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Beijing dining


cwyc
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Rick,

We're ahead of you in the itinerary, having done Beijing, Xi'an and Chengdu. We're in Yangshuo now. Unfortunately, I'm only getting posts up now for Beijing, and Xi'an'll be a few more days coming.

For Beijing, cut yourself some time to do the stalls off of Wangfujing one evening. And I really liked the Loft for Shanxi noodles. They've got a lot on their menu that I'd go back for.

Xi'an was a lot better than I'd hoped for, and the selection of foods in the Muslim quarter was fun.

Chengdu....get to the beer streets. I'll get back to my notes later and give details. They do a great assortment of odds and ends that is way too good to miss. Also, I can give you a rec on cooking school in Chengdu.

Cheers.

Peter

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mm post pictures from chengdu. I fancy going there asap. Went a long while ago when I had no good way of navigating the streets and it was wonderful then. But I'd bet very little tops traveling chengdu for food! (though changsha and guangzhou might make it to the top as well!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was taken out last weekend to an interesting restaurant that might be a nice change of pace from Peking Duck-fests if you're visiting Beijing.

It's on Sanlitun Beixiaojie 三里屯北小街 right by the 'Gold Barn' and it's called 一座一忘 -In and Out is the English name (tel: 84540086).

It's food from the Li River in the south and very nice it is too as a break from Northern food. We had some very delicious scrambled eggs with jasmine flowers, a very tasty -slighty chilli-hot fish dish (which I never found out the name of as our hosts had ordered before we arrived), lovely vegetable soup, good cross-the-bridge noodles and an almost Thai-like beef dish with holy basil - but we didn't get to try the bugs, which apparently are a speciality of the restaurant.

It's also quite fun as they serve the traditional half-fermented rice wine out of the bamboo tubes and it's all very jolly with people's memories of the Lijiang area stuck up on the walls. Not too expensive (about 60-70RMB a head).

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I really liked Pure Lotus, a posh and stylish vegetarian restaurant with a fusion-ish slant. They have two locations, I went to the Holiday Inn Lido, a big shopping center with what I think is the best name for a bowling alley ever: Cosmic Bowling.

The food was very creative and sometimes strange, but mostly very delicious. nice noodles with something hot in it and something preserved and sour as well. the dumplings were delish, the imitation pork spareribs very tasty, we fought for the last morsels, trying not to appear as greedy as we really were. tel: 87036668 64376288

the other restaurant that we returned to over and over again, was a simple, homey, and very inexpensive place out in men tou gou district (we were staying out there).

the food was so extra-ordinary though the place looked very ordinary: the usual dishes, really wonderful duck, and i thought the fungus, served as a salad, was the best, just super! stir-fries of meat with chillies, a huge menu. i liked the cucumber salad with a dab of chile paste one day, a blob of deep fried chillies another.

the pinyan pronounciation of the name is bai hua jia chang cai, and i've been told it means something like "many flowers, home-cooking, roast duck restaurant". during the day the manager speaks english, in the evening there was no one who did. but it didn't matter, as they have a nice menu with big photos, and anyway, almost everything was tasty so it didn't really matter what we got. go with a lot of people and get a lot of things! tel: 010 69826567

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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I really enjoyed my dinner at the Loft. Shanxi food with a nice bit of vinegar. I'd concentrated on the noodle dishes, but there's enough left over on that menu that I'm planning on hitting it up again when I'm next in Beijing.

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Loft's Suckling lamb.......yummmmmmmm!

On a slightly less Homer Simpson-esque note, I thought people coming to Beijing in the next while might want to know that the Qianmen Quanjude is closed now for renovations.

The whole article on the restaurant and how they are keeping the 'sacred' fires alight (the fire hasn't gone out since 1864) is here:

Quanjude Renovations

BTW, outside of the restaurant, the whole area is being pedestrianized, so you will be able to get completely drunk on baijiu and then stagger out onto the street without risk of being promptly run over by a bus :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to dominate this thread, but I thought it would be a useful place to post notes of various Beijing restaurants that I've enjoyed.

Last night, we went to the Sichuan Government Office Restaurant... or as the short name goes, 川办餐厅 (chuan ban canting).

The first good sign is when we get there, there's a HUGE queue. On a Thursday night. Everyone and their neighbour is hanging around waiting for a table munching on sunflower seeds kindly provided by the management. The sight of a long queue in a city of several myriads of restaurants gladdened my heart (but saddened my weary feet) and we marched up, got a number and joined the masses.

[Not to mention that next door was a shop full of Sichuan speciality food products! I myself scored a few bags of Pi Xian Dou Ban Jiang while waiting]

The wait was worth it. The food was great and very cheap - particularly for the area (it's just off Jiangguomen nei).

