Born in Beijing but raised in Vancouver, Canada, Chris Niu runs innovative izakaya-style restaurant Beyond Yakitori
, serving up both top-notch barbecue and stellar sake to match. A Japanese food fanatic, Niu honed his skills in several establishments across Tokyo, picking up a 'Yakitori Master' certificate along the way. More than just food, Niu appreciates a good tipple; 'Great food can never be separated from great drinks. It’s like the relationship between fries and ketchup, or in China, soy milk and Chinese dough fritters.'
Favourite neighbourhood restaurant
Instead of classic Peking duck, Beijing-style stir-fry is what I really craved growing up. At Fumanyuan, the chefs have mastered the art of wok hei [literally 'breath of the wok'], which is what gives that smoky flavour found in perfect stir-fried dishes.
10 Xinyuan Nan Lu, Chaoyang district (6461 8656). Open 11am-10pm daily.
Dish I can eat every day
Xiaomian Noodle (小面)
This Sichuan-style noodle – springy noodles served beneath minced meat, spices, soybean paste and spicy garlic dressing – is simply addictive. At home, we do more of a luxe version, adding wagyu trimmings from our restaurant to homemade spice paste which is then topped with fresh herbs and a dash of citrusy ponzu sauce. A mouthful of pure satisfaction.
Grandma's favourite restaurant
My grandma loves roast duck, so my family often gathers together over a good meal of Peking duck. The duck from Dadong is amazingly tender, with a refined flavour and perfectly roasted amber skin.
Fifth Floor, Jinbaohui Shopping Center, 88 Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng district (8522 1234). Open 11am-10pm daily.
Favourite late-night restaurant
Beijing’s best lamb hotpot, by a mile! I was never a fan of this often-gamey animal until I tried Yudefu's traditional Beijing-style hotpot. Pair it with a good bottle of sake to cap off a great night.
264 Dongzhimennei Dajie, Dongcheng district (8402 6223). Open 11am-2pm, 4pm-2am daily.
Favourite after-work supper place
Right across the street from our own restaurant at Topwin Center, Taco Bar is probably one of the most fun places to be in Beijing while also offering quality Mexican tacos.
10 Sanlitun Nan Lu, Chaoyang district (6501 6026). Open 5-11pm Tue-Fri; 11.30am-11pm Sat-Sun (closed Mon).
Favourite afterparty eats
As chefs, rather than bar hop, we restaurant hop. So after an insane amount of food and liquor, this Japanese noodle place is often my last stop for a bowl of flavourful maze soba [dry noodles with a thick sauce in place of soup] or tsukemen [similar to ramen, but the noodles and soup are served separately].
Second floor, Bingduyuan, Nongzhanguan Bei Lu, Chaoyang district (185 1857 0267). Open 11.30am-2pm, 4pm-1am daily.