Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dining in Beijing

Dining in BeijingBeijing has an incredible variety of national and international cuisine. Some of these restaurants have spectacular presentation. There are over 60,000 to choose from throughout the city.

International dishes can be found in a range of excellent restaurants including Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, French and Italian.

Chinese options are extensive. Food in China varies with each region and many of these are represented in Beijing. The food from China is often divided into seven main cuisines: Shandong, Cantonese, Huaiyang, Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai and northeastern cuisine.

Beijing FoodPhotographer: Russell Uebergang

Beijing cuisine offers a number of unique dishes, mostly from the Qing Dynasty.

Some the most famous Beijing dishes include: Beijing roast duck (Quanjude and Bianyifang), Imperial Court cuisine (Tan Family Food), Mongolian hotpot and barbecued meat.

Beijing also has a range of famous snacks like dumplings, noodles, fermented soybean mild, quick-fried liver, glutinous rice cakes, glutinous millet cakes, candied haws on sticks and clay-fried oven bread. The candied haws and other candied fruits on sticks are usually only available during the cooler and cold months.


Steamed bunSteamed bun
Photographer: Russell Uebergang

One of the street food snacks well worth trying is Jianbing, an eggy, crunchy Chinese crepe. For those more adventurous palettes there are the scorpion skewers or grills with heart and tripe.

Such delicacies can be found just down the alley from Wangfujing shopping mall. When walking toward the Oriental Malls, there is a small alley off to the right near a souvenir and chopstick shop, this alley leads you to a wide range of skewered snacks.

Skewered snacks
Skewered snacks
Photographer: Russell Uebergang
Tea houses are also an important part of Beijing life. Tea houses have provided tea drinkers with many different types of tea and tea ware since the end of the Ming Dynasty. Tea houses do not serve meals. They offer snacks such as dried fruit, cured meals, pickled tidbits and deserts. People chat, smoke, and relax while waiters pour tea from giant metal, clay and porcelain tea pots.
Beijing Teahouse
Teahouse
Photographer: Russell Uebergang