Beijing has been the capital city of China since the Yuan dynasty. A centre for China’s cultural heritage, famous for well-known sites such as The Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven, Beijing is a city known for its profound history.
However, there is more to Beijing than just its temples and palaces. One of the best parts of visiting Beijing is trying out the amazing variety of food that it has to offer. From its best street food to restaurant delicacies, here’s some of the best food in Beijing that you need to try!
Peking Duck is a delicacy that has been served in China for thousands of years, and has become synonymous with Beijing itself. The deliciously roasted duck is served in slices or finely shredded with pancakes, slices of cucumber and spring onion. It is also served with the crispy duck skin as a side delicacy, which is almost as tasty as the duck meat itself. The duck is beautifully and artfully prepared and cooked, taking over a month of preparation to achieve its unique taste. This dish is truly a taste experience unlike anything you would find outside China. An essential part of sampling Peking duck is dipping the slices of duck meat or skin into sugar and holding it in your mouth until the sugar melts – it will blow your mind!
Bringing the world
Hot Pot Cooking
Although hot pot dishes are a part of Sichuan cuisine, specific Hot Pot restaurants are a must-try experience while in Beijing. You’ll find in the middle of your table an in-built hot pot dish ready for you to cook your meal right in front of you. The restaurant staff will bring you your ingredients as you al start crafting your hot pot dish together, talking away over a hot bubbling cauldron. This type of restaurant-dining really builds upon the communal-aspect of Chinese food culture, and is a really fun experience to have of Beijing.
Bean Cakes and Mooncakes or yuè bǐng are a particular kind of baked cake and are sold all year round, but are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Great as a quick snack or meal-on-the-go, these small cakes can be found all over Beijing from street vendors and are normally made using flaky pastry encasing a thick sweet filling made using red bean, lotus-seed or coconut paste. My favourites were ones made using red bean paste which tastes a little bit like jam, and coconut. Be careful though, not all of the cakes are filled with sweet pastes. Some have meat with cream fillings and sometimes fish, including tuna which is a little bit of a shock when you’re expecting something sweet not fishy! I learnt that the hard way!
Hawthorn Toffee Apples
Ranging from ¥5 to ¥25, these sugar-glazed hawthorn apples are a great little pick me up for a small price. Tanghulu are a little bit like the Chinese equivalent of English Toffee Apples and are sold everywhere, from food stalls down the hutongs to street vendors selling them from the back of bikes and are a must-try sweet treat while in Beijing. It’s not just apples either, you can also buy toffee-covered strawberries, grapes, olives, you name it, they’ll have it.
China is well known for its dumplings, it’s one of the foods that pops into your mind when you think of it. But what you don’t realise until you try authentic Chinese dumplings is how much better they are! Dumplings in China are a delicacy that is essential to sample in order to make every trip complete. With so many different dumplings to try, you’ll have plenty of options. Gyoza (Japanese) or Jiaozi are dumplings that are crescent-shaped and filled with juicy meat or vegetables. They are fried until golden-brown and then served with dipping sauce. Bāozi
Soybean Yogurt Drink
In China, soybean or soyabean products are a stable part of a normal weekly diet as milk is not a huge part of Chinese food following the milk scandal in 2008. While you are more likely to find soya milk than cow milk being served with your coffees or teas, soybean yoghurt drinks can be found all over Beijing. They are sold in small pots that you can drink out of and often are cheaper if you return the pots once you’ve finished drinking. These little yoghurt drinks taste a bit like natural yoghurt and are a refreshing snack or breakfast option as opposed to dumplings and should definitely be on your food bucket list alongside all the amazing food that Beijing has to offer!