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Best local food in Beijing

Best local food in Beijing


Beijing is usually a city of extremes. It’s the capital of China and one of the world’s largest cities, but it also has some of the best food in all of Asia. The locals are very proud of their cuisine, a mix of traditional Chinese dishes with influences from other parts of the country. Beijing is a great place to sample local foods because you can find them everywhere: at restaurants, street vendors, and even on the menus of most hotels. Many tourist-oriented places will have English menus, so if you don’t speak Mandarin, you should be able to figure out what they’re serving. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the best local food in Beijing


1. Roast Duck

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Beijing is roast duck. The Manchus introduced this dish during the Qing Dynasty. They brought it back from Russia, initially called “Peking duck” or “Manchu duck.” Today, the Peking duck is considered an iconic part of Beijing culture. There are many different ways to prepare it, but the most common is to deep fry the skin before roasting the meat inside. You can get burned duck anywhere, but the best ones are usually found near the Lama Temple.

2. Eel

Eels are not native to China, but they were introduced there during the Ming Dynasty. They’ve become quite popular over the years, especially among tourists who like to try new things. Nowadays, the eel can be found almost anywhere, including fancy restaurants. One of the best places for eel is in the Dongcheng District, particularly around Wudaokou. If you want to experience real eels, go to the market to buy live eels in the morning. Then cook them yourself at home.

3. Hot Pot

Hot pot is another type of soup dumplings that originated in Beijing. It’s an enjoyable dining experience, as well as an easy way to try lots of delicious flavors. The broth is served hotpot style, meaning that diners bring their ingredients such as meats, vegetables, seafood, and tofu to add to the boiling pot. Some people come prepared with a list of ingredients and specific orders, while others show up with whatever they can scrounge up at the last minute. At the end of the meal, everyone gets ladled into small bowls with the leftovers to eat later.

4. Donkey Burgers

This is among the famous dish among foreigners in Beijing. Donkey burgers are donkey meatballs, which are then pan-fried until crispy. The taste isn’t too bad, though some may find it a little gamey. But still, the combination of spicy sauce, crunchy breading, and tender beef makes for a pretty good snack. Donkeys used for eating are primarily raised in Sichuan province, around Mianyang. These days, donkey meat is often sold frozen. When buying frozen donkey burgers, make sure to check whether they contain any added sauces.

5. Beggar’s Chicken Soup

In recent years, beggars’ chicken soup has become a phenomenon in Beijing. For only 10 cents per bowl, you can enjoy a nice warm cup of chicken soup full of noodles, shredded chicken, and veggies. The soup is meant to help cure illnesses and improve your health, and some people believe that it works!. If you take this dish home, remember to remove the chicken feet. It’s considered lucky to keep them!

6. Dry Wok Potato Wedges

Potato wedges are one of the classic dishes in Chinese cuisine. Many Chinese love them so much that we have our very own potato chip industry – the dry wok variety. Dry wok chips are cooked twice: fried, then baked until crisp and golden brown. And because of their high salt content, they’re perfect with tea or coffee. Remember, this dish is traditionally served on New Year’s Eve unless you’re living in Beijing.

7. Jiaozi

Jiaozi are typically filled with pork, cabbage, and sometimes spinach. There are many ways to wrap jiaozi, but the most common methods are Shao Jiao, Tofu skin wrapping, and mala. Dumpling recipes vary by region across China. In general, wrappings are thin compared to Western standards, and fillings are relatively simple. Jiaozi can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.

8. Roasted Duck Egg Timbale

Timbales are small individual pastries usually made from choux paste, although other types of dough can also be used. This timbale recipe contains duck eggs, which might sound weird, but it tastes great. The filling includes minced duck breast, spring onion, roasted peanuts, and egg yolks. After baking, the timbale is served piping hot and topped with hoisin sauce.

9. Lion’s Head Meatball Soup

Meatball soup is a famous Hunanese specialty, and there are several different varieties of meatball soups. This recipe features lion’s head meatballs, shaped like lions’ heads, and are generally stuffed with ground lamb. They get their name because they resemble the real thing. Lion’s head meatballs are usually served over rice, but you could quickly eat them as an appetizer instead. So if you visit Beijing, don’t forget to try this soup.

10. Peking Duck

Peking duck is another specialty from Beijing, and there are many places to try it. The traditional way to serve pheasant is with pancakes, while duck is more commonly prepared wrapped in lettuce leaves. Another version of duck is steamed and is eaten with pancakes, vegetables, and honeyed dates.

11. Steamed Bun

A steamed bun is a soft bun often topped with scallions and pickles and flavored with sesame oil. Unlike hamburgers, steamed buns are not grilled but steamed slowly throughout the day. You can find steamed buns at street vendors around town or in restaurants where you order Chinese food. For example, in Beijing’s Wangfujing Street, there are over 20 different kinds of steamed buns on offer.

12. Crispy Lamb Skewers

Lamb skewers are a popular snack in China, and Beijing has some delicious ones. First off, lamb is always best when slow-cooked into a tender texture, and this method does the trick. Of course, you don’t want to miss out on these tasty sticks because they’re easy to overcook. If you end up burning your kebabs, use the same technique for beef or chicken. Just make sure you oversee the skewers.


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Beatrice Nelson

Explorer. Extreme communicator. Problem solver. Alcohol buff. Beer geek. Twitter nerd. Bacon lover. Food fan. Wannabe tv fanatic. Managed a small team deploying velcro in Bethesda, MD. Spent a weekend working with hobos in the financial sector. What gets me going now is merchandising plush toys in Ocean City, NJ. Garnered an industry award while merchandising dandruff for the government. At the moment I'm short selling Slinkies in New York, NY. Spent 2001-2006 researching terrorism in Salisbury, MD.