We had a couple of cold dishes: Country style aubergine/eggplant (which was deliciously garlicky and spicy) and a mouth numbing cold chicken which just pure ma 麻 without any la 辣 (it came swimming in a sea of Sichuan peppercorns). I tried to order the enticingly names 'wolf-sprout greens' but they had already sold out of these...

The hot dishes included the best Huiguorou 回锅肉 I've had so far. It was perfectly balanced and had some lovely pickled veg throw into up the flavour. We also had some lovely steamed ribs with sticky rice, baicai swimming in deep yellow chicken fat and some little fried sesame buns stuffed with fatty pork (YUM!)

In all, it was very enjoyable and the cooking was great. The ambience is definitely old skool Chinese (lots of shouting, smoking, ash on the floor, etc..) as are the prices - our meal came to 95RMB, 24 of which was on beer.

The address is:

贡院头条 5 号 (Gong4yuan4tou2tiao2 number 5) and it's down a small hutong and through a courtyard.

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I'd like some restaurant help. I'm going to be studying Mandarin in Beijing for a little more then five weeks, and I'd like some cheap-but-good food in the area near my school. It'd also be nice if these places are okay with young solo females/I wouldn't look weird, although judging by the guidebooks that shouldn't be a big deal in Beijing. The school has three locations.... here's what the website says-

"The schools in Beijing have three locations in the central area of the city. The first is located in the Guang Ming Hotel near the Embassy area and the Lufthansa shopping center. The second is in the e-Tower near the Chinese World Trade Center. Thethird lies right within the Imperial Ancestral Temple—inside the most charming and peaceful part of Beijing, the Forbidden City."

Any ideas?

Oh, and for the first few days, my parents will be with me, which means we can go expensive...I've found some neat options in the thread so far, but if anyone has any other tips, I'd love em'. We're very used to Chinese food and are open to trying anything. We especially like lamb and seafood, although apparantly that's not something you want to mess with in Beijing... (well, hey, we're going to Hong Kong too!)

I'm bringing my camera and hope to produce a massive trip report to share when I get back. It should be fun.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This recommendation is near the Forbidden City - so good for any travellers!

We were in the area visiting a friend who's lucky enough to have a courtyard house just off the Nanchizi Road in a hutong by the side of the Forbidden city. When we left to make way for her kids who'd got back hungry from school, she let slip that there was a good Hunan place nearby.

Of course, we had to go!

刘家锅酒楼 - Liujiaguo Restaurant was a very pleasant surprise indeed. The food was not as searingly spicy as we expected but was incredibly tasty. The service was pretty good for an 'ole-skool' restaurant and quite friendly.

We ordered the 'Mouth watering' chicken (very nicely done and very balanced in flavour), and then went a bit pork crazy with a 腊肉 la-style meat dish, a plate of 'fired gristle' and a big bowl of fried cauliflower.

Fried Cauliflower?!?!?!

Yes, and it was the MOST delicious cauliflower I have ever had (and I have made the infamous cauliflower 'fries'). It was fried with whole cloves of garlic, garlic shoots, bits of fatty pork and lots of soyasauce. The cauliflower was almost burnt, and was darkly brown -caramalized. It was heaven!

The La-rou was done with chinese celery, chile peppers and was very cured and fatty. I liked it enough to force my SO from eating too much so I could get it wrapped and have it today. As for the gristle, if you are a cartilege lover as I am, it was BLISS. Lovely slices of, yes, gristle with red peppers and lots of onion.

It was a bit of a pork-out I'm afraid due to the greed of myself. Actually, the place is supposed to be famous for its lake and river fish. and the other dinners did look like they were enjoying it!

The other thing to add, is that they had some nice draft beer on tap in the colours of: yellow, black and ................green!

Despite the fact it wasn't St. Patrick's day, I went ahead and ordered the green. It was (I kid you not!), Spirullina beer! Yes, healthy AND alcoholic! What better combination could there be?!?!

Actually, the green beer was rather good - not nasty at all with a pleasant slightly sweet taste. The yellow tasted like a fresh wheat beer and the black was rich and rather like a thin stout with notes of caramalized soya-sauce.

I didn't have my camera with me or else, I would have graced this report with a picture of all the beers lined up - it was a pretty sight!

Total spend was about 130RMB including three large beers.

Address:

刘家锅酒楼 - on Nanheyan Street 南河沿大街 19 号 (about 300m north from the Guibinlou). 65241487

ALSO at Dongsishitiao 东四十条 102 号(at the crossroads of Pingan Street). 64019131

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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  • 4 months later...

