Beijing, the capital of China, is a city filled with rich history and cultural heritage. Apart from visiting famous landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, one of the best ways to experience the local culture is through its cuisine. From street food to traditional dishes, here is a guide to some of the best must-try food when you are on a free trip to Beijing.
Roast duck is perhaps the most well-known dish in Beijing. The crispy skin is served with thin pancakes, scallions, and sweet bean sauce. The duck is roasted in a special oven, making the skin crispy while the meat stays tender and juicy.
While there are many restaurants that offer roast duck in Beijing, the most famous one is Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. Established in 1864, it is one of the oldest and most well-known duck restaurants in Beijing. If you want to try a more modern take on roast duck, you can visit Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant.
Jianbing (Chinese Crepe)
Jianbing, a type of Chinese crepe, is a favorite breakfast food for locals. It is usually sold by street vendors, and you can find them everywhere in Beijing. The crepe is made with mung bean flour and eggs, then filled with various ingredients such as lettuce, crispy dough sticks, scallions, and chili sauce. The crispy texture and the different flavors make it a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
If you want to try the best jianbing in Beijing, head to Goubuli Jianbing, a tiny kiosk located in the Dongcheng District, close to the famous Lama Temple. The long queues outside the shop show just how popular and delicious their jianbing is.
Hotpot is a popular dish in Beijing, especially during the cold winter months. It is a communal meal where everyone sits around a boiling pot of soup and cooks various meats, vegetables, and noodles together.
One of the best places to try hotpot in Beijing is Hai Di Lao, a chain restaurant that has gained a reputation for its excellent service and quality ingredients. The restaurant even offers a range of free services including manicures, shoe shines, and games to play while waiting for a table.
Lamb skewers, known as yangrou chuan in Mandarin, are a popular street food in Beijing. The skewers are made with small pieces of lamb that are marinated in a mixture of cumin, chili powder, and various spices. They are then grilled over an open flame until crispy and fragrant.
You can find lamb skewers in most of the street food markets in Beijing, but for the best quality, head to Donghuamen Night Market in the heart of the city. Here, you can find dozens of food stands selling a wide variety of street food, including lamb skewers, fried scorpions, and even seahorse on a stick – if you dare!
Sweet Bean Paste Stuffed Rice Cake
The sweet bean paste stuffed rice cake, known as the red bean paste baozi, is a typical snack in Beijing. It is a soft, fluffy steamed bun filled with sweet red bean paste. The bun is lightly sweetened and has a slightly chewy texture.
If you want to try the best red bean paste baozi in Beijing, head to Tianjin Baozi, a small shop located in Zhongguancun. Their baozi is made with the best quality flour and red bean paste and has a perfect balance of sweetness and texture.
Visiting Beijing not only allows you to witness the rich history and culture of China, but it also gives you a chance to taste some of the best cuisine in the country. From the crispy and succulent roast duck to the savory and aromatic lamb skewers, there is something to suit every palate. Make sure to add these must-try foods to your list when planning your free trip to Beijing.