5 things to eat in Beijing this winter

Feast on these food that will warm you up during Beijing's chilly weather

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Try your hand at making tangyuan

Try your hand at making tangyuan

What would a Chinese festival be without family get togethers and feasting? Another Dongzhi Festival tradition, gather with loved ones and bite into a gooey tangyuan, glutinous rice balls served in soup. The little balls all together in one bowl represent family togetherness. This is a dish which is also commonly served at Chinese weddings. You can find this sweet soup out at restaurants, but if you’re up for a challenge and a little fun in the kitchen, try making these at home. Gather the kids round and have them shape the rice balls together. You’ll have a delicious meal to share together and an afternoon of memories when you’re all done!

Eat laba porridge

Eat laba porridge

Laba Festival, which falls on January 13 next year, is a Buddhist holiday, and is also one of the historically coldest days of the year. To celebrate this fest, which commemorates the day Buddha attained enlightenment, head over to Yonghegong Lama Temple where steamy bowls of laba porridge will be served. The porridge is made from rice and beans and is often sweetened with nuts and dried fruit. Every year on this holiday, many of China’s temples are open to the public and have bowls of the hearty, healthy congee on offer but Lama Temple’s will be Beijing’s largest gathering. If you and your family love getting into the Chinese holiday spirit, but feel like skipping the crowds this year, try making a batch of laba porridge at home. Look for mixes in your local grocery store labeled with its more common Chinese name labazhou 腊八粥. 

Wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate

Wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate

Push all thoughts of saccharine powder concoctions to the back of your mind (and to the back of the cupboard); Vai Milano’s Authentic Italian Hot Chocolate (32-48RMB) is a real indulgence, albeit one best enjoyed infrequently for the sake of fitting into festive outfits. Made with 70 percent cacao dark chocolate, full-cream milk and cut through with a hint of salt, it’s not overly sweet but still feels rich and decadent. Refined and understated, this simple cioccolata calda is a velvety counterpoint to the excesses of winter weather, but you might need a lie-down after finishing it.

Get hot pot delivered to your door

Get hot pot delivered to your door

Hot pot chain restaurant Haidilao is renowned for its excellent service – a mantra that extends to its home delivery service, too. Haidilao’s crack team have got all angles covered, and from 258RMB (minimum order; plus service and delivery fees) arrive fully armed with everything from protective covers for your hot pot surface, eating and cooking utensils and post-hot pot air fresheners to rid that Gui Jie scent from your home, to the necessities like fresh meat, veg and noodles. Then, they’ll clean up for when you’re done at no extra cost. Pay 200RMB extra and you can have a member of wait staff stay and cook everything for you. Check hi.haidilao.com for full price information or to book delivery. Hot pot not your jam? Book yourself a private chef instead through the Hao Chushi app (好厨师; Chinese only). 

Learn to make jiaozi

Learn to make jiaozi

You can never start perfecting your jiaozi-making skills for Spring Festival early enough. This year, head over to The Hutong and take a class that’ll walk you through each step. The cultural exchange centre, nestled in a beautiful courtyard near the Beixinqiao subway station, offers events and educational programs. But we recommend the cooking classes because of their small size and knowledgeable staff.


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