How lucky we are to have Dr. Jane
Liedtke as part of the Journeywoman Network! Jane is a professor from
Illinois State University on assignment in China as Director of The
Training Center, a corporate management training facility. She has traveled
to China 14 times since 1987, she lived in Beijing in 1992 and returned
in 1998. We asked Jane to tell us about some of her favorite Beijing
restaurants. She writes...
Beijing has as big an array of
restaurants as any major world capital -- everything from Chinas
minority cuisines to Beijing's own rather bland fare to the world's
finest in German, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Italian food. Those desiring
an "American" break can always find the golden arches of MacDonalds,
Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut or Kenny Rogers as they are everywhere
in the city.
However, if youd like to
be a little more adventurous here are some of my suggestions....
fried greens beans, etc...
the Yabalu Russian Market at the Southwest of Ritan Park (Embassy
area of the city) is the Ritan Park Restaurant. It has
indoor dining and outdoor cafe tables set along a Chinese garden
in traditional-style Chinese architecture. Don't be confused by
the small restaurant along the sidewalk - go back further into
the building and find a nice place to relax and eat. The menu
is in English and it lists many wonderful dishes to try (as well
as some pretty strange items and very unusual English translations
of animal parts). Cost is very reasonable - a recent lunch for
two adults and one child (a Hermail.net
visitor to Beijing) was just $6.00. We had jiaozi (dumplings),
fried rice, pork and scallions, and stir fried green beans (a
signature dish). Enough food for all of us!
is a must...
- - everyone coming to Beijing must have some Peking Duck. Most
restaurants have duck (yazi) available so it is really not necessary
to go to one of the tourist restaurants. As with anything touristy,
you are bound to pay far more than you need to for a multiple
course meal with every possible part of the duck served. Near
the end of the feast, around course five, you will finally receive
the worth-waiting-for duck, pancakes, plum sauce, and scallions.
This is actually Beijings version of a burrito.
The reality is that most
visitors to Beijing prefer this course of the duck meat and pancakes
best. Therefore, I recommend skipping the rest and selecting a
restaurant where your duck meat will cost between 58 and 80 RMB
($7-10.00). Then you can order vegetables and other dishes to
accompany it. Allow 40 - 45 minutes for your duck to be cooked
as they will not cook it until you order it.
Where to go? If you can travel
to the west city near the CCTV Tower (China's tallest building)
you will find JiuHuaShan to be the best choice in the city.
It is located in a hotel complex on Baiwanzhuang Road heading
west before it reaches the Third Ring Road. However, if you are
on the East side of the city, the best option is: Beijing Duck
Chuan Lu Feng Wei on Xinyuanxili Road (east) across from the
YuYang Hotel. Ask your hotel concierge to show you on the map
these two top locations (non-tourist places where all the expats
like to go). The above mentioned Ritan Park Restaurant is also
a good place for a duck for lunch or dinner - 58 RMB.
next category of food that is a "must try" in Beijing
is Mongolian Hot Pot. Hot Pots are a copper or brass pot with
coals inside to keep broth boiling. Brought to the table are shaved
meats, sliced greens, and noodles (also seafood is available but
that is not the traditional hot pot). Mutton is the meat of choice
although pork, chicken, and beef available. At your place you
will have a bowl of dipping sauce that is a sesame paste and tastes
more like peanut butter than anything else. To that a hot chili
pepper oil is added to taste - mild to ultimately spicy. The meat
is dipped into the pot like fondue and then fished out (with your
chopsticks) and into the bowl of sauce. It is a fun way to enjoy
a meal by yourself or with friends. Hot Pot restaurants abound
so it's often best to ask for one near your hotel. The most famous
one is in the Feng Shan Hutong near Fuchenmenwai. Take
Xidan north from ChangAn Blvd (the main east-west street in central
Beijing) to the XiSi intersection at Fuchenmenwai. Turn left (west)
and go to the next traffic light. Turn left again (heading south)
the restaurant will be on the right (west side of the street).
The other typical Beijing
food is noodles (mein) and dumplings (jiaozi) which can be had
in the city. If
in doubt just order the mein tang (noodle soup) or ju rou jiaozi
(pork dumplings). You can't go wrong with either!
Western Food - if you love
pizza try any of the Adria Beijing locations (there are
three). All have woodfired ovens with wonderful pizza. For a nice
dinner of pasta with a bountiful array of sauce choices head for
Read all about it...
good news is that there are three tabloid-size newspapers in
English which come out on Fridays. Look for them at your hotel
desk. All of them list the best restaurants, have restaurant
reviews, names/addresses like a directory (because there is
no English section of the Beijing phone book to look up places
to dine). Ask for Metro, City Edition, and Beijing
Scene at your hotel. All will be useful to you not only
for eating out but for other events going on in the city at
She's a savvy
you do not want more tea, leave some in your cup.
- It is considered rude
to tap your chopsticks on the table.
- Sauces are for dipping.
Do not pour them into your rice bowl
- Dropping your chopsticks
is considered bad luck.
- Do not place your chopstick
parallel on the top of your bowl. This, too, is considered bad
(Source: Raise Your Cultural IQ, Louisa Nedkov, ISBN0-9684413-0-0)
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