Chinese Cuisines

Chinese cuisine is renowned all all over the world for its appearance, aroma, and flavor. Its unique style of preparation, cooking and presentation can be traced to the beginnings of Chinese history more than 5,000 years ago. Chinese restaurants are a dime a dozen nowadays around the world, but for a taste of the authentic fare, China is definitely the place to be.
Chinese cuisine by and large falls into six schools:


Imperial Dishes: These dishes originated in the kitchen of the imperial palace for the exclusive enjoyment of the emperor and empress in bygone days. Graceful names that give wings to imagination, impeccable selection of ingredients, and state-of-the-art cooking techniques designed to preserve natural hue, aroma and taste are the major hallmarks of these imperial dishes. Peking Duck is one of such dishes.
Mansion Kitchen Fare: High officials and famous personages who cared so much for what they ate in bygone days went out of their way to hire famous chefs with handsome pay. With superb culinary skills, these chefs become a school of their own behind the walls of the mansions of the rich and powerful, and eventually their styles of cooking found their own way to the public. The Confucian Mansion and the Tan Family are representative of the mansion-style of Chinese cuisine.

Local Cuisine: Regional differences in resources, climate and folklore have given rise to a variety of cooking schools in China. The Shandong, Sichuan, Yangzhou and Canton are the four major schools. Another theory puts the number at eight, with the addition of Hunan, Fukien, Anhui and Zhejiang. A third theory includes Beijing and Shanghai so that the nation has ten major schools of Chinese cooking. Shandong, Sichuan, Yangzhou and Cantonese cooking, however, are generally regarded as the most influential of all schools of Chinese cuisine-the others are simply regarded as branches.

Ethnic Dishes: These dishes were first invented by minority peoples and later spread to other parts of the country. These include the mutton hot pot of Inner Mongolia and the roast whole lamb and shish kebab of Xinjiang.

Monastic Dishes: Otherwise known as vegetarian’s dishes, monastic dishes had their origin in Buddhist temples around the country. This school of cooking are understandably dominated by vegetables, and it is flourishing because the rising standard of living has prompted many people to become more health-conscious and stick to vegetarian’s dishes. Some of these dishes are prepared to resemble the flavor and shape of meat dishes. Apart from their special flavors, the monastic dishes are stomach-friendly and help protect people’s health.

Beijing Restaurant Choices:
The best restaurants in Beijing hand picked for you

Beijing

Imperial

Eat like an emperor. A wide range of dishes with light flavors and exquisite presentation paying careful attention to color, smell and taste.

-Bai Family Mansion BFM have not only managed to recreate the splendour of the Qing dynasty in terms of atmosphere but also with its menu. Chefs select the best ingredients and dishes from Ningxia wolfberries to Dongbei mushrooms. Open 10am-10.30pm daily. Meal for two 150RMB.
白家食府,海淀区苏州街29号 Tel: 62654186

-Dazhaimen Decent Beijing dishes accompanied by a fun mask changing performance, a bit of opera and an acrobatic show that will impress out of town guests. Open 11am-10.30pm daily. Meal for two 150RMB.
大宅门,海淀区首体南路甲20号国兴家园旁(近车公庄路)Tel: 88356687

-Fangshan Restaurant Great service and Cixi’s favorites, for just less than the price of a mable boat. Daily 11am-1.30pm, 5-8pm.
仿膳饭庄 西城区文津街1号北海公园东门内 (Tel: 64011889)

-Gege Fu An enclave of the Qing dynasty lives on. Try the great duck hotpot. Daily 11am-1.30pm, 5-10pm
格格府 朝阳区美术馆后大街大取灯胡同9号内 (Tel: 64078006)

-Tiandi Yijia Aristocratic food, environment and prices, a stone’s throw away from the Forbidden City. Daily 11am-2pm, 5-10pm.
天地一家 东城区南池子大街140号 (Tel: 85115556)

-The Red Capital Club This beautifully restored courtyard restaurant is dedicated to the hedonistic things in life-fine food, good wine and cigars-and the spirit of Chinese capitalism. Open 6-11pm daily. Meal for two with drinks 400RMB.
新红资俱乐部,东城区东四九条66号 Tel: 64027150

