The Top 15 Beijing Foods You Must Try

The Top 15 Beijing Foods You Must Try

By Candice SongUpdated Nov. 2, 2021

Find out what to eat in Beijing. This Beijing food list has the top Beijing dishes and snacks with recommended restaurants and areas to find them in.

With the exception of Beijing’s best-known culinary export, Peking duck, most of the city’s most famous dishes have been adopted from surrounding areas. Regardless of their origin, all of the following dishes are now fully ingrained in Beijing life and can be sampled at restaurants throughout the city. Enjoy!

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1. Beijing Roast Duck

Peking DuckPeking Duck

Beijing roast duck, or Peking duck, is the epitome of Beijing cuisine and the dish you must try when visiting Beijing. The dish is mostly esteemed for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly skin and little meat.

While sauces and accompaniments will vary between restaurants (the most common being scallion and cucumber) it is difficult to go wrong with roast duck in Beijing. If you eat at one of Beijing’s more famous duck restaurants it will also be accompanied by a short demonstration on the correct way to assemble a Peking duck wrap using chopsticks.

  • Chinese: 北京烤鸭 Běijīng kǎoyā /bay-jing kaow-yaa/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Da Dong Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭)
  • Address: F6 Wangfu Mall, 301 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京市东城区王府井大街301号王府商厦F6
  • Price: CN¥198 for a whole duck (feeds 3/4)
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2. Jiaozi — Chinese Dumplings

Chinese DumplingsChinese Dumplings

Jiaozi is another dish that can be found anywhere across Beijing.

While there are a number of better-known dumpling restaurants and chains, some of the tastiest dumplings (and most interesting experiences) can be found in smaller, less conspicuous family eateries where dumplings are the only thing on the menu. At these restaurants you can often sit and watch the next batch of dumplings being rolled and filled as you eat.

A plate of Jiaozi with a soy sauce, vinegar and chili dip is synonymous with Northern Chinese cuisine.

  • Chinese: (饺子 jiǎozi /jyaow-dzuh/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Mr Shi's Dumplings (老石水饺)
  • Address: 88 Baochao Hutong, Gulou Dong Dajie 东城区鼓楼东大街, 宝钞胡同88号
  • Price: CN¥20–30/plate (15 jiaozi)
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3. Jing Jiang Rousi — Shredded Pork in Beijing Sauce

Shredded Pork in Beijing SauceShredded Pork in Beijing Sauce

Jing jiang rousi is another dish incredibly popular with local Beijingers, and unlike many of the city’s other popular dishes, it originated in the capital. Its popularity may stem from its simplicity: sliced pork cooked in a sweet bean sauce, served with soy bean wraps. Jing jiang rousi is a necessary component of any authentic Beijing dining experience.

  • Chinese: 京酱肉丝 (jīng jiàng ròusī /jing jyang roh-srr/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Jin Ding Xuan Restaurant (金鼎轩)
  • Address: 77 Hepingli Street, Dongcheng District 北京市东城区和平里西街77号
  • Price: CN¥60/person (for an entire meal)
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4. Noodles with Soybean Paste — Zhajiang Mian

Noodles with Soybean PasteNoodles with Soybean Paste

Zhajiang mian is very popular when it comes to traditional Beijing cuisine, and is sometimes referred to simply as ‘Beijing noodles’.

It has three main ingredients: wide hand-pulled noodles, vegetable pieces, and pork. Vegetables vary seasonally, but there are never less than seven kinds. It is an ideal lunch time snack for visitors short on time as it is usually ready seconds after you order. As an added bonus it is very inexpensive.

  • Chinese: 炸酱面 (zhájiàng miàn /jaa-jyang myen/ ‘fried-sauce noodles’)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King (老北京炸酱面大王)
  • Address: 56 Dong Xinglongjie, Dongcheng District 东城区东兴隆街56号
  • Price: CN¥15

5. Mongolian Hotpot

Mongolian HotpotMongolian Hotpot

Mongolian hotpot, a dish that’s history dates back over 1,000 years, is as much about the enjoyment of the cooking as it is the taste.

Traditional hotpot meals involve sitting around a large pot of boiling soup, in which you cook your own food. Although Mongolian hotpot usually involves a large amount of lamb, any number of meats, vegetables, and breads are available. These are sliced thin to ensure they cook quickly and evenly.

