China boasts a variety of cuisines, different from one another due to their specific climate, availability of resources and cooking techniques. Cantonese cuisine, as one of the most influential ones, is a must try for foodies. While it may not be possible for most Beijingers to travel to Guangdong for the local cuisine from time to time, here’s a list of genuine Cantonese restaurants recommended by Cantonese people in Beijing.
Lei Garden Restaurant
Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Chinese, $$$
Established in Hong Kong in 1973, Lei Garden is a traditional Cantonese restaurant whose branches spread all over China. Its top dish, slow-cooked soup, thoroughly reflects in its taste the authentic Cantonese soup cookery which can bring out the maximum nutrition from the ingredients. The Crispy Roasted Pork is also a highly recommended dish, however it’s so popular that you have to arrive early or make a reservation in advance in case it’s sold out.
The chain restaurant is known to have some of the best dim sum in Beijing. The restaurant much resembles the large-scale dim sum places in Guangdong: the loosely placed big tables that can serve six to eight people, the décor and lighting that looks like it’s still 1990s, and the 10% service charge. The shrimp dumplings, roast pigeon and durian puffs are the dishes you cannot miss.
Probably few restaurants have a motto, and Yu is among one of them. “Gold Has a Value, yet Jade is Invaluable” – citing the traditional Chinese proverb as its motto, Yu has strived to provide food and service that embodies beauty, nobility, power and immortality, every quality that Yu, which means “jade” in Chinese, stands for. Along with the Cantonese dishes that the chef meticulously arranges according to the season, there is also a tea masters performing tea ceremony for the guests.
Chinese dishes are meant to be appealing in color, flavor and taste. The He Jia Chinese Restaurant in Nuojin Hotel aims to fulfill this principle by having its interior design drawing inspirations from Ming Dynasty painter, calligrapher and epicure Xu Wei. Guests could thus enjoy the dishes Hong Kong and Huai’an chefs created combining Ming Dynasty cultures, while immersing in the visual harmony that the Ming-style paintings provide. What is noteworthy is that the ingredients are all from the Nuojin Group’s organic farm.
You can probably smell Cantonese just from the name of the restaurant. Located on the B1 floor of Zhonghai Guangchang (China Overseas Plaza), it is thought by many as the restaurant most similar to a Hong Kong teahouse. Even the way the restaurant’s owner, a Hong Kong uncle, drinks tea over newspaper while constantly checking out the waiters’ performance looks like a scene from a 1990s Hong Kong TV series. The Salt Baked Drumstick Rice and Hong Kong Style Milk Tea make a perfect lunch set for white collars working nearby.
The restaurant that specializes in soups and claypot rices is located in WFC Beijing. The cozy home-like atmosphere is perfect for white collars to dine after work. The restaurant also thoughtfully provides bar seats for guests who visit alone. The soups are a manifestation of the Cantonese foodie’s pursuit of the freshly delicious flavor. The Minced Pork · Salted Fish · Lap Chong Sausage Claypot is a must try among all the highly recommended claypot rices. Although chances are very rare for the guests to feel a dry mouth while dining, the water chestnut drink would make you feel like you are in a Cantonese heaven.
After the soup, it’s the porridge’s turn. Located on Gulou Dongdajie, the restaurant is a bit difficult to find among the forest of shops, but you must not give up as the reward will be generous. The porridge can be served for one person as well as for two people, but it’s recommended to go there with a friend as the porridge for two contains more ingredients. The Corsair is a perfect mixed seafood dish with a hint of wasabi flavor to go with the porridge. You may also try Cantonese dim sum there.
Walking inside Hengshan Hui, your eyes will be instantly caught by the red “lion” – don’t be scared, it’s the mascot that usually appears in traditional Spring Festival lion dance to bring good luck. Rumor has it that Hengshan Hui is a go-to restaurant for many Hong Kong celebrities. It is believed by many to have the best Stir-fried Rice Noodles with Beef in town.
The restaurant has a name that would bring out the nostalgia in every Hongkonger’s heart. After the RTHK began in 1973 to broadcast Below the Lion Rock, a TV series that told the stories of ordinary Hong Kong folk’s unremitting life attitude despite difficulties, the Lion Rock has become a representation of Hong Kong spirit. Located in the Sanlitun neighborhood, the restaurant is even older than the now Sanlitun’s landmark Taikoo Li. While the neighborhood has seen enormous changes over the years, the taste at Below the Lion Rock stays original. Honey Barbecued Pork, White Radish and Beef Offal, and Braised Papaya with Pear and White Fungus are among the top recommended dishes.
Cantonese food is not just about dim sum and claypot. If you would like to try the Chaoshan cuisine, then Beef Hot Pot is your best option. Shantou Baheli Haiji Beef Restaurant is stamped by Chaoshan locals as having an authentic taste. The beef are selected from female cattle from three to four year olds in Yunnan Province and is served on the table fresh. The must order dishes are Handmade Beef Balls and Hanging Dragon – don’t worry, neither you nor the restaurant could afford real dragon – it’s how Chaoshan people call beef tenderloin!
Just like its mixture of Chinese and Japanese elements in its Chinese and English names, the restaurant has taken an innovative path in its dishes. You may not find the same dishes anywhere else, because they are invented by the restaurant’s chef combining advantages of various cuisines. The Lion’s Mane Mushroom Soup has a splendid taste, and few would be able to resist the quicksand stuffing of the Oatmeal Bun. The restaurant’s atmosphere is especially suitable for those who prefer quiet dining environment.
The chain restaurant rose to an instant fame when it opened its first branch in Beijing, owing to its famous owner, Hong Kong actor and singer Chan Siu Chun. The restaurant specializes in Beef Sirloin Noodles, Fishballs and Stewed Chicken Feet, all traditional Hong Kong street snacks. The décor of the restaurants cannot be more Cantonese, especially the table with mahjong cards lining up under a glass board – as if the guests are about to start a fierce mahjong battle the moment they finish their meals. The restaurant is heaven for fans of Chan Siu Chun, as the TV in the restaurant uninterruptedly plays Chan’s film clips and music videos.