes, mutton instant-boiled in hotpot, quick-fried tripe, white soup and chopsuey, stir-fried dough balls, spicy beancurd, quick-fried paste, and roll.

The Tans' Cuisine
The Tans' Cuisine (a kind of Officials' home cuisine) refers to the banquet dishes handed down in the family of Tan Zongjun, a feudal bureaucrat who lived in the late Qing Dynasty. It was also known as 'the Runner-up Cuisine', because Tan was the runner-up in the imperial examination held in the 2nd year (1863) in the reign of Emperor Tongzhi. The century-old cuisine was the only one of its kind that has survived till today. It is exclusively offered by the Beijing Hotel.

Jinyang Restaurant
The premises of the Jingyang Restaurant were adapted from a courtyard-style compound which was the residence of Ji Xiaolan, Secretary of the Grand Council in the reign of Emperor Qianlong (reigned from 1736 to 1795) of Qing Dynasty, and the chief compiler of the Complete Works of Chinese Classics. The houses and the courtyard exude an ambience of classical elegance and seclusion, with scenic spots such as the old sites of the Yuewei Thatched House, Begonia Charms, and Subdued Fragrance of Wistaria.

Jinyang is renowned in the food business circle of Beijing as the first large restaurant in the city specializing in authentic Shanxi cuisine.It was awarded the titles of 'Long-standing Chinese Brand', 'State-level First-class Restaurant', 'Four-star Restaurant Affiliated with the Beijing Tourism Administration', and one of the 'Green Food Corporations of the Country' by the former Ministry of Domestic Trade.

The restaurant offers not only banquets of all descriptions, but also Chinese-style delicacies of different tastes Aromatic crisp duck, one of its brand dishes, was awarded the Golden Caldron Prize by the former Ministry of Commerce. Other famous dishes include wenxi cake, cat' s ear (a kind of edible

Hongbinlou
Set up in 1853 (the 3rd year of Emperor Xianfeng' s reign in the Qing Dynasty), it is a famous Moslem restaurant with a history of over 150 years. In 1955, the restaurant was formerly located in Tianjin, and was moved to Litieguai Byway out of Hepingmen in Beijing. After that, Hongbinlou was expanded and moved to different places several times. At the end of 1998, it was moved to the present address in No. 11 Zhanlan Road in Xicheng District from West Chang' an Avenue. Named after a phrase from Rite goes "swan goose comes as a guest", it majors in Tianjin Moslem food and is famed as the "No. 1 Moslem restaurant in Beijing". It is featured with Tianjin-style river fish. Mr. Guo Moruo made an acrostic for it goes "Swan goose comes with warm breeze, guests and friends full-seated and want more dishes, the tower has a flaming red spanner on the roof, good men never dares of adversity.", indicating "Hongbinlou (Swan goose guest tower) Good".

Featured dishes: Shark' s Fin with Sliced Chicken, Stir-Fried Lamb Maw with Caraway, Lamb Head in Casserole, PlainFricasseedFish Chip, Fried and Boiled Pawns, Braised Beef Tendons, Braised Ox Tail in Soy Sauce, etc