-Shun Yi Fu The dumplings made here are not as salty as in other places and all the tastier for it. The clean environment and friendly service are a bonus. Meal for two 50RMB.
顺义府,东城区王府井甘雨胡同36-3号 Tel: 65281960

Guangdong

-Huang Ting Huang Ting’s elegant traditional courtyard design matches the refined and delicate Cantonese cuisine. Meal for two 400RMB.
凰庭,东城区金鱼胡同8号王府饭店. Tel: 65128899 ext. 6707

-Lei Garden, a reputable Cantonese restaurant, not only offers a lavish menu of shark’s fin, abalone and bird’s nest, but also ordinary fare at reasonable prices. Meal for two 200RMB.
利苑,东城区金宝街89号金宝大厦三层 Tel: 85221212

-Longji Cha Canting A Cantonese bistro serving inexpensive but decent Cantonese food and a great set lunch for under 40RMB. Open 7am-midnight. Meal for two around 70RMB.
龙记茶餐厅,朝阳区建国门外1号金之桥大厦西翼京伦饭店东侧 Tel: 65958546

-Gu Zhenhuang The beauty of coming here is that you don’t have to worry about ordering. The set gourmet menus, designed by a Hong Kong master chef, are tailored to include appetizers, hot dishes and dessert for your convenience. Open 6pm-9.30pm, Mon-Thur; 11am-2pm, 6pm-9.30pm Fri-Sun. Meal costs 250RMB to 1,400RMB per person.
古镇煌美食房,西城区前海西街3号. Tel: 66139641

Guangxi & Guizhou

Characterized by dishes that are light on onion and ginger, and flavors that are tart and slightly spicy. Includes Miao minority style cooking featuring pineapple rice.


-No. 28 Courtyard Small and casual courtyard with a date tree and a little pond where fish are kept alive until the kitchen calls. No. 28 serves Zhuang specialities from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Open 11am-11pm. Meal for two 80RMB.
28号院子,东城区戏楼胡同1号 (雍和宫南侧)Tel: 84016788


-Jun Qin Hua A small and simple restaurant specializing in the Miao cuisine of Kaili. Their zaola dishes are quite addictive. The best deal in town for decent food at low prices. Open 10am-11pm. Meal for two around 150RMB.
君琴花餐厅,东城区美术馆后街88号. Tel: 64047600

-Long Yuan Tang A quaint little place where you can enjoy a quick dip into Guangxi food culture. Daily 10am-11pm.
元堂 东城区东四北大街香饵胡同6号 (Tel: 84049502)

-Miao Minority Restaurant This restaurant caters to the dinner-and-show type crowd with its nightly Miao minority show. Dishes include oven roasted bullfrog and Guizhou-style dog meat hot pot.
盛祥 1)西城区复兴门大街54号(民族宫对面) (66079738); 2)海淀区清华大学西门北侧300米路西 (62569150)

-Three Guizhou Men The delicious food served here is a fusion of the different regions of Guizhou but dishes are one notch less spicy than what Guizhou natives may be used to. Meal for two 150RMB.
三个贵州人,朝阳区工体西路8号;(Tel: 65518517)朝阳区光华西里3号 (Tel: 62186060);北四环理想国际大厦2层 (62186060).

Hakka

Originally hailing from central China, Hakka communities are now spread throughout Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Taiwan. Hakka food features dishes that emphasize the natural taste of fresh ingredients.

-Han Cang The Hakkas or “Guest People”, settled in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, bringing with them their earthy and hearty food such as shrimps cooked in rock salt and braised eel-good, honest grub. Open 11.30am-3pm, 5-10.30pm daily. Meal for two 180RMB.
汉仓,西城区后海什刹海东岸.

Home Style

Chinese comfort food; dishes that are ubiquitous throughout China.

