Beijing Food Advice
We are going to Beijing next week and would like some recommendations for restaurants which would be best for non-Mandarin speaking, low budget based, non-pork eating travelers. I like spicy but my wife doesn't - I know this is not an easy task but we already have Da Dong for duck but I would love to try the Chinese Muslim Lamb Kebabs that I have read about as well as some noodles but not in a pork based broth.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, if you have Cityweekend links as well that would be great as I can then get the Mandarin name, location and phone number.
Along with a number of friends, I've been surveying great cheap eats in Beijing for the last 18 months and found a number of wonderful places. See the full list at http://www.jiaozimonday.com. And yes, you are welcome to join us should you happen to be in Beijing on a Monday.
interesting idea, wish the website had a little more in the way of reviews of the restaurants that you visit. I may have to join in one of these weeks. We've had some crossover in our dining, my own blog is at http://www.modernleifeng.com, with a number of restaurant reviews and one or two (coming soon) that would be of interest for your group
I'm current in BJ right now too.
We went to Din tai Fung in the Shin Kong Palace Malls. The bottom floor of the mall has some of the best mall food -- it's really not what you think! which offers a great selection of all kinds of stuff. The Shin Kong Malls really have great "quick lunch" food and see how the business people eat.
Din Tai Fung is one of the "top places to eat in the world" according to NY Times. Great steamed dumplings.
As for haute asian cuisine - try Made in China in the Grand Hyatt. Their beggar's purse chicken alongside the open show kitchen make it a place to visit. Their waiters/waitresses have little English cheatsheets and speak very good English.
Tiandi is also another really beautifully decorated and incredibly well executed with pure flavor restaurant.
And for the BEST dim sum and all hours place and also a great place to go to before you visit the Lama Temple or the gardens is Golden Tripod Palace. Great decor and just about the best dim sum I've ever had and I'm Chinese (spent alot of time in HK!)
yes, sleepy is talking about Jin Ding Xuan, and sorry, Jin Ding Xuan is great dim sum if you're drunk and its 3 am, but that's about it. While Beijing is desperately lacking Cantonese/dim sum offerings, there are a few decent ones that are far above Jin Ding Xuan (which is a chain with a number of locations around the city, the biggest being north of the Lama Temple). Lei Garden, the Guangdong Provincial office, and especially Tang Yuan stand out, among others.
The Shin Kong mall food court is nothing extraordinary, these sort of food courts are very common in the malls all over the city.
zhajiang mian has a lot of pork in the sauce, so I'd stay away from that.
There are muslim places with kebabs everywhere in the city, the same can be said for Lanzhou hand pulled noodles. If you are looking for specific recommendations, check out Crescent Moon for excellent Xinjiang food near dongsi shitiao. You can also check out the Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, and/or Lanzhou rep offices in the city, they all have restaurants that will be halal. While pork is incredibly popular, there are plenty of other meat options on most menus, so I wouldn't worry too much, just look at the typical restaurant recs on here or other sites and go from there.
Noodle Loft. From my report:
At Noodle Loft, had three types of noodles. Long pulled noodles in a vinegary sauce, flicked noodles ja jiang mien (bean paste sauce), and in a kind of honeycomb pattern with a "fatty meat sauce." All the sauces were exceptional. We also loved the lotus root (served thinly shaved), and a stir fry featuring walnuts. Excellent wok skills.
Menu with pictures and translated into English, IIRC.
Even if you don't go to Noodle Loft, I do think you must get the ja jiang mien when you are in Beijing. It's a classic.
Da Dong is great. I would recommend going to the Nanxincang location (on Dongsishitao). The decor is better and the food has the same high quality. If there is a meal in which you can come with others, I would suggest doing that at Da Dong because the menu has many other very good dishes (which most people don't try because they focus on the duck).
I really did not enjoy the Donghuamen Night Market. It might be worth a walkthrough if you are in the area but I would not plan on having a substantial amount of food there.
silly, I don't know the city but suggest you expand your searches. Mongolian and tibetan food usually (always?) use other meats than pork, Chinese vegetarian done well is an interesting and beautiful cuisine, and chinese muslim cuisine has different branches as well. I'm sure you can find lanzhou la mian (pulled noodles from lanzhou) in every neighbourhood; those places are usually halal and always cheap.