Planning China trip...Beijing, Hong Kong, Xi'an, Turpan, Urumqui....
My family is traveling to China this summer and I'd love some good restaurant suggestions for these areas. (My mom spent quite a few years in Hong Kong, so I don't know if we'll need as much help there.) We're up for almost anything as long as it tastes good.
I'd especially love some insight on the food in the Silk Road region, as I really know next to nothing about it other then what my guide book had to offer. I'd like to try something new and really uniqe out there.
Also, I'm going to stay in Beijing to study Mandarin an additional few weeks, and would appreciate some good n' cheap suggestions somewhat near the city center!
I'm sure you'll get an earful of suggestions for Beijing and Hong Kong, but you might want to be a little more specific as to what you are looking for, whether it's the hottest new restaurant or street food...
As far as the Silk Road goes, I don't know what guidebooks you have, but the Muztagh Travel website seems to be a good resource for Western China (more so for those with a backpacker mentality than those with a business traveler mentality), and serves up concise nuggets of information and tips for lesser-known cities like Turpan:
For what it's worth, I put up a gallery of pictures of Xi'an snacks on my own website. Unfortunately, the link to the source I lifted them from doesn't work any more. (Cyberspace is a river, and "you cannot step in the same river twice....")
Where in Beijing will you be staying? That will help.
In Beijing, definitely try the Night Market in Wangfujing. It's has an interesting variety of food.
my only experience w/ food in the silk road region was in Xian. I'd recommend you eat at the many little places on the main street in the muslim quarter. it's bustling with activity. you'll find lots of skewers, and lots of mutton. xian is also famous for one particular dish (can't remember the name) that involves broken up flat bread, mutton, and noodles in broth. you eat it with whole pickled garlic cloves and chili. guidebooks can help you with this one. if you're interested in markets, there are amazing seafood, meat and spice markets directly across the street from the Hotel Nikko in central xian. Be warned though - 1) it transforms into a trinkets market at night, and 2) you'll see dogs for eating in this market.
Beijing, which isn't known for its food, had some good street food, in my experience there. I ate lots of a fried flat bread. Of course, you need to try the duck...
In Hong Kong, you must have the dim sum. Try Maxim's in City Hall, right near the Ferry Terminal. Make sure you go to the Maxim's for dim sum, upstairs - there's a regular Maxim's on the ground floor. We had great hole-in-the-wall wonton noodles all over HK. Look for the crowds...
We will be staying at the Beijing Hilton. The language program I want to do after my family leaves has three locations, unfortunately (and I don't know where I'll be yet....what a pain.)
I'm personally interested in street food and delicious meat preparations, if that helps boil things down any.
Xi'an has a wonderful night market near the central mosque that is a must-visit for a Chowhound. They have loads of stalls with interesting and unusual foods, including loads of good sweets that are sort of reminiscent of Middle Eastern things, with a lot of honey and sesame. Also, be sure to try bian bian mian, which you can find pretty easily if you look for what looks like the most complicated Chinese character you have ever seen. Also in Beijing be sure to have chuanr, skewers of lamb and other things that are cooked over an open fire. And visit the stretch of Dongzhimennei referred to as "Guijie" for hot pot and crawfish in hot and numbing sauce.