Beijing with kids:eating and shopping

Mar 18th, 2009, 10:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 4
Beijing with kids:eating and shopping

I'm heading to Beijing in a few weeks with my husband and three kids (age 11, 10, and 8). I'd love some advice from those who have been.

First, on eating. We do not do McDonalds or it's like while traveling. We will only be there for a week and my opinion is the kids won't actually starve if they don't eat much for that period of time. That said, it is helpful to find something local the kids like. They all like plain white rice so that's good. Any other ideas of what to look for on menu's that kids might eat/

Second, shopping. We don't want to do a lot of it, but we would like to hit one market to look at souvenir type stuff, possibly clothing for the kids (t-shirts, jeans, or the like), presents for family, that sort of thing. Recommendations anyone? Our friends who have gone on tours have reported lots and lots of shopping stops with high pressure salespeople including a women who grabbed their 7 year old daughter and dragged her into her shop and started dressing her in scarves before the parents had even noticed her absence. I'd rather avoid that if possible
Mary_X is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 125
Eating:You can try Dim-Sum at Dingtaifeng,Noodle Loft,Hot Pot.It is very easy find white rice here.There is No problem get an English Menu if you go to the Retaurants above the B Level.
Shopping:Hongqiao Market it is better for you,behind of the Pearl Market,they have a Toy City.
Violet_1125 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 411
Here is a copy and paste of a post I made to a similar question back in December.

I took my two kids, who are 9 & 11, to China in November. We spent seven days there, and could easily have spent another week. Their highlights (not in any order) include:

1) Parks - especially the park surrounding the Temple of Heaven and Ritan Park. Go in the morning before 9 or 10 am. The parks are full of people dancing, exercising, playing with all kinds of new (for us) and interesting toys. It was fascinating to see for them, as you just do not see adults (mostly retired) participating outdoors in an organized social way. They were not competing, just participating together. The kids tried a few of the tops, yo-yos, fans, feathered hackey sacks, long ribbons etc out, and then we bought a few to bring home.

2) We spent 4 hours at a Chinese cooking lesson in a hutong by the drum tower. It was great, and we all really enjoyed it - even my husband. My son especially likes to cook, so I had researched and booked this place online before going to China. If this interests you, you can see the website at There were different menus, and I had emailed in advance for help choosing one with no bones. The chef was very good with the kids (teaching them hold to hold and use a HUGE cleaver), and they absolutely loved it. You prepare and cook your meal yourself, and then eat together. Her english is excellent.

3) Take your daughter for supper at the Noodle Loft. It has an open kitchen, and they beat, pound,
swing and slice the noodle dough in front of you. The kids sat at the counter in front of the cooks and watched fascinated.

4) Go to the Great Wall at Mutianyu (they loved this) and take the toboggan down. It is a blast for kids and adults.

5) Go for hotpot and Peking duck. I like Nanmen for hotpot and Dadong for duck. The kids especially had fun at the hotpot place. Make sure your kids get their own hotpot to cook in.

6) Take a stroll around Houhai lake. You will see lots of adults flying kites, and enjoying life. There are lots of restaurants here to enjoy as well.

7) Of course, go see the flag raising or lowering in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven.

8) Go to the Wangfujing night market and see the bugs and larvae (still moving) on the kabob sticks. Great for photos to show to your friends!

The kids both really enjoyed themselves, and hope to go back in a couple of years.

Before you go:

1) Your kids will need to be able to feed themselves with chopsticks. Give them some chopsticks and a bowl of popcorn. My daughter (who was very reluctant) learned how to use chopsticks this way. It made the experience much more fun.

2) Watch the first 30 - 40 minutes of the Last Emperor. They show the Forbidden City, and it makes it much more real for kids when they visit.

3) I showed my 11 year old the BBC youtube footage of Tiananmen Square 1989. It was not graphic, but he appreciated it. Background info only.

4) It is possible that your child will receive attention from the out of town visiting Chinese. I had not realized this - my kids are not blond, and look more or less like any other kid their age. However, my son was like a rock star for Chinese adults. At all the Beijing tourist sites, we/he was approached to have his picture taken with visiting Chinese tourists. I had told him it wasn't a bad thing, and maybe it would make someone happy. At first, I think he was a little freaked, because as soon as someone saw that one person was having their photo taken with him, there was a swarm of other Chinese waiting for the same same opportunity. No one was anything but polite (and enthusiastic) however, and by the end of the week, he had a brilliant (I'm the man!) smile on. Notice, this did not happen with my daughter.

Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
poutine is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 38
Hi Mary, there's some really good advice in the answers above.

As far as markets go, if you go to one of Silk Street or the Pearl Market (Hongqiao), you'll get everything you're after. Haggle hard!

Hongqiao has the advantage of being next to the Temple of Heaven and its fascinating park activities. Silk Street has the advantage of being directly above a subway station - which one will suit you best just depends on where you're staying and what your movements are going to be. They are very similar and sell basically the same gear.

One option for food might be the Mega Bite in Oriental Plaza. It's basically a food court where you buy a ticket at the front booth and can then spend the credit it at any of the various food shops inside. We found it was a good way to try a few different things.
Pumblechook2 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 08:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 4
Thanks so much for the helpful advice everyone. We are really looking forward to the trip.
Mary_X is offline  
Mar 20th, 2009, 04:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 78
A lot of good points have been made in the previous postings. A few additional comments:
a) Your kids will be OK. I lived with my family in Beijing for a few years...My 6 year old daughter enjoyed all sort of food and in many of the restaurants (even if there is no kids menu) the chef will prepare some form of kid friendly dish... My daughter loved sweet and sour many of the restaurants. Try South Beauty in the lower level of the Oriental Plaza near Wangfujing... There is another location across the street from China World hotel (actually across the street from the Starbucks at China World (on the West side).

b) Do not worry about your kids being able to use chopsticks. Pretty much ANY restaurant in Beijing or surrounding areas would have forks, spoons, etc. Many will provide them even without you asking.

c) There are many decent bakeries in Beijing. Also good baked goods in the Carrefour, and similar stores.
guenovnd is offline  

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