Beijing's 25 best dishes

Don't leave Beijing without sampling these moreish delights

We make it our job (literally) to know the best of Beijing so we can tell you what’s good. Here’s our guide to the very tastiest things to eat. Get started with glittery threesomes, slurping up what we call ‘crack noodles’ and sinking your teeth into some delicious sweets.

Meat

Peking duck

Peking duck

We'd be mad if we didn't include Peking duck on our list of the best dishes in Beijing. It's Beijing's premier culinary export, after all. Being such a traditional staple, it's hard to choose just one place to get your fix of crispy meat, unctuous hoisin sauce and sharp shreds of vegetable, all wrapped up in delicate, translucent pancakes. We're getting a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it. Jing Yaa Tang does a particularly fine kaoya at The Opposite House, but for more (and cheaper) options, check our our guide to Beijing's best Peking duck restaurants.


Price From 128RMB

Steak tartare

Steak tartare

Seasoned, oil-slicked raw beef, runny egg yolk and only the finest of Spanish anchovies – this is steak tartare, but not as you know it. This primal dish is a chilling, juicy delight.

Price 180RMB
Where Bistrot B

Roujiamo

Roujiamo

Roujiamo is possibly the perfect comfort food, and Qin Tang Fu is possibly the perfect place to snaffle them in Beijing. The bread is chewy and the pork inside is meltingly tender (and for 2RMB more you can double your portion). The sandwiches here eschew the street-style spicy peppers to focus on the flavour, done as fatty or lean as you like.

Price
8RMB

Braised pork belly with abalone

Braised pork belly with abalone

Luscious, fatty cubes of pork belly are ‘red-braised’, or hongshao, in light and dark soy sauce and aromatics – a common enough treatment, sure, but this version’s been turned up to 11 with slabs of abalone and generous shavings of black truffle. Oh hell yeah.

Price 380RMB (plus 10 percent service and 6 percent VAT)

Donkey burger

Donkey burger

If we had to pick sammie to be king of the Middle Kingdom, it’d be the donkey ‘burger’ (lürou huoshao, 驴肉火烧). Lean, protein-rich meat packed into an impossibly flaky bun – you’ll fall in love with this donkey quicker than Eeyore.

Price 10RMB

Twice-cooked pork

Twice-cooked pork

Sure, sometimes you want inventive, but other times you just want a blow-your-socks-off rendition of a classic. And this is exactly what Zhang Mama serves up. Packing blistering chilli heat, yet still surprisingly complex, this is a huiguo rou (回锅肉) you won’t forget.

Price 28RMB
Where Zhang Mama

Calzone al Salame

Calzone al Salame

This half-moon of cheesy delight is stuffed with ricotta and spicy salami, topped with lashings of mozzarella and olive oil. A serious contender for one of the best things we've eaten in Beijing.


Price 90RMB
Where Bottega

Porterhouse steak

Porterhouse steak

The pride of Park Avenue, Wolfgang Zweiner’s steakhouse recently opened in Beijing. Its incredibly flavoursome signature porterhouse – dry-aged en masse, on site – hits the white tablecloth spitting like a cobra, bubbling in its own naughty juices. The dry-aging technique – deal breaker for some, game changer for others – imparts on the beef a funk comparable to that of a mature cheese. There’s almost more flavour than you know what to do with here.


Price 600RMB

Vegetables

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

The Shaksuka (a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast bowl) at The Orchid combines two poached eggs on a seasoned tomato base with a side of zhug – a mixture of coriander and chilli paste, and some toasted bings to help shovel it all down. 

Price 78RMB

Dry pot cauliflower

Dry pot cauliflower

Ganguo huacai (干锅花菜) is a common enough dish on the standard Chinese menu, but Nice Rice hits it spot-on. Like all of this Hunan eatery's dishes, the ingredients in its dry-pot cauliflower are inarguably fresh. Tossed with chillies and touch of Chinese bacon to kick up the flavour, this dish is A+.

Price 38RMB
Where Nice Rice

Seafood

G Roll

G Roll

This is sushi if the gaudiest kind, and all the more joyful for it. A tube of soft shell crab and avocado is packaged in fat, vinegary rice and seaweed, topped with a sliver of unagi (freshwater eel) and tumbling piles of neon orange fish roe. 

Price 92RMB
Where Hana

Calamares fritos

Calamares fritos

It feels wrong saying that the best thing on the menu isn’t a taco (though man, those shrimp ones? Daaayum!) but we might just have to. Tossed in a light batter, deep-fried and served up with pickled vegetables and a spicy aioli, a dish of this crispy calamari can’t survive five minutes on our table. Order one per head, and you’ll still have at least one too few.

Price 55RMB
Where Taco Bar

Noodles

You'po mian

You'po mian

We call these ‘crack noodles’. Spicy from the chilli, tangy from the vinegar and with the perfect amount of chew, you’ll be addicted in no time. Unlike any other you’po chemian (油泼扯面)… there must be something extra in the He family’s ‘secret sauce’.

Price 25RMB

The sweet stuff

Ricotta pancakes

Ricotta pancakes

Sorry Aunt Jemima – this, friends, is a pancake. Farm-to-table is gospel here, and the humble pancake gets a major upgrade because of it. Stuffed until nearly bursting, the fresh ricotta is made in-house with milk from cows on the restaurant’s farm. You can almost taste their life of idyll in these pillow-soft flapjacks. Breakfast here is a dream – drizzled in syrup, of course.

Price 45RMB

Fynsk brunsviger

Fynsk brunsviger

This Danish coffee cake, moist with candied brown sugar, cinnamon and much butter is a foolish, floppy delight. Tastes Nordic miles better than it looks.

Price 18RMB

Passion fruit tart

Passion fruit tart

Sometimes we miss the extravagance of a true French pastry. Then we remember Jiang Mai Tang. The almond-chocolate croissants are to die for, but the passion fruit tart is that and then some. Sinfully velvety and the perfect size to eat yourself. We won’t tell.

Price 30RMB

  • 4 out of 5 stars
submit