Though a bit of a trek from downtown, Zhongguancun is home to some fantastic places to eat, especially when it comes to provincial cuisines.
From Xinjiang to Sichuan and Cantonese, Zhongguancun is a melting pot of authentic Chinese cooking. Here are some of the best restaurants in the area.
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This establishment is one of the best spots in Beijing to have traditional Sichuanese food. Its offering is so authentic that it flies in specific ingredients from Sichuan province. Though Sichuan food is known to be very spicy, the menu has something for diners of all ages and levels of spice tolerance. What Meizhou Dongpo is really known for is its dongpo rou, a braised pork belly dish that is said to have been created by Su Shi, a poet from the Song dynasty who also went by the name Su Dongpo. In fact, the name of this restaurant is a combination of the poet’s name and the name of his hometown Meizhou in Sichuan.
Xihe Yu Yuan is known for Peking duck. Made to perfection, tender and flavourful meat enveloped in crispy skin, and served with all the sides and sauces, it doesn’t get much better than this. Built in a classical hutong style, the restaurant has a large central courtyard in the centre – used for general dining – and private rooms surrounding it. This place tends to get packed, so make a reservation in advance to avoid waiting for a table.
This Xinjiang restaurant is cheap and cheerful. Best known for its yoghurt, chuan’r and Mongolian boiled lamb, Bayi Laoye is as authentic as they get when it comes to Uyghur cuisine. The restaurant is quite large, too, so it’s great for large gatherings, parties and family dining.
This vegetarian restaurant has a comprehensive menu that focuses on Chinese vegetarian dishes, but also offers the likes of vegetarian pizza and even vegetarian steak, which is ingeniously made with tofu, gluten and mushrooms. However, Tianchun Miaoxiang is famous for its heijiao niuliu, a ‘beef’ fillet sautéed with red and green bell peppers in a savoury black pepper sauce. It’s delicious enough to make you think you really are eating a piece of meat.
Its 1914 opening makes Dong Lai Shun one of Beijing’s oldest and most famous Hui (Chinese Muslim) restaurants. Since then, this hot pot restaurant has expanded throughout the city to have multiple locations today. This particular branch is styled to look more up-to-date than the others, but it still falls a bit short in the decor stakes. However, when it comes to food, they know their stuff. Thin slices of lamb and beef are the classic hot pot choices here; you can mix and match the veggies you throw in with them, and even choose from four options when it comes to the broth: traditional, medicinal, sea cucumber and spicy.
The glitzy entrance to this foodie haven doesn’t necessarily hint at what’s inside; visitors will find sweet and savoury treats aplenty, from all over China and beyond. Pick up a few chuan’r (meat skewers) from the Leshanerjingtiao stall as you peruse the mochi menu at Yiliangdian, or take in the masters at work over at Xianglixiang Teppanyaki. If you’re dropping by during lunch or dinner hours, be prepared to queue!
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