This northern-Chinese style of hotpot uses a soup that is less spicy and generally less flavored than its southern counterparts, with more emphasis being placed on the ingredients that are cooked rather than what they are cooked in.

  • Chinese: 蒙古火锅 (Ménggǔ huǒguō /mnng-goo hwor-gwor/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Dong Lai Shun (东来顺)
  • Address: 91 Tiantan Road, Dongcheng District 市东城区天坛路91号
  • Price: CN¥140/person (for an entire meal)

6. Donkey Burgers

Donkey BurgersDonkey Burgers

Originating in the city of Baoding in northern Hebei Province, Beijing has adopted the donkey burger as its own. Restaurants offering this dish serve a number of different donkey meals, however the one to try is the donkey burger. Shredded donkey meat is served in a piping-hot, crunchy bun with a green pepper relish.

The contrast between the succulent meat, crunchy bun, and sweet relish make it incredibly tasty and you are unlikely to stop at one. Look out for a big 驴肉 (‘donkey meat’) sign clearly visible on the front of all restaurants offering this food.

  • Chinese: 驴肉火烧 (lǘròu huǒshāo /lyoo-roh hwor-shaow/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Wang Pangzi (王胖子)
  • Address: 76 Gulou Xidajie, Xicheng District 鼓楼西大街76号
  • Price: CN¥10–12/burger

7. Dry Wok Potato Wedges

Dry Wok Potato WedgesDry Wok Potato Wedges

The literal translation of this dish — ‘dry wok potato wedges’ — offers diners a fairly accurate idea of what to expect.

Slices of potato, crispy pork, and chilies simmer in an iron pot sat atop an open flame. As you are working your way through the meat and potatoes, the bed of sliced onions that is hidden underneath slowly caramelizes in oil, leaving you with a delicious snack to finish your meal on.

It is a dish best enjoyed during the colder months, but is popular with locals all year round.

  • Chinese: 干锅土豆片 (gàn guō tǔdòu piàn /gan gwor too-doh pyen/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Any of the rows of restaurants along Ghost Street will serve this dish. It is best enjoyed as part of a larger meal, so it is recommended that you choose a restaurant along this street that serves other dishes you are interested in.
  • Address: Ghost Street (Dongzhimen Nei Dajie, Chaoyang District) 鬼街(东直门内大街)
  • Price: CN¥18–30
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8. Tudou Si — Shredded Potato

Shredded PotatoShredded Potato

This dish is another great option for potato lovers. Thinly shredded potatoes are stir-fried with green peppers and seasoning and can be served hot or cold. Don't be fooled by the plain look of the potatoes as they are coated in a sweet gloss which give the dish its flavor.

  • Chinese: 土豆丝 (tǔdòu sī /too-doh srr/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Shijin Yuan (十锦园)
  • Address: 13 Sanlitun, Chaoyang District 朝阳区三里屯13号
  • Price: CN¥15

9. Rolling Donkey

Rolling DonkeyRolling Donkey

Unlike the donkey sandwich, this dish doesn't actually contain meat of any kind, let alone donkey. Rolling donkey refers to a kind of traditional Beijing snack with a soft skin made of glutinous rice flour and a red bean stuffing, also known in southern China as ‘rolling horse’ (马打滚 mǎ dǎgǔn).

  • Chinese: 驴打滚 (lǘ dǎgǔn /lyoo daa-gwnn/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Bai Ji Niangao (白记年糕)
  • Address: 1/F, Niu Jie Halal Supermarket, 5 Niu Jie, Xicheng District 西城区牛街5号牛街清真超市1楼
  • Price: CN¥20/500g

10. Tuckahoe Pie

Tuckahoe PieTuckahoe Pie

Tuckahoe pie is a traditional paper-thin snack in the shape of a full moon, which is popular in Beijing. It consists of a basic pancake wrapped in sugar, honey, and an assortment of nuts.

According to a legend, tuckahoe pie originated in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279), and the preparation method and the required equipment are well documented. The herb tuckahoe has many medicinal properties, and therefore it is popular with Chinese people, especially women and the elderly.

