With some 55,000 restaurants spreading across the city, Beijing's dining scene is buzzing, exciting and overwhelming. If you grow up with the stereotypical image of Chinese food in the West (which is mostly influenced by Cantonese food), the real Chinese food in the Chinese capital will come as bit of a shock, in a good way.
Compared to southern park of China, Beijing cuisine uses more heavy meats, and instead of rice the main is largely made with flour, such as dumplings (try Xianlaoman), pancakes and noodles.
Peking Duck is the absolute star for dinner. Special Beijing white ducks are first boiled in brine then roasted above hard date wood until golden brown. The skin is crispy and caramelized and the mean tender and moist. Traditionally, time-honoured brand Quanjude sits on top of the chart for enjoying this dish, but several restaurants,such as Da Dong, Duck du Chine and Made in China, have in recent years improved the classic fare to satisfy modern palettes.
Sophisticated ingredients, demanding cooking skills, elaborate presentation and people's reminiscence of the past have helped Chinese imperial cuisine claw back to the capital's dinning table. Family Li is the best place to try the long-lost cuisine. The restaurant is run by the descendent of the once head of kitchen in the imperial Qing dynasty. Najia Xiaoguan also offer dishes that were favoured by the imperial aristocrats.