The Gulou (Drum Tower) is an old building used for announcing time in ancient Beijing. In the shadow of the tower is Gulou district, a newly reconstructed neighborhood saturated with hutongs (narrow alleys) where you can find many lovely little shops and restaurants. Here’s our pick of the 10 best restaurants in the trendy area of Gulou.
Dali Courtyard offers an outdoor area for dining. They serve a wide variety of Yunnan dishes like steamed broccoli with ginger, guoqiao mixian (crossing-the-bridge noodles), and the fresh appetizer, mint and tofu skin salad, which are all cooked by native Yunnanian chefs . The environment of Dali Courtyard is also fabulous, with chairs and tables made from bamboo and wood, and bamboo trees planted all over the restaurant.
Le Little Saigon serves Vietnamese and French dishes which are both delicious. Try the fresh Vietnamese beef salad which includes beef, garlic, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Or pick the French foie grasplatter, which is really appetizing and delicate. Besides food, their drinks are also fantastic, especially the Vietnamese-style coffee. In summer time, diners can enjoy their meals on the roof terrace of Le Little Saigon.
Have you ever felt hungry at midnight whilst travelling in Beijing? If you stay in Gulou district you don’t have to worry, as Ling Dian Beef Chaoshou is open 24 hours serving savory, vinegary, and/or spicy Sichuan-style dishes. They mainly serve Chinese dumplings and noodles, including koushuiji noodles, spicy beef dumplings, and shangxin liangfen (‘heartbroken’ cold mung bean noodles).
Hot pot is one of the favorite dishes of the Chinese people. At Sandie Shui, you can try the traditional Lijiang preserved spare ribs hot pot, which is a specialty of the Naxi people. The broth of this hot pot is savory and delicious since it is cooked with lots of fresh meat and vegetables, including celery, potatoes, tomatoes, and the Lijiang-style preserved spare ribs.
Housed in a traditional Chinese siheyuan(quadrangle), Bao Yue Chu Pin is more like a speakeasy that serves new-style Chinese dishes invented by their chefs. Their fried bullfrog is especially tasty as the chefs apply special cooking techniques to retain the fresh taste of bullfrog and add ginger, garlic and chili to enhance the flavor. Diners here also love their snacks, such as deep-fried tofu skin and iced pumpkin.
Opened in 1989, Yao Ji Chao Gan has long provided the people of Beijing with plentiful local dishes like Zhajiangmian (noodles with soy bean paste), douzhi (mung bean milk), and different kinds of baozi (steamed stuffed bun). If you want to try something more special, go for the stewed liver, which is made of pork liver and intestines – the locals love eating this traditional thick soup. Yau Ji Chao Gan is not a big restaurant but it is so famous that even US Vice President Joseph Biden has eaten there.
Wang Pang Zi Donkey Burger (Fatty Wang Donkey Burger)
Wang Pang Zi Donkey Burger is open 24 hours, so whenever you are hungry you can go there and grab a juicy donkey burger. Chinese burgers are not the same as Western ones, as the bread is more like flatbread. The restaurant mainly makes donkey burger as they think donkey meat is more delicious and juicy than beef, mutton, or pork. Don’t be put off: donkey meat is also lower in fat and higher in water and protein.
If you want to try some local home-style dishes, Li Ji Jiang Rou Bao Du is the place to go to. Dining at Li Ji is like dining in a local Beijinger’s home, with people sitting around who seem to know each other and they never stop chatting while enjoying their food.
Yantai Da Kuai Rou Cai Bao (Yantai Steamed Stuff Bun)
Baozi (steamed stuffed bun) is always the best type of breakfast for the busy people of Beijing, as you can quickly grab a tasty, steamed, stuffed bun and eat it on the way to school or work. Yantai Da Kuai Rou Cai Bao sells buns in the Yantai style. Yantai is a province in Shandong where people love making big baozi stuffed with plenty of meat and vegetables. The restaurant also offers other tasty dishes like porridge and braised pork hoof.
Opened by a German man and his Chinese wife, Wurstbude is a tiny venue which serves a wide range of German food, snacks, and drinks, including Thüringer rostbratwurst (Thuringian sausage), mulled wine, and currywurst. Their currywurst is perfect: it is a fried pock sausage seasoned with curry powder, ketchup and/or mayonnaise, a common savory snack in Germany. Dining in Wurstbude is totally relaxing, you can try any German food you like with the complement of their imported German beers.