Food is a big part of our family trips and my boyfriend even jokes that the Van family stomachs take a vote…
Beijing is particularly well known for its history and the history has influenced its delectable cuisine. I hadn’t had a hankering for Beijing food other than the Peking duck. On my most recent trip to visit my parents, we had the chance to taste the traditional and modern cuisine!
On each of my visits, we visited a new restaurant to their hand at the Peking duck. I would recommend places that utilize every part of the duck so you taste the crunchy skin as well as a hearty soup or porridge flavored by the bones. Pro-tip: there’s a small dish of sugar mixed with pop rocks; when you dip the crunchy skin into that, it accentuates the flavor and just melts in your mouth!
Peking duck is delicious but also a fun dish. I love taking the paper-thin pancakes to wrap my duck, topping it off with the fermented bean sauce and cucumbers, and wrapping it like a loose taco.
On my most recent trip, we went to Duck de Chine, which is much higher end. They took the traditional food and elevated it with duck-themed everything and swanky lantern and lighting. Other restaurants I would recommend include Li Jia Cai and Quanjude.
Beijing also has a flourishing foodie scene for those looking for experimental, contemporary options. We had lunch at TRB Forbidden City (previously TRB Bites).
TRB Forbidden City was very experimental compared to traditional Peking duck. We had foie gras covered in gelatin in the shape of a lollipop, amuse bouche served on chips-like chicken skin, and a green blob that was hard to identify… All of these unique dishes were absolutely delicious. The foie gras lollipop was a favorite!
This is a very Instagram-able meal. The egg pudding was served in a delicate eggshell placed in a nest. The bone marrow was plated on a fake moss atop wooden plate. It’s all so pretty.
Not only is the food gorgeously plated, but this is also a prime location (duh, see: name of restaurant). TRB Forbidden City is situated right outside the moat of the Forbidden City and you have a view of the East entrance. The perfect blend of East-meets-West in food and ambiance.
The Temple is owned by the same company and the aesthetics lean towards classic restaurant, whereas Bites is very clean, sleek and modern. Both these restaurants have attentive service and customize everything for you.
Let me know if you try out these restaurants and what you think of the food in Beijing!