For an authentic trip to China, Mandaley takes you to eat in Beijing Hutongs. Specific to the city of Beijing, the hutongs are small alleys that are full of small typical Chinese restaurants. What would a trip to China be without discovering real local cuisine, different from the one we know in France?
If their storefronts don’t compare to Western restaurants, let yourself be tempted by these establishments. Their foods, which come from different Chinese regions, are simply delicious. If you used to eat in European restaurants / caterers you will be disoriented to see how diverse Chinese cuisine is. Between lacquered duck, Chinese fondue (Huo Guo) and very spicy Guizhou cuisine, you will be spoiled for choice. Immerse yourself in the hutongs and set off on a culinary tour of China.
Tasty and well-seasoned Chinese dishes tend to mix sweeter flavors with sour, bitter, salty and spicy.
The basic component of the meals is rice , which is usually served accompanied by all kinds of vegetables, meat and fish, of which even the most remote part is used. The long periods of famine that have plagued the country throughout history have influenced the fact that all parts of the animal (cartilage, claws, entrails, heads) are suitable for preparing the seasoned dishes .
- 1 typical chinese dishes
- 2 Insects, larvae and other delicacies
- 3 Beverages
- 4 chinese customs
- 5 Cuisine from all over China in the Hutongs
- 6 Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant
- 7 House of Shuhe
- 8 Private Kitchen, 44 hutong Xiguan
- 9 Da Xiangfeng Hutong
- 10 The hutong of the “House of the Goat” or Yangfang
- 11 The Banchang Hutong
typical chinese dishes
Among the most typical Chinese dishes, the following are worth highlighting:
- Peking Duck : The best-known dish in Peking cuisine consists of a marinated and roasted duck that is served sliced and eaten inside a crepe, along with some vegetables.
- Dim sum : Steamed dumplings made from different ingredients. It is a more typical southern Chinese dish. In some restaurants they are called dumplings.
- Hot pot : Set of foods that are cooked in a hot broth located in the center of the table. This kind of “Chinese fondue” offers the advantage that you can see the food before cooking and mix it with the sauces.
- Kung Pao Chicken: Stir-fried chicken with vegetables and peanuts.
- Sour and sour soup : Soup made from meat, bamboo shoots, chilli, tofu and pig’s blood.
Insects, larvae and other delicacies
If you want to try the strangest part of Beijing cuisine, the right place is the Wangfujing Night Market . Open from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., here you can try scorpions, spiders, centipedes, seahorses and other beauties.
Curiously, these “dishes” are only found in this market and it is one of its main tourist attractions. The truth is that very few restaurants in the city have these “delicacies” and they are not very common dishes among the local people .
In addition to water and the typical soft drinks, in China there are countless types of tea, spirits, beers and locally made wines . The latter are not yet very popular, but more and more restaurants are including them in their menus.
Tea is a drink originating in China and most of the varieties that exist are found in the country. Used as a medicinal drink to promote healthy mind and body for over five millennia, in ancient China tea was very expensive and only accessible to high society. At present, practically all of the Chinese consume it regularly and usually carry a thermos wherever they go .
In Chinese meals, each of the diners has their own bowl of rice and the rest of the dishes are placed in the center to be shared among all.
It’s no secret that the Chinese use chopsticks to eat any type of solid food . This is why most dishes are served with the food cut into small portions , although it is not uncommon to find someone tearing up a whole fish or chicken with their chopsticks.
Traditional spoons that have a flat bottom are used for soups . If you have difficulty eating with chopsticks, you can always ask for a fork, but a knife is unthinkable , since in Chinese culture it is considered that “weapons” should not be placed on the table.
Here are six of the best restaurants we’ve tested. To your chopsticks!
Cuisine from all over China in the Hutongs
Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant
The arrival in this restaurant immediately immerses you in the atmosphere. From the entrance, a view of the kitchen catches the eye. If the decor and atmosphere seem modest, don’t worry, this is one of the best addresses in Beijing. Here, lacquered duck is traditionally prepared, as is customary and according to the rites of the chefs of the emperors. First dried, the duck is then roasted before being lacquered. The duck skin is then delicious, nothing to do with what is done at our caterers! Accompanied by small dishes, lacquered duck gives off an incredible smoky and caramelized taste. It is best to book in advance, as many locals come to eat their favorite dishes here.
House of Shuhe
Located in the Banmasi hutong, the House of Shule restaurant is a simple establishment. Go there to taste the Chinese fondue, the Huo Guo! This disconcerting fondue is made up of pasta, meat, fish or even vegetables. Cooked in a broth, the fondue is a mixture of flavors that will surprise you. Friendly and fun, this restaurant will make you have a great time. You should not leave Beijing without having tasted this typical dish from northern China (there is also a fondue that comes from Sichuan or Mongolia).
Private Kitchen, 44 hutong Xiguan
You have to know the place, have a good eye or be lucky to find this restaurant, located at number 44 of the Xiguan hutong. Enter the small courtyard to access the restaurant. No lacquered duck or typical Beijing dishes here. The cuisine offered is that of the Guizhou region. Close to Sichuan cuisine, the dishes are spicy (you must not be sensitive) and it is not uncommon to find dishes prepared in local alcohol. The taste is strong but terribly effective. Regularly accompanied by fresh vegetables, the main meat is mutton. An exceptional address not to be missed.
Da Xiangfeng Hutong
A tablet with the inscription Mei Fu Jia Yan (meaning the feast of the Mei family) hung on the door of courtyard No. 24 tells you that you are at the restaurant of the hutong Da Xiangfeng . The latter mainly offers family cuisine that the famous Beijing opera singer, Mei Lanfang, particularly appreciated. Some dishes are known for their health benefits such as nourishing the skin or clearing the voice. In addition, a delicious meal you can enjoy the calm and the simple and enchanting style of the courtyard. (source: China Travel)
The hutong of the “House of the Goat” or Yangfang
The Yangfang hutong is one of the places not to be missed when visiting Houhai . Son No. 11 is home to a famous restaurant specializing in ancient imperial court recipes—Li Home Cooking Restaurant. Dishes are carefully prepared using intricate processes known only to the masters of the place. A large number of Chinese and foreign tourists come to enjoy its tasty cuisine. (source: China Travel).
The Banchang Hutong
Yard No. 14 is to the south of the central part of the hutong. A sign attached to the entrance wall with the inscription “Dujiangyuan Sijia Caiguan” ( meaning Dujiangyuan home cooking restaurant) indicates the restaurant. The specialty of this establishment is authentic and traditional Sichuan cuisine. The hutong also benefits from its ideal location, close to the alley of Gongs and Drums of the South (Nanluoguxiang). (source: China Travel).