Chengde is situated on the transitional belt of the Inner Mongolia Plateau and the Northern China Plain. The landforms are quite complex in this area, including forested areas, grasslands, mountains, plains, hills, and valleys.
The area abounds with products and game, which became the basis of its unique dietary culture. From the periods of the emperors Kangxi and Qianlong in the Qing dynasty, royal families began to build retreats here, including the Royal Summer Resort and Mulan Hunting Reserve.
As the emperors came to avoid the heat and go hunting, Chengde combined local and royal dietary cultures with local products, gradually forming a cuisine of many famous dishes, including the local chicken enveloped with lotus leaves, Pingquan frozen rabbit, Qinglong fish, spiced deer meat, fried pheasant, wild flavor hotpot, and the Eight Immortals of wild flavor.
Meanwhile, many snacks of Chengde, on the strength of inherited traditions, began to attract the attention of cooks and epicures of cooking styles from all over the country. The local flavors of Chengde integrated specialities of other places, and became quite famous due to the favor of the emperors.
Some of these well-known snacks are Chengde bean-starch noodles, Donkey Rolling Rolls, Rose Biscuits, Snow-white Imperial Noodles, and Noodles of the Imperial Household.
Donkey-Rolling Roll is a long roll with stuffing wrapped in yellow rice. The Roll is served on a bed of yellow beans. The act of turning the roll on the yellow beans is just like a donkey rolling on the ground. That is how the snack got its name. It could be found in Chengde more than 200 years ago.
Generally less than one hundred yuan for a large plate (in Chengde restaurants, there are always large and small plates; the large plate is about ten inches wide and the small one seven inches wide).
You noodle is a kind of coarse food grain. It is slightly dark colored. The local You Noodle wozi dough is first rolled out to a thin skin, and then formed to its final shape. After that, it is put into a pot and braised. You dip it in the sauce when eating. It feels smooth and jelly-like in your mouth. You Noodle jiaozi is a kind of ravioli stuffed with pickled vegetables.
Pubang deer meat clusters and the cooked deer meat clusters are quite tasty, and cost only four or five yuan for each cluster. They are well worth trying. In the street south of the Summer Resort, there are many shops featuring local specialities which cater to tourists.
Hall for the Most Esteemed Guests
This is a place that offers all encompassing services such as diets, accommodation, recreational activities and so on. It provides various vegetarian dishes including ones similar in texture and flavor to meat and fish, the flavor being worth tasting. While having meals, you can also appreciate performances there like the song and dance duet popular in the north-east of China and some dances. Besides all of the above, you can also enjoy the nice services and elegant environment there. Moreover, there is also a swimming pool, the price being 25 yuan RMB a time; you should take your own swimwear.
- Chinese name: 上客堂 Shangke Tang
- Recommended dishes: spring rolls with sauerkraut (酸菜春卷), pumpkin cooked with Chinese chestnuts and sweet potatoes (南瓜板栗红薯)，and fried vegetarian "lamb" with cumin (孜然羊肉)
- Average price per person: 69 yuan
- Address: the western side of the Puning Temple, Puning Road, Shuangqiao District 双桥区普宁路普宁寺西院
- Tel: 0314-2058535, 0314-2058209
- Transportation: Take Bus 6 and get off at Erliuliu Hospital (二六六医院).
- Special service: A swiping card facility is available.
Lao San Lamb Sweetbread Soup Restaurant
As its name implies, Lao San Lamb Sweetbread Soup Restaurant, a Muslim-style restaurant, is famous for its delicious lamb sweetbread soup. The lamb sweetbread is widely known because of its guaranteed quality ingredients and great culinary skills. It tastes fresh and juicy. The restaurant has two floors with simple but elegant decorations, which provides a good dining environment. Its location near many scenic sites such as Chengde Mountain Resort and the Temple of Universal Peace makes it convenient for travelers to have meals after visiting.
- Chinese name: 老三羊汤 Lao San Yangtang
- Recommended dishes: sesame seed cake (烧饼), spicy lamb's feet (香辣羊蹄), sautéed shredded potatoes with chili and vinegar sauce (酸辣土豆丝), and sautéed lamb's liver with green onions (葱爆羊肝).
- Average price per person: 25 yuan
- Opening hours: 9am – 9.30pm
- Address: Commercial Building 8, 1 North Prosperousness Street Community, Mountain Resort East Road, Double Bridges District 双桥区山庄东路北兴隆街小区1号商业楼8#
- Tel: 0314-2272283, 0314-22722832
- Transportation: Take bus 6, 11, or 15, and get off at Wanshuyuan (Ten Thousand Trees Garden/万树园).
Pleasure Building Muslim Restaurant
Pleasure Building Muslim Restaurant is popular with travelers, especially Muslim travelers, because of its locations opposite the Zhungli Gate of Chengde Mountain Resort. It is not a large restaurant with a common gate, but its traditional Muslim-style dishes are great and cheap. Apart from its dishes, the restaurant is decorated in warm shades of red and yellow, creating a pleasant, comfortable and relaxed feeling.
- Chinese name: 爽心楼清真饭店 Shuang Xin Lou Qingzhen Fandian
- Recommended dishes: sautéed beef with cabbage (菜心一品牛肉), plain braised beef/lamb tenderloin (扒肉条), roast leg of lamb (烤羊腿), braised beef/mutton in rice wine (黄焖牛/羊肉), sautéed sweet and sour beef tenderloin (糖醋里脊), black mushrooms (凉拌木耳), home cooked style hairtail fish (家常带鱼), stewed beef with a fried dough twist in a mini hot pot (麻花炖牛肉), stewed lamb chops with white gourd (羊排炖冬瓜), and braised baby cabbage balls (娃娃菜烩丸子).
- Average price per person: 45 yuan
- Opening hours: 7.30am – 9.30pm
- Address: Bottom of Sports Commission Families' Building 9, Mountain Resort East Road, Double Bridges District 双桥区山庄东路体委家属楼9号底
- Tel: 0314-2025558, 0314-2234089
- Transportation: Take bus 6, 16, or 26, and get off at Xiaonanmen (Small South Gate/小南门).
Swallows in Spring Building Restaurant
It is said that Swallows in Spring Building Restaurant is the largest Muslim-style restaurant in Chengde that primarily offers tasty Muslim-style cuisine, seafood, and special flavored snacks. It is popular not only because of its location near the Chengde Mountain Resort but also because of its elegant decorations. The bright crystal chandeliers of the hall convey an impression of spaciousness. The clean and tidy setting including the red chair covers, glass tables, and exquisite tableware, provides the restaurant with an additional comfortable dining atmosphere.
- Chinese name: 燕春楼 Yan Chun Lou
- Recommended dishes: braised oxtail (红烧牛尾), plain braised beef/lamb tenderloin (扒肉条), roast leg of lamb (烤羊腿), stewed chicken in a clear soup (清炖鸡), marinated beef shank (酱牛腱), deer tendons in a sauce (拌鹿蹄筋), braised shrimps with oil (油焖大虾), sautéed shelled shrimps with longan (虾仁龙眼), lamb sweetbread soup (羊杂汤), and Shaomai steamed dumplings with the dough gathered at the top (烧卖).
- Average price per person: 45 yuan
- Opening hours: 7.30am – 9.30pm
- Address: North Prosperousness Street, Mountain Resort East Road, Double Bridges District 双桥区山庄东路北兴隆街
- Tel: 0314-6021488
- Transportation: Take bus 6, 11, 18, or 26, and get off at Xinglongjie (Prosperousness Street/兴隆街).