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Restaurants that really made that special memory of Beijing....

Restaurants that really made that special memory of Beijing....

Old May 14th, 2009, 01:57 AM
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Restaurants that really made that special memory of Beijing....

We are staying in Beijing (Chaoyang District) and we are looking for that restaurant (s) that will etch that memory of Beijing. We are two families and are lucky to have someone with us who speaks chinese (yeah bonus) .

Thank you in advance....love the fadors and use it all the time
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Old May 14th, 2009, 02:09 AM
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There is a lot of food information in this report, with Beijing after the part about Seoul. I would say that a duck restaurant is a must!


http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...g-shanghai.cfm
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Old May 14th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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There are two Beijing Duck chain restaurants in Beijing.
They are like McDonald & KFC scattered all over the city.
Your Chinese friend will show you. Stay out of the duck feet and duck organs.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 03:01 AM
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Someone on the street might approach you and tell you his family once cooked for the emperor in the Fobidden City and invite you to their house for dinner.
Be careful!
The Brooklyn bridge will be cheaper than the dinner.
Quite a special memory of Beijing.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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There are so many great duck places..hey we dont eat it every day in the west so how would we know the best?? Don't kill yourself for the "best" place as you may not know the difference just go to a good place When I visit for work I eat at a place that is a hutong restaurant in Beijing and has lovely duck. You can get breast sliced on a plate or a whole duck. I am not sure if they carve it at the table whoch put me off a bit at another place. Its a traditional looking Chinese hutong with a garden courtyard enclosed and an uostairs and private rooms, I love it. Its called something like flower or golden flower in English. actually I just found this in my mail the restaurant is HUA JIA YI YUAN (The flower restaurant) , it is on Gui Street(GUI JIE). I take a taxi from the Silk markjet area and its about 15 minutes in normal/busy traffic. there are several places similar looking on this street and one with a similar name but this one I really liked.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:17 AM
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Are you travelling with Children? If not I also can reccommend LAN its a Philipe Stark Designed restaurant and bar. Very upmarket but affordable if you compare to what you would pay in western prices for a similar meal and environment http://www.diningcity.com/beijing/re.../index_eng.jsp is a picture and reviews. Its more an even club atmosphere and not for Children but very glam. The toilets are fantastic, like a boudouir!
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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Oh if you get the Duck rolls ar LAn they come out with a cart and the WHOLE duck is on a tray and they carve it and make into indivisual duck rolls...you never run out as they come back the second you start to go low on a trayful. Lovely service.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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There is a restaurant near the corner of Xidan and Bingmasi with the number 68 in it that we have special memories of. We couldn't eat a thing we ordered. The waitress kept saying "hot" as we ordered but we thought we could handle it. We couldn't. 350 rmbs. Nothing eaten. What a great memory.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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I'm finding the emphasis on duck restaurants a little hard to understand. Will simply eating duck make for a lasting memory? Duck restaurants are as numerous in Beijing as feathers on a duck itself. You can rub shoulders with local people in some side-street place and have a whole duck for ¥50, or find yourself paying ¥200 in an expat-haunted place plus hundreds more for side-dishes. Which would be the more memorable?

You should avoid the utterly indifferent and widely franchised tourist operation of Quanjude, and at the upper end the overpriced Duck de Chine, although the surrounding in the latter are pleasant.

Although it lacks originality, the best suggestion for duck remains Da Dong Kaoya Dian, which offers reasonably-priced duck, well-cooked in a manner that also claims to lower the fat content a little, and with a menu of other imaginative Chinese-style dishes of the chef's own invention, beautifully presented, all served in fresh, modern surroundings. The branch at Dong Si Shi Tiao, next to the ancient granary buildings immediately west of Dong Si Shi Tiao metro is your best choice, although the other at Tuan Jie Hu is fine, too. Have someone call 5169 0328.

Glancing briefly at the other recommendations, I'd have to add a caveat on LAN. which serves a poor, Westernized version of Chinese food with an emphasis on Sichuan, which is drowned out by the decor (and the live band, when its playing). The decor is certainly startling, although Starck is simply recycling ideas he's already used elsewhere. But go here for a drink after dinner rather than eat. The drink will cost about the same as dinner did. For duck go to a specialist.

Huajia Yiyuan (not 'flower' but 'Hua Family') has five locations in Beijing, including two on Gui Jie (whose proper name when looking for it on maps, is Dong Zhi Men Nei Dajie). This again is modern Chinese, with cuisine only available in these restaurants, and pleasant enough, although not memorable at least to me. I haven't been to the particular branch described, so perhaps the pleasure is in finding a traditional courtyard atmosphere, if that's what's being described. And I was going to suggest that something along those lines would be more truly Beijing experience, perhaps coupled with a menu of regional dishes not typically found overseas.

In recent years a number of restaurants have opened in more-or-less well-preserved traditional courtyard houses (siheyuan), typically with few tables, well lived-in interiors, and a cosy atmosphere.

