Hutong Food Tours
Chinese cuisine dates back thousands of years. Today, traditional Beijing cuisine is heavily influenced by specialties from around the country and is famed for its sumptuous snacks and street food. There is no better way to get a taste for this delicious cuisine than by pounding the pavement. The dazzling array can be confounding though, so it’s best to bring along an expert and take a walking food tour through the hutongs for a myriad of earthly delights.
Maliandao Tea Market
This enormous market is a must for those who take their tea seriously. Find every type of tea imaginable as well as beautiful Chinese tea sets with prices much lower than you’ll find in tourist areas. If you are a tea enthusiast, this experience is worth all the tea in China.
Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant
Most tourists to Beijing who try Peking Duck do so at Quanjude, the famed roast duck restaurant that’s played host to celebrities, foreign dignitaries and other persons of importance since 1864. However, for a much more intimate, historical and less-travelled feel, there is Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant, tucked away among the Beijing hutongs (old-style housing), away from the beaten path and offering a unique China experience. With its unassuming exterior, you might think you’ve found the wrong place. But the instant you walk in and see the legions of ducks hanging on hooks, you’ll know you’ve arrived. The food here is as good as any roast duck restaurant in Beijing – maybe even better than most. And the selection here is surprisingly varied for such a small and difficult-to-find location (even with the address, many taxi drivers need to make multiple phone calls to the restaurant just to locate it). It’s an authentic roast duck restaurant, with traditional decor, more dishes than you can shake an imperial scepter at and prices that can’t be beat.
Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan (100 Dumplings Restaurant)
Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan is a real treasure, located in southern Beijing. As the name suggests, this is the restaurant to go to for jiaozi (dumplings), especially xiesanxian shuijiao (shrimp, crab & mushroom filling) and niurou wan shuijiao (beef ball dumplings). You’ll also find a great selection of Sichuan dishes, which are helpfully pictured for those who haven’t yet mastered Chinese. Ask your guide to help with making a reservation – you won’t be disappointed. Check out this review from the New York Times if you don’t believe us! The dumplings come in all flavors and colors: green, red, soupy, lamp, tomato, crab, and more (ninety-four more, to be precise). They are inexpensive and there is a menu with some English to help guide you on your dumpling journey.
Garden At Lama Temple
Located near the Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Wudaoying Hutong and Guizijian Street, you can combine a wonderful day or half day China tour with those attractions. Simple homemade dishes are served and there are cooking classes of Chinese dumplings and pulled noodle are also held here, depending on the day. The recipes are from experienced Chinese house-wives and everyday ingredients from the morning fresh market are used. Authentic Chinese tea and meals are served.