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Beijing - Shanxi food & regional Chinese food

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We are off to Beijing for a few days and looking forward to eating some of the heartier Northern Chinese food I love. Does anyone have any recommendations for good local places (not Peking duck restaurants) serving casual food from Beijing, Dongbei, Gansu, Shanxi...etc? If they don't speak English or have an English menu it's no problem. We just aren't interested in southern Chinese food (Cantonese) or Shanghainese style.

In particular we love 刀削面 - any recommendations near Chao Yang greatly appreciated.

We'd like some good Tibetan food as well. After some research I have found Makye Ame - 玛吉阿米, but other suggestions would be great. I was a bit disappointed by the "Tibetan" place I found in Shanghai that didn't serve Yak.

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    Since you know the characters you'll see that fast-food-style Shanxi noodle restaurants are now quite common across the capital.

    Noodle Loft
    18 Baiziwan
    Chaoyang District
    Beijing
    Tel: +86 (10) 6774 9950

    was long a favourite for something a bit more stylish. But I did hear that it has finally closed, so check.

    On the other hand Xibei Youmian Cun now has several branches and has excellent 'cat's ear' noodles, etc.

    Some branches:
    海淀区颐和园北宫门对面 62862150
    海淀区永定路4号院金沙广场1楼(集美家具旁) 88624798
    海淀区香山南路88号(香山艺墅对门) 62597778
    近郊大兴区旧宫镇旧宫二村三台山路16号(南五环亦庄桥北200米) 876096
    近郊昌平区回龙观镇育知东路(城铁站北150米) 81736689

    If you visit the Summer Palace there's one a short distance from the North Entrance you could visit afterwards (that's the first listed above).

    The longest established continually operating Shanxi Restaurant is Jin Sheng De in south Beijing at Tianshui Yuan Bei Li 12. Usually these 'lao zi hao' are worth avoiding, but this one has been smartened up. If you go for lunch you can visit the Huguang Guildhall not far away, and the former residence of Ji Xiaolan next door (not greatly interesting, however).

    The 莜面栲栳栳, 山西过油肉, 铁板醪糟带鱼, and 双色猫耳朵 are all good.

    Beijing's been stuck on Sichuan and Yunnan food for about the last 15 years, so it's refreshing to find someone asking about something else for a change.

    For the Northeast try Xiangyang Tun in Haidian: 6256 2967:

    香辣小羊腿 great wodge of lamb on the bone
    猪肉野菜饺子 jiaozi essential northeast dish
    竹桶水豆腐 melt-in-the-mouth buttery doufu in bamboo pot
    猪肉炖粉条 broad ribbons of rice noodle with chunks of park in a warm brown sauce

    or

    Dongbei Hu, which many say is the best. Some branches:

    西城区阜成门北大街17号 68317314
    朝阳区东三环南小街6号楼(三元桥与三元东桥间) 64685258
    海淀区知春路57号 58724607
    海淀区花园北路50号(北医三院对面) 62302637


    For Tibetan Makye Ame is all right, but a bit expaty, and must admit I find it difficult to get excited about Tibetan food. I haven't tried it, but this place has been highly recommended:

    Ganglamedo冈拉梅朵藏式餐厅 Rm.103, Bldg 38, Zaoying Beili, Chaoyang Park枣营北里38号海悦名门公寓1层6592-3159

    There's also a Tibetan restaurant at the Tibetan government representative office (indeed, you'll find local restaurants at almost all of these, some of which are the best of their kind in the city--the Sichuan one, for instance, is excellent), but again, I haven't eaten there.

    For Gansu there's less choice. Again, I haven't eaten there but this place has been recommended:

    飞天大厦餐厅 which is in Guangqu Men on SE 2nd Ring Road, complete with the classic 'pulled' noodles. 朝阳区东二环广渠门外南街5号(广渠门桥东南角) 67778000

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    Thank you so much!! This is great. Last time I was in Beijing I had lunch at Middle 8th; it was fine, and I like Yunnan food but not as much as northern food. I took a glance at Time Out Beijing and was shocked by the number of Yunnan restaurants there were!! Here in Hong Kong good northern food is hard to find; the best place I can find 山西刀削面 is in Macau actually. Yunnan hasn't caught on here either, but there are definitely a bunch of Sichuan restaurants. I speak Mandarin and read enough Chinese so that I'm comfortable in small restaurants (though menus can be a problem if you aren't familiar with the dishes), but I know because I'm Caucasian and staying in a 5 star hotel the concierge probably will only recommend that I go to Da Dong or Sanlitun.

    I've heard of Noodle Loft. It seems a bit touristy but they have egg & tomato noodle soup and my other comfort food favorites.

    Regarding Tibetan food, my husband is still talking about the yak momos we had in Jiuzhaigou two years ago. Attempts at Tibetan food in Shanghai and Lijiang failed somewhat, so maybe I'll check out the one in the government office. I'll look through 点评 a bit to try to ensure they serve yak.

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    There does seem to be Internet chat that the Baiziwan location of Noodle Loft is closed, and it's other locations that are reviewed although what link those may have with the original (if any) isn't clear. The original certainly wasn't touristy. You were lucky (if that's the right word) to see another foreign face in there, let alone a tourist. But did I hear that Anthony Bourdain had done something for television there? Perhaps after that it changed.

    Of all those mentioned I think Xibei Youmian Cun is your best bet.

    > I speak Mandarin and read enough Chinese so that I'm comfortable in small restaurants (though menus can be a problem if you aren't familiar with the dishes),

    These days in Beijing picture menus are almost universal, complete with comical Google Translate-generated translations. Most dish names are still made up of contents and a cooking verb, so not too hard for the Mandarin speaker (although cooking verbs are dazzlingly numerous).

    I'm no fan of Yunnan food in general, but there are some excellent settings in which to have it in Beijing. Certainly the Sichuan food shouldn't be overlooked as there are some really excellent meals to be had.

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    I think the Noodle Loft at 广顺北大街33号福码大厦2楼 still seems to be around. This is kind of a hike from our hotel (Four Seasons) in traffic, but I can print out the name / location and take it along if we do a bit of wandering in Chao yang.

    Xibei Youmian Cun looks tasty as well but more food from the northwest region? I will definitely add it to our list once my husband gets his fill of Shanxi noodles.

    Unfortunately we are not big 麻辣 fans so Sichuan is not for me. Thanks again for this great list!

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    > Xibei Youmian Cun looks tasty as well but more food from the northwest region? I will definitely add it to our list once my husband gets his fill of Shanxi noodles.

    To many a Chinese mind Shanxi *is* the northwest, and anything much beyond it is non-Han, wild, dangerous, and beyond the pale. Northwestern-ness is in the eye of the beholder. Xibei Youmian Cun serves all the classic Shanxi noodle dishes (I mentioned the 'cat's ear pasta' and note 'youmian' in the name), hence the recommendation. Noodle Loft (if these other addresses are the same enterprise) serves slightly modernised versions.

    I've just realised, apologies, that I made an error earlier by typing in haste Jin Sheng De is a smaller restaurant behind the Palm Springs apartment tower at Tiānshuǐ Yuán Běi Lǐ 12, but pretty close to the Four Seasons, if it's still there (8595 1583 to check). The really long-standing classic Shanxi (est. 1959) restaurant is the 晋阳饭庄 (you may know 晋 is the historical name for Shanxi), which shouldn't be overlooked, although not convenient for the Four Seasons (one of my favourite Beijing hotels). Still, there's now a handy metro station at Caishikou (Line 4, walk two mins east on north side of street), and traffic is really only a problem for those who avoid the metro system. 珠市口西大街241号, tel 6303 1669.

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