4 Nights in Beijing
Following on from my post about Hong Kong, I'll be in Beijing for 4 nights in June. And I would like some more help :o)
For dinner I'm thinking Da Dong (for roast duck), Li Jia Cai (for imperial cuisine) and The Source (for Sichuan). How does this sound?
A couple of lunch possibilities are Ding Ding Xiang and Yunnanlian, but more likely for lunch we will just eat somewhere close to where we happen to be.
I'm also after a breakfast option or two near the Park Plaza Wangfujing hotel. Ideally will be really close, quite cheap, and servce up something fast and tasty.
Da Dong is very famous but I personally think it is way overrated. I recall I had to queue for 1 hour the last time I tried. I would recommend you to try the roast duck at Made in China at Grand Hyatt instead. The roast ducj here is way better than the one at Da Dong. They have some pretty good northern homey dishes as well. Remember to make a reservation there; it is full all the time. Other options for Beijing cuisine is Xiao Wang Fu or Xi He Ya Ju.
You may want to try lamp hotpot, a traditional Beijing cuisine, at NAN MEN HOTPOT at no.9 Ritan East Road, Chaoyang district.
If you can take spicy food, I will recommend highly Hunan food at Yue Le Mountain at Shi Cha Hai (or Ho Hai area) and Guizhou food at Xiguan hutong 44. I have reviewed both the restaurants on the past threads, so just type the search function for more details.
The only Grand Hyatt I've eaten in is in Mumbai. The food is good, but certainly not the best in town. It's also very expensive! I'm guessing roast duck at the Hyatt is a lot pricier than Da Dong, and probably 'westernised' too?
Actually, I'm going back to Mumbai on Tuesday so will post my first Chowhound reviews while I'm out there. But I digress :)
I must thank you yet again for the restaurant tips, I'll search for your reviews of Yue Le Mountain and Guizhou. I'm quite happy with spicy food - I've been working in Mumbai about 50% since August, and have amazed my Indian colleagues by eating food spicier than they like it! Apparently most westerners that they have over can't take anything spicier than a chapati ;)
Having said that, I'm aware there are spicer cuisines around... I had a run-in with a Sichuan dish in the Chinese restaurant in the Grand Hyatt that almost killed me :) Tasted good, but my mouth ended up tingling like it had been anesthatised. It was basically a plate piled with chicken morsels, and more whole chillies and Sichuan peppercorns than you could shake a stick at... my first experience of Sichuan peppercorns :D
Yes, Made in China is more expensive than Da Dong. It is authentic Beijing food, not "westernised". There are actually more Chinese than western tourists/expatriates in Made in China.
If you think you can take spicy food, and if you want to try hot pot Si chuan style, another option is Huang Chen Lao Ma: http://www.tour-beijing.com/include/s... . Chinese website: http://www.huangchenglaoma.com/p2-3-2...
P.S: the name of Guizhou restaurant is "Xiguan hutong 44", so that is the one you should type on search.
I really did not enjoy Made in China - the dishes were small (we got maybe 1/4 of a duck from our 1/2 duck order) - and the service was supercilious. I know many people here like it very much, but it was the least exciting of the places we ate in Beijing - and the price / quality ratio was not very good.
I agree with the posters regarding Made in China. The food really is fantastic where as Da Dong is a little overrated and some dishes are blah where as EVERYTHING in Made in China is fab.
Don't forget wherever you go you must reserve and you MUST book a duck in advance. This is really really important as you can go to any of these locations and they could say the ducks are either already ordered or no ducks left. And then what's the point?
For brunch... if you are here for a sunday then the Westin Chaoyang brunch is great (around 450rmb inc champagne to warn you in case of budget) but again - book. Or, for everyday breakfast is steak and eggs is reliable and very very cheap and close to where you are.
A good place also for dinner is Xiao Wang's - tho I think that even though it it filled with locals it may be too expat for you.
Both will give you restaurant reviews and suggestions. You can pick up copies of both (and Time Out magazine) for free in Beijing. Hope I've helped even a little!
Li Jia Cai is more refined haute cuisine. I have not tried it but the review seem to be good. The branch of Nam Men Hotpot that I go to is in Chaoyang district, no.9 Ritan East Road (tel : 010-85628899), just right opposite Indian Embassy, and walking distance from American Embassy. There is another branch at Hoi Hai district, with more restaurants and bars in that area.
Ever consider Fangshan for Imperial Qing-style cuisine. The restaurant's on a man-made isle in the middle of a 900-year-old man-made lake (built by Kublai Khan) in Beihai. It's started by imperial chefs of the Forbidden City who lost their jobs after the nationalists evicted the last emperor Pu-Yi. You can choose from different multi-course set menus, some of which contain very exotic stuff like camel's paw. Quite a quintessential "Imperial Beijing dining experience".
But for a truly unforgettable experience in cutting-edge Modern Chinese cuisine, you can't beat Green T. House:
There are 2 outlets in Beijing, but Green T House Living is more avant-garde.
Green T House living.
Is this the finest dining experience in the World?
We ate at the Green T House LIving, not the downtown restaurant, but the one out near the airport. It has to rank right up there with some of the greatest dining experiences I have ever had, e.g. Lutece in New York, Four Seasons in the sixties, Le Bernardin, Tour D'Argent, etc.
Everything about this restaurant is nothing like you have ever experienced, or can imagine. Starting in the parking couryard, and extending into the huge plaza in front of the pavillion, the creators of this restaurant have re-imagined what it was like for an emperor to dine. The huge glass pavillion is beautiful, the interior is all white, and rearranged frequently, from what I hear. The tables are cut marble, the chairs are sculpture thrones. The wait staff is affable, informative, and imaginatively dressed, and the food is absolutely unique. Nothing on the menu can be found anywhere else. Every dish is arranged like a sculpture or artisitic presentation. The theme of green tea is very subtle and amusing in most of the dishes. Each flavor was unique. When we were there, there were only two parties dining. It is expensive for Beijing, but no more than an upscale priced dinner in the US. The desert of chocolate leaves inserted into an ice mound with fruit was magnificent. Truly memorable tastes, images, and pleasures.
(be sure to use the bathrooms)