|Northern (Beijing) Food|
Because Beijing was historically the city chosen by China’s ruling classes as their capital, a more extravagant meat-based fare evolved there. Unfazed by religious limitations they were free to eat anything, although the Mongolian rulers favoured mutton, and many of these dishes persist today.
Crisp-edged slices of Peking duck breast, with a dab of Hoisin sauce and wrapped in paper-thin pancakes is one of life’s greater pleasures. Better yet, make your way to a restaurant where there are several courses, each using that same duck in various ways, and you will be a northern cuisine fan forever.
Mongolian hotpot is another not-to-be-missed experience in the north. Plan to take your time, experiment with the various meats and vegetables, noodles and eggs, and finish the meal with a bowl of the stock in which these morsels have been cooked. By then it will be a rich and flavoursome broth, and you will understand and applaud the emperor’s liking for this cuisine.
TRIVIA: In ancient China it is said that people once committed suicide eating a pound of salt.
LOCAL FLAVOURS: Onions grow well in the colder north and these are found in many dishes, often stir-fried at the beginning of a dish. Most hardier crops such as corn, sorghum, wheat, cabbages and root vegetables are grown here and dishes predictably lean towards flour-based dishes such as steamed dumplings and noodles rather than rice.
A PLACE TO EAT: Quan Jude Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant, No. 14, Qianmen West Street, Beijing. Also Bian yifang Roast Duck Restaurant, Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, Hong Yun Lou Roast Duck Restaurant, Yi Pin Yuan Roast Duck Restaurant, Dadong Roast Duck in Dongzhimen, and more. For detailed location and introduction: Travel China Guide.
FOOD & TRAVEL’S CHOICE OF A PLACE TO STAY IN BEIJING: In addition to its many high class hotels, Beijing has hutongs, These are the last remaining places which give a glimpse of village life in the capital in the unchanged ‘back alleys’. One or two homes offer bed and breakfast accommodation in courtyard houses and you may join the families for meals or learn how to prepare a simple dish.
INSIDER’S TIP: Heaven and Hutongs
MORE INFORMATION: Beijing Cuisine
PLEASE SHARE: YOUR FAVOURITE BEIJING FOOD & TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
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