Just a quick update - the restaurant above appears to be closed on Nanheyan road. I don't know about the Dongsi location. We were passing by on a way to a party nearby - where the food was lovely...an eclectic mix of lamb kebabs, cheese and olives, shuizhuyu 水煮鱼, pigs trotters and chocolate birthday cake :smile:

Also, we've now been back to the Sichuan Government Restaurant a few times and I can firmly confirm that it ROCKS!! The only horrible thing is the line-up for a table.

Last night we had their 'old-duck' soup, eels with chilis and whole garlic cloves, a selection of snacks (including great dandan noodles!) and other delights. We were even sat in the non-smoking section (which I didn't think existed!). :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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This week I went back to the Sichuan Government restaurant - again, truly delicious food (though I did suffer a bit with the chile and garlic cooked eel dish - wow! it was uber garlicky) and we discovered that they actually have a non-smoking room :biggrin: !!!

Hurray!

And yesterday, finally got to the new Da Dong branch at Dongsishitiao. I got the totally mystified cab driver to drop us at the old storehouses by the new Poly Plaza and walked from there but there is a drop off in front of the door (if your cab driver isn't totally as clueless as they normally are).

It was amazing! Very, very good duck - not greasy at all, yet still "ducky". But what was really good were the other dishes. The best Spring onion fried beef 葱爆牛肉 I've ever had. The only down side was the bill :sad: we spent 800 kuai (but 300 of that was on a bottle of baijiu) which is a lot (in our eyes) for 4 of us.

Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey gang,

I have the opportunity to run around beijing for something tiny like 48 hours. That's much, much less time than I would like to visit. But you can't be picky when it's a free trip!

I'm looking for some solid food recommendations. Not looking for anything fancy. Just really tasty food that shouldn't be missed in beijing. Any suggestions? I'm all ears.

- mat

edit: groan. A tad hungover today from multiple birthday celebrations last night. Beijing! Beijing! but I can't change the title.

Moderator's Note: The title has been corrected.

Edited by TAPrice (log)
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Hey gang,

I have the opportunity to run around beijing for something tiny like 48 hours.  That's much, much less time than I would like to visit.  But you can't be picky when it's a free trip!

I'm looking for some solid food recommendations.  Not looking for anything fancy.  Just really tasty food that shouldn't be missed in beijing.  Any suggestions?  I'm all ears.

- mat

edit: groan.  A tad hungover today from multiple birthday celebrations last night.  Beijing! Beijing! but I can't change the title.

Moderator's Note: The title has been corrected.

I envy your trip -- if only for such a short time. If it were me, I would just graze on street food, starting with jian bing and going on to whatever scents and aromas draw me. I wouldn't even stop to sleep --- just graze! {{{{{sigh}}}}}

Edited by jo-mel (log)
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I would definitely go to the newer Da Dong duck restaurant - I was blown away but some fo the food there!!

It's by the New Poly Plaza on Dongsi Shitiao - in the new complex right west of the old storehouses.

Great duck - but also has other delicious dishes too!

So that's the Kaoya covered - what else would you like to eat? I bring a lot of out of town guests for Xinjiang food - as a lot of them don't have the time to go to Xinjiang!

Do you want traditional / modern? Beijing food only or other stuff?

What area will you be in (don't want to waste your time in the perpetual traffic jam!!)?

Sorry for the questions, but there's SO much to eat here! :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hope it's not too late to advise you !

I would recommend the Liqun Roast Duck restaurant. It is quite famous and located in an old hutong which was in the middle of being knocked down. Pretty difficult to find but worth the effort. The Beijing duck is fantastic !

Will try and think of some more if not too late...

Rgds

Rick

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  • 1 month later...

I have just seen the episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on China. They featured a noodle house in Beijing. It is very modern. And they have an open kitchen where the chefs do all kinds of fancy things to make noodles. For example: they throw the noodle threads from 3 to 4 feet away to a pot of boiling water. And some cut the noodle into 2 inch pieces and throw them from 6 to 8 feet away into a pot of boiling water.

Does anybody know the name of that restaurant in Beijing (and address)?

They separate the noodle from the sauces so you can eat the noodle with different sauces. Is this restaurant really good? Or that's all just for shows?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I have just seen the episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on China.  They featured a noodle house in Beijing.  It is very modern.  And they have an open kitchen where the chefs do all kinds of fancy things to make noodles.  For example:  they throw the noodle threads from 3 to 4 feet away to a pot of boiling water.  And some cut the noodle into 2 inch pieces and throw them from 6 to 8 feet away into a pot of boiling water.

Does anybody know the name of that restaurant in Beijing (and address)?

They separate the noodle from the sauces so you can eat the noodle with different sauces.  Is this restaurant really good?  Or that's all just for shows?