  • Chinese: 茯苓夹饼 (fúlíng jiābǐng /foo-ling jyaa-bing/)
  • Recommended eateries: Multiple food stalls and shops can be found along Wangfujing Snack Street (王府井小吃街) selling this snack and many other Beijing snack streets.
  • Price: CN¥25/box

11. Tanghulu — Candied Fruit on a Stick

Candied Fruit on a StickCandied Fruit on a Stick

Tanghulu, the "Chinese toffee apple", is an old Beijing-style dessert consisting of a skewer with fruits dipped in liquid sugar then dried. They are about 20 cm (8”) long and include many kinds of fruits coated in sugar, such as crabapples, kiwis, cherries, tomatoes, pineapples, grapes, strawberries, and so on. When you bite into a tanghulu, it has a wonderful crunch!

In Beijing, they are easy to buy from carts by the side of the street, and are popular with kids.

  • Chinese: 糖葫芦 (tánghúlu /tung-hoo-loo/)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Ma Ji Tanghulu
  • Address: 1/F, Niu Jie Halal Supermarket, 5 Niu Jie, Xicheng District 西城区牛街5号牛街清真超市1楼
  • Price: CN¥10/stick
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12. Wandou Huang — Pea Flour Cake

Pea Flour CakePea Flour Cake

Pea flour cake is a traditional snack from Beijing. It is made of white peas. It used to be an imperial snack, and was one of Emperor Dowager Cixi’s favorites. It has a yellow look, with a fine and smooth texture that melts in the mouth. Locals usually eat it in spring.

  • Chinese: 豌豆黄 (wāndòu huáng /wan-doh hwung/ ‘pea yellow’)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Bai Ji Niangao (白记年糕)
  • Address: 1/F, Niu Jie Halal Supermarket, 5 Niu Jie, Xicheng District 西城区牛街5号牛街清真超市1楼
  • Price: CN¥20/500g

13. Aiwowo — Glutinous Rice Balls

Glutinous Rice BallsGlutinous Rice Balls

Aiwowo is a traditional dessert with a long history. It used to be served as a royal food. Its skins are made of glutinous rice flour, and the various stuffings are suitable for all ages and tastes. They include walnuts, sesame seeds, melon seeds, yam paste, and other natural ingredients.

  • Chinese: 艾窝窝 (àiwōwo /eye-wor-wor/ ‘wormwood nests’)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Huguo Temple Snack shop (护国寺小吃)
  • Address: About 100 m east of Huguo Temple Hotel; 68 Huguosi Street, Xicheng District 西城区护国寺街68号,护国寺宾馆东侧约100米
  • Price: CN¥3/each

14. Dalian Huoshao — Fried Pancakes with Fillings

Fried Pancakes with FillingsFried Pancakes with Fillings

The history of this food dates back to 1876. Locals usually eat dalian huoshao for breakfast. These deep-fried rolls of wheaten dough filled with minced pork and vegetables taste similar to fried dumplings, but more juicy.

  • Chinese: 褡裢火烧 (dālián huǒshāo /daa-lyen hwor-shao/ ‘cloth-pouch fried’)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Furongju Restaurant (福荣居褡裢火烧)
  • Address: 143 Dongsi North Street, Dongcheng District 市东城区东四北大街143号
  • Price: CN¥3/each

15. Zhizi Kaorou — Iron Grid Barbecue

Iron Grid BarbecueIron Grid Barbecue

A zhizi is an iron plate made of iron rods, which can be heated and used for roasting, so that the excess fat of the barbecue drips away through the gaps. It is mainly used for halal beef and mutton.

The firewood for the barbecue is mainly aromatic wood, such as pine, jujube, pear, and other fruit trees’, so that the aroma is imparted into the meat. Side dishes are usually green onions and coriander.

  • Chinese: 炙子烤肉 (zhìzǐ kǎoròu /jrr-dzuh kao-roh/ ‘BBQ grid roast meat’)
  • Restaurant recommendation: Houwei Ju Old Beijing Zhizi Barbecue (厚味居炙子烤肉)
  • Address: 11 Guang’anmen Bus Station West Street, Xicheng District 西城区广安门车站西街甲11号
  • Price: CN¥120/person
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Eat Authentic Beijing Food on Our Beijing Tours

We can arrange for you to eat all of the foods above in authentic Beijing restaurant or snack street settings. Our Beijing tours, almost without exception, include a chance to eat roast duck.

You can request to eat any one of these tasty dishes, or anything else you would like to try, when customizing your tour with our travel advisers.

If you are particularly interested in enjoying China’s top foods in China, as well as the top sights, check out:

  • A Broad Taste of China — a 13-day private food tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu – Guilin – Hong Kong
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