Hi! Welcome to My Local Eats, a guest post series in which foodies from around the globe share their favorite local places to eat and drink.
Today’s guest post comes from Agness who shows us what to eat in Beijing. Agness is a Polish vagabond and foodie who blogs over at the excellent budget travel blog, eTramping. I have a minor obsession with Chinese dumplings so this post was especially mouth-watering- Agness’ photography skills may have a lot to do with it as well.
Hi! My name is Agness and I’m a Polish foodie. I have been exploring Asia with my mouth constantly chewing and smacking since August 2011. I am currently wrapping up a year of teaching English in Dongguan, China and more importantly, discovering new flavours Chinese cuisine dares to offer me every day.
Chinese food, especially Chinese breakfast, is one of the reasons I decided to stay 6 months longer in China. I just could not imagine my breakfast without having a plate of my favourite Chinese dumplings called Baozi or a bowl of fried noodles for my lunch. I fell in love with its unique taste, spiciness, a perfect combination of herbs and spices, Chinese mild tea and veggies. Although Chinese cuisine is full of oil, most of dishes are deep fried and I have put a lot of weight on, I still can’t resist the temptation!
My best culinary journey took place last May (2012) when I headed to Beijing. I took my best friend with me and our aim was to try as much food as possible to pick up a few we liked the most. After a few days exploring local restaurants and dining out at street food vendors, we finally made our decision. Today, I would like to share with you 5 most delicious authentic Chinese foods you just can’t miss when visiting Beijing, or in fact any province in China. They were just heaven in my mouth!
Description: You can either love them or hate them as they are full of oil. Stuffed with a various kinds of meat (from pork to beef) and fried veggies, they just taste delicious. You will always get them served with some spicy sesame oil to dip them in. What I love about them is their thick texture. Baozi are mostly steamed and eaten for breakfast. 1 or 2 should be more than enough, but don’t feel guilty if you have 5 at one go, they are just irresistible!
Price: Baozi are typical budget food. You can get one for RMB0,5 – RMB1 ($0.8 – $0.16).
Location: Although the best Baozi are served at street food vendors, there is one place you should dine out at and it’s called Wuyi Shan (武夷山农家菜). It is open daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-9pm. Mobile 131 2669 6251. English address: Maliandao Hutong, Xuanwu district. Chinese address: 宣武区马连道胡同.
Description: Jiaozi, unlike Baozi, are much harder and more stodgy. They are firstly steamed and then fried. Their shape and size are also different – they are smaller and crescent-shaped but the feeling is the same – veggies with pork or beef. What I love about Jiaozi is that they are extremely crispy and crunchy and most importantly, filling.
Price: You will pay around RMB3 (<$0.5) for a plate of Jiaozi (6-8).
Location: We were recommended to go to Mian restaurant (食度面馆) and we absolutely loved dining out there. The food is very affordable and extremely tasty. You started our dinner with a few Jiaozi which costed us nearly the same as we were having them in the street. This cozy restaurant is open daily from 11am to 6pm, telephone 5978 9975, English address Dashanzi, 4 Jiuxianqiao Jie, 798, Chaoyang district, Chinese address 朝阳区酒仙桥街4号大山子艺术区.
Peking Duck (北京烤鸭)
Description: Although the meal is extremely time-consuming and a bit more expensive in comparison to other Chinese meals, its taste is absolutely worth it. The duck is well baked and has a great crispy crust. It is served with Mandarin pancakes, green onions and creamy sauce.
Price: The whole course costs RMB100 ($16).
Location: I would highly recommend the Dadong Roast Duck (Dongsi) restaurant located at 1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100007, China (Beijing Workers’ Sports Complex). Service was superb and food was just excellent.
Beijing noodles (北京杂酱面)
Description: It is by far, my favourite Chinese street food. It takes a few seconds to make it and it has a very aromatic taste of thick noodles, salty nuts and parsley. You can add some chili to make it spicy, but I always enjoy a mild version of it.
Price: A decent bowl of noodles costs RMB 5- RMB 8 ($ 1 – 1.25).
Location:We got them at one of the food vendors located just outside the Summer Palace in Haidian District just outside the west gate of Tsinghua University.
Description: Deep fried Chinese bread stick made with yeast, very oily and might be a bit salty. They are very soft inside and crispy outside so you feel like eating a puffy bread. There are only pain Youtiao available, but you can dip them in peanut or chocolate butter.
Price: 1 You tiao usually costs RMB1 ($0.16).
Location:You can get them anywhere around Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation which is 85号 南锣古巷 Dongcheng, Beijing, China.
After months of living, travelling and eating Chinese food, I have learnt that the more adventurous you are with the food, the more it will surprise you and I love surprises!