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Dining In Beijing

Dining in Beijing, Beijing Cuisine, Restaurants in Beijing, Beijing Dining Guide,
Being the Chinese capital for centuries, Beijing's cuisine is very much influenced by culinary traditions from all over China, but the style that has the greatest influence on Beijing cuisine is that of Shandong cuisine. Another tradition that influenced Beijing cuisine is the Chinese imperial cuisine that originated from the Emperor's Kitchen, which referred to the cooking facilities inside the Forbidden City, where thousands of cooks from different parts of China showed their best culinary skills to please the imperial family and officials. Beijing cuisine can be characterised as follows: Foods that originated in Beijing are often snacks rather than main courses, and they are typically sold by small shops or street vendors. There is emphasis on dark soy paste, sesame paste, sesame oil, and scallions, and fermented tofu is often served as a condiment. In terms of cooking techniques, methods relating to different ways of frying are often used. There is less emphasis on rice as an accompaniment as compared to many other regions in China, as local rice production in Beijing is limited by the relatively dry climate. Dishes in Beijing cuisine that are served as main courses are mostly from other Chinese cuisines. Shandong cuisine and Huaiyang cuisine have been central to the formation of Beijing cuisine. Chinese Muslim cuisine is another important component of Beijing cuisine, and was first prominently introduced when Beijing became the capital of the Yuan Dynasty. 
As an international city, Beijing also offers many choices in western-style and non-Chinese cuisine, and the range of International cuisines in Beijing should satisfy even the most westernized of palates. Beyond this, there are plenty of fast food options, handy shopping expeditions or whenever you just need a cheese burger. McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Starbuck's Coffee, Subway Subs and Dunkin-Donuts have all established chain stores in Beijing.
Imperial Court Food in Beijing 
Imperial Court Cuisine has its origins in the Imperial Palace of the late Qing Dynasty which is renowned for its careful selection of ingredients, fine cooking techniques and colorful decorations of the dishes. Each dish has a propitious name, such as Yu Feng Huan Chao (jade phoenix returning to the royal). And some of them even have short stories. Today Imperial Court Cuisine has become a major school of Chinese cooking with several places offering this unique flavor. Fang Shan Restaurant in Beihai Park and Ting Li Guan in the Summer Palace are the best ones.
Among the menus of the Imperial Court Food, the most famous one is the Royal Feast of Complete Manchu & Han Courses. As the name suggests, the grand meal was formed on the basis of the Manchu and Han cuisines which contains one hundred and thirty-four hot dishes and forty-eight cold ones, not counting fruit and desserts. In total there should be at least one hundred and eight courses. The Complete Royal Feast of Manchu & Han is divided into six meals which last three days. It assembles eight kinds of rare raw materials from the mountain, eight rare terrestrial ones and eight rare marine ones. The best Royal Feast of Complete Manchu & Han Courses is served at Fangshan Restaurant in Beihai Park
List of Restaurants Serving Imperial Court Food in Beijing
Tingliguan Restaurant 听鹂馆饭庄
Location: In the Summer Palace, Haidian District
Tel: 010-62881955, 010-62881608
Fangshan Restaurant 仿膳饭庄
Location: In the Beihai Park, Xicheng District.
Tel: 010-64011889, 010-64011879
Yushan Restaurant 御膳饭庄
Location: No.87, Tiantan Lu (天坛路), Chongwen District
Tel: 010-67014263, 010-67014281
Imperial Official Food in Beijing
Imperial official cuisine is particular to Beijing. It is characterized by its natural taste, lightness, softness and excellent cookery. For example, when chicken or fish is cooked, no additional peppers are used to preserve the original taste. The most famous type of Official food is Tan Family Food, available in the Beijing Hotel. This is the preferred food of the Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911) official Tan Zongling, and was later introduced into restaurants which are a combination of Cantonese cuisine and Beijing cuisine.
Another type of Imperial Official food is the Red Mansion Banquet described in the classic novel, Dream of Red Mansions. This book described a number of dishes and now there are several restaurants that serve this dish. The most famous place is the Beijing Grand View Garden Hotel. Other restaurants featuring Red Mansion Banquet are the Jinglun Hotel and Laijinyuxuan Restaurant in Zhongshan Park.
List of Restaurants Serving Imperial Official Food in Beijing
Tan Jia Cai 谭家菜
Location: 7/F, Building C, Beijing Hotel, No.33, East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng District
Tel: 010-65137766-1389
Li Jia Cai 厉家菜
Location: No.11, Yangfang Hutong, Deshengmennei Dajie (德胜门内大街), Xicheng District
Tel: 010-66180107
Grand View Garden Hotel (Red Mansion Banquet) 大观园饭店
Location: No.88 Nan Cai Yuan Street, Xuan Wu District, Beijing
Tel: 010-51818899
Beijing Roast Duck
Beijing Roast duck is thought to be one of the most delicious dishes all over the world; most visitors coming to Beijing will never forget to have a try. There are two different schools of roasting duck. Some restaurants make use of a close oven and straw as the fuel, which won't make flames go directly onto the duck. Before being put into the oven, a duck is filled with specially-made soup to make it possible to roast the duck outside and boil it inside at the same time. The time-honored Bianyifang Roast Duck restaurant serves ducks cooked this way. Some restaurants use an oven without a door. After a kind of dressing being spread all over a duck, it will be hooked up in the oven over the flame coming directly from the burning of the fruit-tree wood and it will be done in forty minutes. The largest Beijing Roast Duck chains in China, Quanjude is the representative of this kind of cooking.
