6 Essential Beijing Dishes
This culinary tour of the Chinese capital, maps lesser-known, must-try dishes. Story and photos by LILLIAN CHOU.
Published on Nov 2, 2015
THE DISH: Zhajiang noodles
THE RESTAURANT: Moka Bros
This bright spin on a Beijing classic noodle dish will dazzle your taste buds with a house-made sauce of slowsimmered pork-bellyfermented soybeans. Chinese noodles are topped with creamy avocado, edamame, shredded cucumber, sliced carrot and fresh bean sprouts. It all gets tossed together for a fresh summer bite.
THE DISH: Boneless pork trotter with sea cucumber
THE RESTAURANT: Migas
Slow-cooked boneless pork trotters are gilded with crispy breading and topped with tender garlicky sea cucumber bellies. A smoky tomato sauce laced with Basqueregion green pickled chilies is the magic behind the meal.
THE DISH: Three-year Nuodeng cured ham with Asian berry jam
THE RESTAURANT: TRB
Few know China has a cured ham that ranks amongst the finest prosciutti and jamon of Italy and Spain. Consider yourself in-the-know with an off-the-menu order of sliced salty cured Yunnan ham and a house-made berry jam. Handcrafted by the same family for more than 20 generations, it's available only by request because quantities are limited.
THE DISH: Traitor Zhou's pickled okra and mala sausage
THE RESTAURANT: Okra 1949
The numbing peppercorn in the sausage plays beautiful against tart pickled okra. The links are made with rice wine and smoked onsite over pine needles for four days.
THE DISH: Steamed sea bass, Sichuan ham and bamboo rolls infused with litsea oil and lime jus
THE RESTAURANT: Transit
Don't let a fear of spicy food scare you away from Sichuan cuisine—the flavors can be quite mild. Transit's chef is from Luzhou, a Sichuan city known for a citrusy oil used in delicate cooking. Fillets are steamed with Sichuan cured ham and tender bamboo and infused with a fruity scent that will leave you shocked that Sichuan can be so delectable without the use of incendiary chilies.
THE DISH: Beijing roast duck
THE RESTAURANT: Jing Yaa Tang at The Opposite House
Beijing's ubiquitous dish is always a must. Seat yourself away from the cacophony of traditional duck-roasters in a serene dining room and watch chefs expertly carve the bird to perfection at your table. The rainbow of condiment served alongside sheathes of juicy meat and crisp skin makes this a hit every time.