-BaizhouXiang Rice porridge, in all its many forms, supplement the congee collection with a variety of homestyle xiaochi. Open daily 24 hours.
百粥乡 1)朝阳区枣营北里6号(佰宁花园一层)(Tel: 65079656) 2)东城区中街9号东环广场A座一层 (64185681)

-Hua Jia Yi Yuan Serves tasty homestyle fare in a swanky courtyard setting with comfortable private rooms. Their spareribs, kaomantou (roasted buns), mala xie (spicy crayfish) and draft beer are popular. Daily 24hrs.
花家怡园 1)东城区东直门内大街235号;(Tel: 64051908) 2) 东城区东直门内大街5号; (84078281/88)

-Xiao Wang Fu Serves homestyle fara and duck in a bustling, efficient environment. The Ritan Park location is swankier and also pricier.
北京小王府 1)朝阳区光华路东里2号楼;(Tel: 65913255) 2) 西城区前海北沿15号; (Tel: 66175558)3) 朝阳区日坛路日坛公园北门内

-Yijia Xiaoguan The décor is your standard hole-in-the-wall type, with bare walls and a handful of sturdy tables, clean and simple. Yet Zhang and his friendly, no-frills, little neighborhood joint will remind you of why you came to Beijing in the first place. Daily 10am-late
屹家小 东城区交道口北二条26号 (Tel: 84028544)

Hunan & Hubei

Hubei: Famous for its freshwater fish, tender meat and thick soups that go well with rice.
Hunan: Thick and pungent in flavor. Dishes use copious amounts of chili, pepper and shallots.

-Tanzhou Jiulou Excellent smoked duck. Brilliant dishes in a rough environment. Daily 11am-11pm.
潭州酒楼 朝阳区花家地北里1号楼 (邮局北边) (Tel: 64734418)

-Tianzhao Jiayuan Huisuo Daily 10am-10pm
天兆佳苑会所,海淀区西直门北大街41号

-Xiang Hai Lou The former Yue Ming Lou now serves Hunan food in a traditional environment. Head up to the third floor terrace for panoramic views of the lake and surrounding hutongs. Daily 10am-11pm.
湘海楼 西城区什刹海鸦儿胡同21号 (Tel: 64028408)

-Xiang Ming Yuan Nice, clean and brightly lit restaurant serves Xiangcai favorites like hongshaorou (braised pork in claypot) and duojiaoyutou (fish heads with sweet peppers) to a predominantly white collar dinner crowd.
湘明园 朝阳区工体南路1号 (Tel: 65525493)



Hot Pot

Raw foods brought to your table and cooked in a bubbling broth. Tastes vary with regional styles.

Ding Ding Xiang The best hot pot in town with quality meat and fresh vegetables all in a trendy setting. Individula pots allow you to cook everything from lamb, beef and fish balls to live prawns and crab claws. The jinpaijiang, gold medal dipping sauce, is well named. Open 11am-10.30pm daily. Meal for two 250RMB.
鼎鼎香,东城区东直门外东中街元嘉国际公寓二层(东环广场酒店式国际公寓对面)Tel: 64179289

Hot Loft The Hot Loft has dragged the bubbling hot pot into the 21st century by increasing the range of soup bases with everything from sour and spicy Thai to a duck-based broth, and a variety of novel dipping sauces. Open 10am-5am daily. Meal for two 150RMB.
鼎酷, 朝阳区工体西路8号楼五层 (Tel: 65527992);朝阳区工体北路4号 (Tel: 65017501)

Long Island Hot Pot Massage and spa giant, Long Island, has ventured into the restaurant business and their latest Hong Kong-style hot pot joint offers an entirely organic menu. Daily 11.30am-2pm, 5.30-10.30pm.
长岛香港海鲜火锅 朝阳建国门外大街16号东方瑞景一层 (赛特饭店东侧) Tel: 65691616/1919

Miao Ling Located on the renao Guijie, this perpetually crowded Guizhou-style hot pot restaurant offers suan tang yu, a sour, tomato-based soup with a whole fish. Some complain that the soup is not spicy enough, yet they keep coming back for more. Daily 24hrs.
苗岭酸汤鱼 东城区东直门内大街232号 (Tel: 64049765)

Xiangjiang Mingcheng Spacious and cheerful, enjoy authentic Canto hotpot in a clean, casually sophisticated environment. Daily 11am-4am.
香江名城 东城区中街东环广场B座2层 (Tel: 64183666/3777)

Ye Shan Jun Wild Fungus House Mushroom hot pot inspired from Yunan and Fujian. Daily 9.30am-12.30am.
野山菌菇宴 崇文门前东大街甲2号 (Tel: 65122708)



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