When roasted and dried, the duck will look brilliantly dark red, shining with oil and with crisp skin and tender meat. Because of its appearance, few people could resist the temptation of it. When the roast duck is served, the chef will show you the whole duck. Then, he will slice it into about one hundred and twenty pieces with both skin and meat for each. Usually the duck is served together with special pancakes, hollowed sesame bun, green onions and sweet sauce. Dinners can wrap duck slices, onion, and sauce in a pancake or a sesame bun with their bare hands. Sometimes people would like to put in mashed garlic and cucumber or carrot strips as well. Some young women like to dip slices into white sugar directly. Other parts of the duck will be served as either cold dishes with its livers, wings, stomach, webs and eggs, or hot dishes with its heart, tongue and kidneys. The bones can even be decocted together with Chinese watermelon and cabbage.
Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurants
Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant was established in 1864 (the third year of Tongzhi of Qing dynasty). With its long history, Quanjude roast duck is well known among both domestic and overseas customers. The duck is hung in the oven and roasted by flame burning from fruit-wood. It takes about 45 minutes for the duck to be done. The finished duck is characteristic with crispy skin, tender meat and the fragrance from the fruit-wood. It looks wonderful and appealing with a full figure, even claret color and the brightness and shine on the duck skin. It tastes pure and mellow with lotus leaf-shaped cake, scallion slices and sweet sauce jam, leaving a lasting and pleasant aftertaste. Currently Quanjude Roast Duck is the largest Roast Duck chains in China with branch restaurants located in Shanghai, Chongqing, Changchun, Harbin, Zhengzhou and Qingdao.
Bianyifang Roast Duck Restaurants
According to history, the earliest roast duck restaurant in Beijing was the old Bianyifang Restaurant, which opened during the Jiajing reign (1522-1566). Distinct from the method in which the duck is hung from a hook in the ceiling of the oven and roasted over and roasted over burning wood, the Old Bianyifang Restaurant roasted its ducks with radiant heat. The walls of the oven were first heated with sorghum stalks whereupon the duck was placed inside and cooked by the heat given off by the walls. A duck roasted in this manner is crisp to the touch and golden brown in appearance; its flesh is both tender and tasty.
Other Roast Duck Restaurants in Beijing
Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant at Nanxincang 大董烤鸭南新仓店
Location: 1-2/F, Nanxincang Int'l Building, A22, Dongsi Shitiao,
Tel: 010-5169-0328
Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant at Tuanjiehu 大董烤鸭团结湖店
Location: Bldg 3, Tuanjiehu Beikou, East Third Ring Road, Chaoyang District.
Tel: 010-6582-2892/4003/4102
Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant 利群烤鴨店
Location: 11, Beixiangfeng Hutong, Zhengyilu Nankou, Qianmen East Street
Duck King Restaurant鴨王烤鴨店
Location: No. 1, Minzuyuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Hot Pot in Beijing
There are essentially two kinds of Hot Pot restaurant in Beijing: Mongolian and Sichuan style, the staple of both being mutton. Spicy Sichuan Hot Pot divides into half-spicy, half-not while the Mongolian Hot Pot is not spicy, and usually consists of vegetables and seafood. The pot itself is made of brass, with a wide outer rim where charcoal burns to heat liquid. Once boiling, the stock is used to quickly cook a range of ingredients. After a few seconds the meat and vegetables are ready to eat and dipped in a smooth sesame butter sauce that is delicious and incredibly filling! The most famous Mongolian Hot Pot restaurant is the century old Dong Lai Shu restaurant which is now a nation wide restaurant chain. There are over 10 Dong Lai Shun Hot Pot restaurants located in different areas of Beijing. The Dong Lai Shun Hot Pot restaurant located inside the Sun Dongan Shopping Mall is supposed to be the most authentic one. The spicy and delicious Sichuan style Hot Pot is represented by another Hot Pot Chains named Hai Di Lao which is operating about six restaurants in Beijing.
Vegetarian Food in Beijing
Chinese vegetarian dishes often contain large varieties of vegetables and some imitation meat. The imitation meat is created mostly with soy protein and/or wheat gluten to imitate the texture, taste, and appearance of duck, chicken, or pork. Chinese vegetarian dishes display a harmonious balance of colors and textures as well as flavors. Interestingly, you will frequently find dishes resembling a type of meat or seafood. For example, in Fried Mock Oyster, mashed tofu pieces are shaped like an oyster.
Recommended Vegetarian Restaurants in Beijing
Merits and Virtues Vegetarian House功德林(Gong De Lin)
Location: No.158, Qianmen Dajie, Chongwen District, Beijing
Tel: 010-65112542
Lotus in Moonlight Vegetarian Restaurant荷塘月色 (He Tang Yue Se)
Location: 3/F, the 3rd Cultural Center, No.66, West 4th North Ring Road, Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 010- 62680848
Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant净心莲 (Jing Xin Lian)
Location: 3/F, Lido Holiday Inn, No.6, Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010- 64376688
Lili Vegetarian Restaurant百合素食 (Bai He Su Yi)
Location: No.23, Caoyuan Hutong, Dongzhimen Bei Xiaojie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010-64052082
Bodhi Sake Restaurant 菩提缘(Pu Ti Yuan
Location: No.10-16, Heiyaoguang Jie, Xuanwu District, Beijing
Tel: 010- 63546155
Article Info
Title: Dining in Beijing
Author: Johnping
Last updated: 11/28/2013
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