In no particular order, you might like to try:

Dali Courtyard tucked away in Xiao Jing Chang Hutong, off Gulou Dong Dajie. You eat either at tables in the courtyard or in the surrounding buildings, which are now glass-fronted on their courtyard sides. ¥100 for a set menu of Yunnan dishes: the baked fish is a specialty. Prawns with basil, tomato, ginger, and lemon also excellent. Lots of mushroom dishes with wild mountain mushrooms. 8404 1430.

Private Kitchen No. 44 (Xiguan Hutong Sijia Sichang) in Xiguan Hutong a short walk north of Zhang Zizhong metro, offers a set menu of Guizhou dishes at around ¥120 per person for four including a small carafe of wine (there are both cheaper and more expensive options). You must book here, and if you're not on time they will give your table away--there are only 60 seats. The Guizhou specialty suan tang yu, fish in a sour soup is excellent, as is the 'spicy whirlwind prawn' xuan feng xia. 6400 1280

For something really local (and full of locals, and cheaper) try the bustling Liuzhai Shifu down a little side turning at Meishuguan Dong Jie 8, which serves Beijing specialities (which are a great deal more numerous than the inevitable duck). Again, booking is essential. 6400 5912.

If the food is really more important than anything else then reflect that the capital's relative wealth and large population attracts some of the very best cooking from around China, much of which is completely unknown to most foreigners, or only experiences in highly adulterated forms (and that's almost all Chinese food served in the West, which is dumbed down to make it blandly unobjectionable and to save money on expensive ingredients). In particular you shouldn't miss the hot-and-numbing Sichuan food that's all the rage in Beijing at the moment. Go to Chuan Jing Ban (the restaurant in the representative office of the Sichuan government) for what's generally considered to be the overall best Sichuan in Beijing; to any branch of South Beauty for a more expatty atmosphere and higher prices but still decent food; to any branch of the chain Mala Youhou for good standard reasonably priced Sichuan, or perhaps a branch of Yuxiang Renjia; to Xiao Dong Tian Huoguo Cheng (also on the Gui Jie/Dong Zhi Men Nei Dajie mentioned above) for the best hotpot; or to any branch of Fei Teng Yu Xiang for what is thought to be the capital's best shui zhu yu--your choice of fish (catfish best) sliced and cooked in a bath of water, chilis, and numbspice.

I have to stop because my mouth is watering.

Peter N-H
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Old May 14th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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Da Dong Kaoya Dian, mentioned by Peter above as well as in the report I linked above, was the site of my first meal in Beijing, and one of the best. They have a couple of locations, I believe.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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We enjoyed Afunti, a Uighur restaurant, although it was loud and chaotic, with singing and dancing on the tables.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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I hate to bring out an old Beijing issue.
I have been some of the restaurants above.
My concern is the hygiene of the bathrooms rather than food.
In Beijing, the more busy the restaurant is, the more likely the bathroom of the restaurant stinks.
Most of the time, the users are to be blamed rather than the restaurant.
Just too many people using the facility and quite a few didn't care about others.
I used to go to a restaurant street in Dongzhimen area, Beijing.
The name of the street was Guijie. It had all kinds of Chinese cuizine.
All restaurants in Guijie were super busy at nite, so did their bathrooms, 10 minutes was the minimal waiting period for men's room and 15 minutes for the ladies.
Some restaurants had only one bathroom for both sex.
The worse part was that people didn't get on line.
Make no surprise a "lady" might cut in front of you to get into the bathroom.
Sometimes I had to run to the only street public bathroom on the street.
It's a primitive Chinese bathroom with no running water.
Just imagine what the bathroom looked or smelled like.
Back to the topic, tourist should still go to the restaurants in the star rated hotels just to avoid the cultural shock.
The Pennisula Palace Beijing has a pretty good Chinese Restaurant, it was called "Fortune Garden" located at the lower basement.
I had pretty good Beijing Duck Dinner in the restaurant.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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> Back to the topic, tourist should still go to the restaurants in the star rated hotels just to avoid the cultural shock.

I'm sorry, but this is nonsense. Anyone who wants to avoid 'cultural shock' or who is bothered by the restrooms in Dong Zhi Men Nei Dajie ('Gui Jie') should simply stay at home. The observation is anyway wildly out of date since the street has been substantially rebuilt over the last few years, and does not typically have the difficulties described. I don't even remember it having them as bad as described when I used to eat at Mala Youhuo ten years ago.

Of malodorous lavatories Beijing has large numbers, but its hotels, many restaurants, shopping malls, department stores, and fast-food places provide plenty of alternatives which while they will not please the utterly fastidious, are perfectly acceptable.

'Gui Jie' is a lot of fun: two long blocks of restaurants most of which are open 24 hours, offering everything from bizarre (to the Westerner) hotpots (I've eaten frog, cow throat, and goose intestine) to Russian food (at Traktir Pushkin--heavy and unimaginative, and not worth the price), with many excellent experiences, and even fun just for a stroll when it's all lit up in the evenings.

