Famous for its pulsating nightlife, Beijing’s Wudaokou neighbourhood is a vibrant area filled with a range of restaurants serving up dishes from around the world.
Home to Tsinghua University, Peking University and the Beijing Foreign Languages University, Wudaokou houses a large student population that hails from every corner of the globe. The international vibe infuses the neighbourhood’s many restaurants, from American burgers and Korean treats to local Chinese fare.
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Wudaokou is renowned for its rowdy 24-hour nightclubs offering all-night college parties, and Lush sits at the top of the list. With its green walls and wooden furniture, Lush is a simple yet welcoming restaurant that attracts both locals and tourists and is particularly popular among students. The neighbourhood’s most iconic nightspot is also one of its most popular eateries, particularly for the all-day Western-style breakfast – we’re talking pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs, the works.
Wudaokou’s universities have also attracted a huge Korean population to this part of Beijing, and they’ll tell you that ZhaJiangMian ZhenBang serves the best Korean cuisine you can find in the Chinese capital. Located on the second floor of the Wudaokou International Food Hall, the restaurant’s jajangmyeon – a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of bean paste, soy sauce, pork and vegetables – is the stuff of legend.
The spicy hot pot is a Sichuan speciality that has found its way to the Chinese capital, and LaoChe Ji prepares some of the best in Beijing. Grab some friends and head to this eatery in the Hualian Commercial Building, where you can choose from the menu of ingredients – and, crucially, the degree of spiciness – then use a wooden paddle to toss everything around to concoct a stew to dive into together.
The Mexican food scene isn’t massive in the Chinese capital, but Mojito is one of the few places you can find it. Sitting above the fabled Propaganda nightclub in the hub of Wudaokou’s nightlife, this two-storey restaurant-bar serves hearty Tex-Mex favourites – taquitos, quesadillas, fajitas and the like – as well as great-value drink specials that attract a large laowai crowd from the international universities.
Pakistani cuisine isn’t huge in Beijing either, but Khan Baba gives diners their curry fix. This halal eatery dishes up authentic cuisine from the subcontinent, with a huge menu of tandoor-cooked meats, crispy pakoras and samosas, and a long list of curries. There’s a good-value buffet lunch on offer Monday to Friday, as well as Indian, Arabic, Western and Chinese options on the menu.
Occupying the Ji Xin Building just a short stroll from the lively bars and clubs around the Wudaokou subway station, Commune is an old-school pub serving old-school pub grub. The wooden decor is simple; the service is friendly; the walls of fridges are full of cold, cheap beer; and the menu is brimming with burgers that are impossible to resist.
Don’t let the name scare you off – All Kill serves Korean food to die for. Sitting in the basement of the Tsinghua Tongfang Hi-Tech Plaza, this casual eatery is always crowded with students at lunchtime and stays busy after dark, when diners flock to knock back a few brews with some greasy Korean-style fried chicken.
You won’t find an official sign on the front of this hush-hush eatery, but the locals know it as the Halal Restaurant. Follow the queue of foodies and Beijing-based Uyghurs sniffing out the delicious halal fare hidden on the campus of the Beijing Language and Culture University, and order house specialities like the roast skewered mutton, the big plate chicken and the yoghurt dish for dessert.
Sitting just next door to Mojito and owned by the same brains trust behind Lush, Pyro delivers the best pizza in the area with a lively student atmosphere to boot. Formerly known as Sugar Shack, this pizzeria-bar plates up New York-style thin crust slices as well as other American classics like hot wings, sub sandwiches, nachos and imported beers. Come for dinner on a Thursday to compete in the weekly beer pong tournament.
Tantan Dalu is also a Korean restaurant, but its speciality is barbecue. It is an authentic Korean barbecue restaurant, and you know this because you have to roast the meat and vegetables yourself! The dishes here come with a range of sides, including the popular Korean dish pumpkin porridge.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Fran Lu.
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