The following are all classic Beijing dishes, or at least dishes which have been adopted as Beijing dishes, even if they once originated from other parts of the country.
Many of these you’ll only find at restaurants specialising in Beijing cuisine, such as Zuo Lin You She, Yaoji Chaogan or Baodu Huang, although many roast duck restaurants will have some of the other Beijing specialities as well as roast duck. Beiping Ju roast duck restaurant, for example, does very good bao du, and some fine jiao quan.
Roast Duck – kao ya
(pronounced “cow yah”)
Beijing’s most famous dish, the duck here is fattier but much more flavoursome than the roast duck typically served in Chinese restaurants in the West. Like back home, though, it also comes with pancakes, cucumber slices and plum sauce.
Zhajiang Mian –
(pronounced “jah jee-yang mee-yen”)
Beijing’s most famous noodle dish; thick wheat noodles with ground pork and cucumber shreds mixed together in a salty fermented soybean paste. Chilly oil (???; la jiao you) is a popular optional extra.
Dalian Huoshao –
(pronounced “dah lee-yan hwore shaow”)
Finger-shaped fried dumplings with a savoury filling.
Ma Doufu –
(pronounced “mah doh foo”)
Spicy tofu paste.
Zha Guanchang –
(pronounced “jah gwan chung”)
Deep-fried crispy crackers served with a very strong garlic dip.
Chao Ganr –
(pronounced “chow gar”)
Sauteed liver served in a gloopy soup.
Bao Du –
(pronounced “baow doo”) Boiled tripe, usually lamb. Sometimes served in a seasoned broth.
Yang Za –
(pronounced “yang zah”)
Similar to bao du, but includes an assortment of sheep’s innards, not just tripe, and is always served in a broth.
Rou Bing –
(pronounced “row bing”)
Meat patty, usually filled with pork or beef, before being lightly fried.
Jiao Quan –
(pronounced “jee-ow chwen”)
Deep-fried dough rings, usually accompanied with a cup of dou zhi.
Dou Zhi –
(pronounced “doh jer”)
Sour-tasting soy milk drink.