One of the best ways to get familiar with a new place is through its food, and what food can compare with the locals’ favorite? Let Culture Trip walk you through the ten restaurants whose flavors Beijing
locals cannot resist.
Jubaoyuan Hot Pot Restaurant
It’s easy to demonstrate how popular the old Beijing copper mutton hotpot restaurant is, just by the long lines in front of the two Jubaoyuan restaurants on Niujie during dining hours. Beijingers love its handmade mutton and beef slices, as well as the sesame buns so delicious that the restaurants literally have to limit the number each customer can buy.
Qingfeng Stuffed Bun Shop
Diner, Chinese, $$$
This stuffed bun (Baozi) shop was founded in 1948, and has been the favorite stuffed bun chain restaurant among Beijing locals despite the fact that Go Believe of Beijing’s neighboring city Tianjin
is more nationally famous for stuffed buns. Its fame was further upgraded after Chinese president Xi Jinping visited its Yuetan branch and ordered a 21-yuan bun set in 2013.
Also a traditional Beijing restaurant with multiple branches in town, Haiwanju is most famous for its giant bowl of Zhajiangmian
(noodles with soybean paste), with an ample selection of sides to go with the noodles. The name “Haiwanju” means “house of king-sized bowls,” and its dishes are totally worthy of the name.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Chinese
This restaurant opposite the National Art Museum of China
is known by almost all Beijing locals. It’s the first privately owned restaurant in China, and has been sticking to its principle of offering affordable but delicious dishes ever since its opening in 1980. The restaurant specializes in traditional Chinese household dishes.
Restaurant, Russian, $$$
Opened in 1945, the Moscow Restaurant (nicknamed “Lao Mo” by Beijingers) features Russian cuisine, and was deemed the top Western restaurant after the People’s Republic of China was founded. Dining at the restaurant used to be the most prestigious experience among Beijingers decades ago – nowadays, most go there as a reminder of the old Beijing.
This chain restaurant that specializes in Beijing cuisine
is the new favorite among Beijing locals. With its always carefully designed appearance of dishes that respond to traditional Beijing culture, a meal at Juqi can be quite an effective way to learn about Beijing.
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
There are various kinds of hotpot dishes in China, and other than the traditional Beijing copper hotpot, spicy Sichuan hotpot is also known throughout the country. Haidilao is the most popular brand of Sichuan hotpot in China for its top-quality ingredients, and, what’s more, for the famously meticulous service from its staff that can easily give you goose bumps (in a good way).
Diner, Restaurant, Chinese
Beijing locals love chatting over meat and vegetable skewers and beer, and despite the fact that almost every neighborhood in Beijing
is dotted with skewer restaurants, Judian Chuanba is the most established chain skewer restaurant of them all. It’s no exaggeration to say that if you haven’t Lu Chuan’er (eaten skewers) in Beijing, you can’t be counted as having been here.
Lao Xi’an Restaurant
This restaurant opened in 1954 in Xijiekou and is the first Shaanxi cuisine
restaurant in Beijing. Rumor has it that it was opened under the suggestion of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s father Xi Zhongxun, one of the first political leaders of the People’s Republic of China who was born in Shaanxi, for which Xi’an is the provincial capital. It’s a must to try the Yangrou Paomo (mutton with soaked bread) here.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Chinese, $$$
This chain restaurant is known for its imperial court Beijing food, as well as its Qing dynasty-style décor, with tableware and tables and chairs all carefully chosen to set up an ancient ambience. Its branch at the foot of Xiangshan (Fragrant Hills) is especially popular for its good view.