Where to savour authentic Beijing cuisine

It is impossible to cover Beijing’s culinary scene in just a matter of days. Still, there’s no reason not to check out the best restaurants and eateries around that share a considerable sliver of this ever-evolving history.

Duck de Chine

(Image credit: Duck de Chine)

Authentic Peking duck is one of the most common offerings in restaurants here. But when it comes to the best, locals would point you to the signature dish at this modern restaurant. One caveat: Duck de Chine’s version is not the most traditional in the city. As its name implies, there’s a mix of Chinese and French cooking techniques. Instead of wood from peach or pear trees, the restaurant roasts its duck with fire from 60-year-old jujube wood for a fruitier flavour and crispier skin.

Opening hours

Lunch 11:00AM - 2.30PM
Dinner 5.30PM - 10.30PM

Address: 98 Jinbao Street, Dong Cheng District, Beijing
Website: Website here

Koufuju Hot Pot Restaurant (口福居火锅店)

(Image credit: Koufuju Hot Pot Restaurant)

Each province and city has its own take on hotpot and Beijing’s version is possibly one of the first iterations that sparked a country-wide craze for the communal dish. This old-school hotpot eatery offers traditional shua yang rou (read: instant-boiled mutton) -- a dish that’s said to have Mongolian origins. Here, diners simply swish thin slices of meat in pots of light broth or spicy soups before dipping them in sauces. If you’re not a fan of mutton, worry not as the homemade lobster balls and fresh prawn paste are signatures here too.

Opening hours

Open daily 11:00AM - 22:30PM

Address: 5 Huayuan St, Xicheng, Beijing
Website: Website here

Fangshan Restaurant (仿膳饭庄)

(Image credit: Fangshan Restaurant)

At Fangshan Restaurant, diners get a taste of imperial cuisine. The restaurant was opened in 1925 by master chefs who have cooked in the royal kitchens of the Qing Dynasty. Today, there are a whopping 800 dishes on the menu, which can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with the cuisine. To get the best of what the restaurant offers, order the Manchu Han Imperial Feast set menu, which is said to resemble an emperor’s indulgent feast that features items like bird’s nest soup and sesame cake with minced pork.

Opening hours

Lunch 11:00AM - 2:00PM
Dinner 5:00PM - 10:00PM

Address: 1 Wenjin Jie (inside Beihai Park, enter via east gate), Xicheng District, Beijing
Website: Website here

King’s Joy (京兆尹)

(Image credit: King’s Joy)

In this meat-loving Chinese capital, vegetarian restaurants are few and far between. Even so, this award-winning restaurant shows that it can convince the appetites of ravenous carnivores. King’s Joy is a project of restaurateur David Yin and a former-monk-turned chef Pan Jianjun who made it their mission to prepare elegant Chinese cuisines revolving fresh and nutritious vegetables. The cuisine isn’t as strict as those followed by monks as shallots, onions and garlic are still added in their dishes. In place of meat (and mock meat), the restaurant uses soy and mushroom in their recipes.

Opening hours

Open daily 11:00AM - 10:00PM

Address: 2 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng, Beijing
Website: Website here

Huguosi Hutong Snack Street

Those who prefer to explore Beijing’s culinary traditions a little more (and perhaps on a more wallet-friendly budget) can consider taking a stroll down the Huguosi Hutong Snack Street. Along this ancient street are many stalls and casual restaurants serving up some of the city’s most delectable street food. This includes anything from chuan’r (skewers of meat and offal) to the more familiar soybean milk with youtiao (dough fritters). At the end of the gastronomic journey, consider having a beer or two at nearby craft breweries or sip on traditional yoghurt kept in ceramic jars.

Address: 68 Huguosi Street, Xicheng District, Beijing

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