I'm pretty sure that it's Loft (the Dawang Lu branch) that he goes to. I think I've reviewed it already above. It serves Shanxi cooking - which is, of course, based on noodles and vinegar hence the chinese name of the restaurant: 面醋

It's pretty darned good - not quite real authentic Shanxi (now that I've been there!) but tasty and fun - and a great place to bring out of towners for a visit because it's elegant looking yet interesting as well. There are TWO branches of it and there's also Hot Loft and Pink Loft (the former for hot pot, the later for Thai food) which are run by the same people.

The open kitchen is fun - and they really don't mind showing off their skills while visitors run around taking photos. If you want to sit by the kitchen, though - you have to ask as they'll often put you upstairs on the second floor.

(the noodle+sauce choice of combinations is one of the most bewildering things about ordering noodles in Shanxi - I'm never sure if I've put the most suitable sauce with the right noodles! :sad: Last time I was in Shanxi though I ate with the manager of one of Taiyuan's oldest restaurants - his combos were Excellent!)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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And while I'm here....

An onslaught of visitors pre-Christmas led me to go to DaDong Restaurant 大董烤鸭店 twice in one week - and I have to say that now I am certain that is the best duck I've had in Beijing. Consistent, not-greasy, good flavour -it's got everything going for it.

Also, I got to taste a much greater variety of the non-duck dishes these times and I must say that they were all terrific. Very balanced and innovative.

Due to my visitors' generosity (and a Media wine-launch tasting dinner -hee hee!), I also got to enjoy the newly opened Whampoa Club 黄埔会 on Financial Street (金融街) TWICE in one week.

Both times were truly wonderful.If there was ever a 'destination dining' spot in Beijing this is IT!

The menu is based on such traditional Beijing dishes as Peking duck, but presented and ‘tweaked’ in a beautiful and modern style - I wish that I had taken pictures!

I had such Beijing classics as the mustardy-pickled cabbage but they were presented in beautiful rolls with wasabi jelly and scallop additions.

Particularly lovely was the dessert of Tang Hu Lu 糖葫芦. Instead of the huge long skewers of candy-coated crabapples, the restaurant had them on little individual skewers stuck into a mound of ice and done very delicately with a very thin candy coating – and they came with side dishes of dark and white chocolate dipping sauce. The 炸酱面 zhajiangmian was outstanding (as it should be at 48RMB a bowl!!!!) as well and the twice cooked lamb shank with cumin was delicious.

In all, I really like the way that Mr. Leung has captured the essential flavours of Beijing (with Lu and Dongbei influences) and has made them modern and elegant. It’s a bit of a blowout restaurant (I would recommend ordering carefully from the a la carte – the set menus are REALLY expensive) – and the wine list is over-priced (a bottle of Grace Vineyard’s Premium Chardonnay -which is 108 on shelf and 380 at the Kempinski- is about 460RMB here!). But this still is a very exciting place to try Beijing food done in a style that I have never experienced before.

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I'm pretty sure that it's Loft (the Dawang Lu branch) that he goes to. I think I've reviewed it already above. It serves Shanxi cooking - which is, of course, based on noodles and vinegar hence the chinese name of the restaurant: 面醋

Thank you for the info Feng Yi. I knew it was probably reviewed/mentioned before but I just couldn't tie a name to the restaurant.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 5 months later...
Going to Beijing in the beginning of July, and was wondering if there is a good knife and kitchen utensil shop that is recomended. Also, is there a fishmarked that is a must-see?

No fish market to speak of - though there are nice markets around.

If you want to see some interesting utensils: try the wholesale hotel and catering market that is located on the south bank of the Tonghui river at the corner of Da Wang LU. Be careful not to get run over, and walk Eastwards from Dawang lu until you hit the absolute end of the market area (about 10 minutes). There's a load of shops selling everything and anything and cash payment and bargaining needed.

There's also some cookware stores in the centre of town (on Dianmen street), but many are shut down and don't have the neat stuff at the wholesale market.

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Going to Beijing in the beginning of July, and was wondering if there is a good knife and kitchen utensil shop that is recomended. Also, is there a fishmarked that is a must-see?

No fish market to speak of - though there are nice markets around.

If you want to see some interesting utensils: try the wholesale hotel and catering market that is located on the south bank of the Tonghui river at the corner of Da Wang LU. Be careful not to get run over, and walk Eastwards from Dawang lu until you hit the absolute end of the market area (about 10 minutes). There's a load of shops selling everything and anything and cash payment and bargaining needed.

There's also some cookware stores in the centre of town (on Dianmen street), but many are shut down and don't have the neat stuff at the wholesale market.

Thank you. Im looking foreward to it.

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how about Maison Boulud à Pékin? anyone been?

It's not open yet - the latest projected date is July 22 2008.

I think the Legation Quarter cafe may be open in time for your visit - but don't hold your breath - it's running stunningly behind schedule. :rolleyes:

Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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