> The Pennisula Palace Beijing has a pretty good Chinese Restaurant, it was called "Fortune Garden" located at the lower basement.

This shows perhaps how dated the experiences described are. The basement restaurant has for many years been Huang Ting. This is truly excellent, but it's five times more expensive than most of what's been listed above. The environment is very pleasant, but its an artificially designer Beijing environment, and so perhaps not one to choose (or not solely to choose) for a 'memory of Beijing'.

Peter N-H
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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That's right.
Fortune Garden has been renamed Huang Ting since 2006 or 2007.
The last time I ate in "Huang Ting" was late 2007.
As of Gui Jie, the street public bathroom is still there.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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There are people who have hidden agenda to hard sell China in this forum and other travel forums.
As I said, "Most of the time, the users are to be blamed rather than the restaurant."
Filthy condition among most bathrooms in Beijing remains intact as long as the personal habit for the users does not improve, no matter how many new buildings and facilities they put up.
Over the years, I have not noticed the change.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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> As of Gui Jie, the street public bathroom is still there.

It may be, but there are lavatories inside the restaurants, many of which are exceedling spick and span, and others of which are no more or less knocked about than other busy portions of the city.

> There are people who have hidden agenda to hard sell China in this forum and other travel forums.

Undoubtedly true, and they often attempt to post here, either openly or in an assortment of disguises. Can you point to any who have contributed to this discussion who fall into that category, thus making this remark relevant?

This obsession with public toilets in Beijing, which should certainly for the most part be avoided although even amongst those there are some spotless ones these days, seems a little unhealthy, and the problem is anyway easily avoided by use of the other facilities already mentioned, whose relative cleanliness is not merely a function of the behaviour of those who use them, but of the equipment installed and the amount of cleaning they get. There's little to fear in Gui Jie except for those who should probably just stay at home. Carrying a little toilet paper with you and some handwipes is never a bad idea, but there are enough reliable alternatives that I've long given up bothering in Beijing.

There's no doubt that a large portion of the Chinese public is not typically amongst the world's most hygiene conscious (and there's a large number of its own citizens would agree with that), but could we get back to the subject of suggesting a memorable meal for the OP now, who, even if she's entirely unable to plan her evening so as to avoid using restaurant lavatories, need not fear those of any restaurant yet recommended here.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:07 AM
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“There's little to fear in Gui Jie” That’s absolutely misleading and a blatant lie.
Gui Jie is a street lined with restaurants in Beijing.
The restaurants are super busy at night and most are equipped with squat-style Asian toilets.
One quarter of the toilet doors are broken all year round.
Asians consider squat-style Asian toilets to be more hygienic than Western toilets because no part of the body touches them. Which may be true.
The vilest part is the toilet habits of the users, so vile so that they deserve a chapter to themselves.
As for the tourist having dinner in Gui Jie, the act of going to use the toilet was filled with apprehension.
50% of the time, when they entered, the toilet was unflushed by the last occupant and full of reeking shit.
Judging by the amount of shit, sometimes it was the last 2 or 3 occupants.
Even in the squat pots, people spit on the floor, not in the pot.
When someone goes in an squat, he/she is staring at frothy spit right up front.
If you happen to be in a toilet with broken door, some Chinese person will enter, see you, a foreigner squatting and start giggling.
PeterN_H: Need not to come to Gui Jie to see if the public street toilet is still around, you can easily smell from far off after getting off from the cab..
Some hotels in Beijing have signs in bathrooms that read: "Guest may not perform urination in sink basin”.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:53 AM
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We went from our mouths watering to you talking about toilets...yuck!
I loved all of Peter's restaurant suggestions and can't wait to try them out in August.
Can anyone also list "special memories" of restaurants in Shanghai and maybe Xian?
Thanks!
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Old May 15th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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The state of toilets is the one thing most repulsive to tourist in Beijing.
Travellers should ease themself in the hotel or a large public mall before hitting the streets.
Beijing especially is infamous for its disgusting public toilets.
Some are out in open and people have to squat in full view of everyone; others have pigs eating the shit underneath them.
They are regarded as among the world's worst, often dirty, smelly and disgusting and many non-Chinese find them "unusable."
Chinese people grow up with the community and family so they do everything together, including using the toilet.
So to them it doesn’t matter if there are no doors. But for the filthiness, there is just no excuse.
Some may argue that these are cultural differences.
However, there are cultural differences that can and should be tolerated, and there are just plain nasty habits that hark back to an era of primitiveness when we still walked on all fours.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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I always recommend tourist to check out the restaurants in Xintiandi, Shanghai.
Tang Dynasty theater has a restaurant that's pretty good in Xian.
De Fa Chang by the people square, Xian serves the Dumpling Banquet.
There are Japanese restaurants and other restaurants on Dong Da Jie, Xian.
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