Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > China & Southeast Asia >
Nov 27, 2008 10:22 AM

"World's Best Chinese Food" in Beijng?

So sayeth Stan Sesser in the Asian Wall Street Journal.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Best! No way!
    'Chinese' is a very broad terminology. Different regions, province...etc have their own specialty cuisine. I don't think one can find Cantonese cuisine in Beijing that can surpass what Hong Kong has to offer?!.....

    1. The title is quite silly; it is obviously written by a non-Chinese. No Chinese, Mainland or oversea, would simply use a term like "Chinese food".

      Charles is correct; for Cantonese food, you just can't beat Hong Kong,not even Guangzhou. For me personally, I go to Hong Kong for Cantonese and Chiu Chow cuisine; I go to Shanghai for Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu cuisine; I go to Beijing for Beijing, Xinjiang, Hunan, Si chuan, Guizhou cuisine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: FourSeasons

        "There is no Chinese restaurant in China. Just restaurants." Where did this movie quote came from?

        The funny thing is, when we were in Beijing we walked across a big sign in English that said: Chinese restaurant.

      2. It is interesting that I just read an article too that is written by the famous "Choi Lan" celebrity gourmet. He is saying the opposite of the article above regarding the Beijing that was getting ready for the Olympic. He is saying there is conflict in the new and old style of cooking, the rich and money that throw in to Beijing, has lower the quality of food and changing the tradition there .....

        6 Replies
        1. re: skylineR33

          It is a matter of taste bud. I think for die-hard Cantonese, it is very difficult for them to appreciate Northern (meaning Beijing) and Southwestern (meaning Hunan, Si chuan, Guizhou) cuisine. I am not surprised "Choi Lan" will dismiss the standard of Beijing or anywhere else in China outside of Hong Kong and Guang Dong province. At most he will favor only as far as Shanghai cuisine. Generally speaking, Cantonese prefer food that is fresh and light; Northern food is too heavy and meat-based, Southwestern is too spicy. That is why there are very few authentic Beijing, Hunan, Si chuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Nortth East restaurants in Hong Kong.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            I do not see Choi Lan dismiss any of the standard in Beijing in his article, he is just saying what he found in Beiijing nowaday is not as good as what he found before. Also, if you see any of his TV shows, you will know he likes food that is fat, oily and heavy favour, and this is the what Shanghai cuisine (especially 本帮菜) is supposed to be in the old days.

            1. re: skylineR33

              Oh, I misunderstood your first statement then. But I still have the opposite view with "Choi Lan", I actually thought the dining scene in Beijing has greatly improved compared with five years ago when I first visited there. Maybe we tried different restaurants or perhaps like I speculated before, different taste bud.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                That's true since there are so many restaurants in Beijing. I am sure people have different experience with it.

          2. re: skylineR33

            who is "Choi Lan"? where can I find his writing? also, on my way to Shanghai and appreciate any tips.

            1. re: writebites

              As skylineR33 mentioned, "Choi Lan" is a celebrity gourmet, well respected (perhaps decreasingly so) in Hong Kong and Chinese-speaking communities in SE Asia. His name is officially spelt Chua Lam - he's Teochew/Singaporean. More about him here:
              He has food shows on HK TV every now and again, usually flanked by two waif-like Chinese 'actresses'. He's published quite a few books, most larger bookstores selling Chinese books will have his work. Apart from food writing, he is first and foremost a writer of modern Chinese fiction and non-fiction covering all sorts of topics.

          3. I concurr that there is no one best Chinese food---it all depends on what I'm in the mood for. I can see how there might be very good Sichuan restaurants in Beijing or Cantonese restaurants but the very best in the world????

            do like that duck place though. Glad to read that it didn't get hit by the reign of tear-down terror.

            1. I reckon this article was obviously another "jump on the Olympics bandwagon" travel piece... Better to blame editorial than the poor guy who was probably ordered to write it

              2 Replies
              1. re: e_ting

                Stan Sesser was at one time a highly-respected restaurant reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Whether the article represents his thoughts, or editorial direction, it pains me to see his name on such a shallow piece.

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  Agreed. But then, Beijing dining has evolved incredibly in the last 8 years or so, and some of the restaurants there now really looked truly amazing. Just over a decade ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find decent places to dine in, except for the well-established Peking duck restaurants & a few gems like the now-defunct Louisiana at the Hilton. State-run restaurants then had atrocious service standards - you wait 3/4 of an hour to be served your first dish after ordering.