chinese restaurants


Four Seasons Four Seasons serves authentic and classic Hunan dishes in a tastefully decorated dining venue. Go for its pickled turnip (潇洒湘萝卜皮 xiāosǎ xiāng luóbo pí), this is one of the most memorable pickles that I’ve tasted, it is tangy, spicy, sweet, and salty with a crisp texture–a flavor that registered instantly.  Also try:  organic yellow croaker fish steamed with làbā dòu 腊八豆, fermented soya beans; double-boiled mushroom soup packed with aromatic pine mushroom,  tender spring bamboo shoots sauteed with grandma’s preserved vegetable, and Changsha bean curd (Changsha doufu) is a must have dish. Read more...

G/F, Minzu Hotel, 51 Fuxingmennei Dajie, Dongcheng District  Tel 6601 4466

四季 东城区复兴门内大街51号民族饭店一层

Dali The laid back Dali is set in a tranquil courtyard accented with potted plants and a few dogs, offering the typical charm of a courtyard house. The structure is just about perfect: it has not been excessively tinkered with and nor has it been allowed to decline. The restaurant brings to your table the exotic flavors of Yunnan, indigenous herbs, wonderful accents such as kafir leaves, various remarkable wild mushrooms, rice noodles and the cheese of the Bai people. The meals are set here and cost 100, 200 and 300 yuan a person.

67 Xiaojingchang Hutong, Gulouo Dong Dajie Tel 8404 1430 大理 东城区鼓楼东大街小经厂胡同67号

Duck de Chine, arguably one of the best duck houses in town, is set up in a stylized traditional structure with exposed beams and a roof top skylight, giving the venue a rustic but chic feel. The duck is roasted fabulously with red date wood and is kept in the oven an extra 30 minutes longer than normal, resulting in a crispier skin with less of an oily taste. The duck here is served with an excellent hollow baked sesame bread, in addition to the standard pancakes, and a wonderful in-house duck sauce.

1949 The Hidden City Courtyard 4, Gongti Bei Lu Chaoyang District, Tel 6539 3683 全鸭季朝阳区工体北路4号院

Kashi Fanzhuang (Kashgar) has the atmosphere of a Xinjiang bazaar. There is a huge poster above the counter that evokes scenes of Kashgar’s old city, and below it a high pile of nang, bagel-like breads, dried fruits and nuts, with vendors wearing Muslim skull caps. This is the best Uygur restaurant in the city offering a classic repertoire, including a variety of cumin scented roasted mutton; kawa manta, pumpkin-filled steamed buns, pirta manta, filled with ground lamb and onion, ququra, Uygur wonton, and laghman, hand-pulled noodles cooked with tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. The food here is not far off from that served in Kashgar.

60 Pen’er Hutong, Xuanwu District Tel 6358 2243, 喀什饭庄 新疆维吾尔自治区喀什地区行政公署驻京办 宣武区盆儿胡同60号

Madam Zhu’s Kitchen The menu at Madam Zhu's Kitchen is a division between Cantonese, Shanghai and Sichuan dishes which come with authenticity and quality, sometimes with a little twist, but no MSG is used.  It is a branch child of  Yuxiang Renjia, the successful Sichuan chain that has several outlets in Beijing. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful at recommending dishes, and the restaurant has a good selection of inexpensive wines. Despite its basement location, the white walls and bright lighting give the venue a pleasant feel. The sofas, cabinets displaying blue and white china, fresh flowers and framed photos hung on the walls give Madame Zhu’s a cozy ambience, making diners feel as if they are dining in someone’s home, rather than in a restaurant.  Read more...

B1/F, Bldg D, Vantone Center, 6A Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District, Tel 5907 1625, 汉舍中国菜馆


Karaiya, which means spice house in Japanese, delivers the superb flavors of Hunan by using quality ingredients with a modern twist. Spicy Pepper Diced Rib-eye, a must order dish studded with red peppers, is stimulating while at the same time not dominating the flavor of the meat. Also try deep-fried stinky bean curd. The concise bilingual menu is easy to navigate without having to plow through confusing page after page of dishes. The cheerful and pleasant environment makes Karaiya one of the best dining destinations in the capital.


S10-30, The Sanlitun Village,19 Sanlitun Beilu, Chaoyang District, Tel 6415 3535 辣屋 朝阳区三里屯北路19号三里屯Village, S10-30

Din Tai Fung My first visit to Din Tai Fung dates back to 1985 when I was living in Taipei (my husband has been dining there since his student days in the mid-1970s). Since then I have never forgotten the wonderful taste of the xiaolongbao cooked in bamboo steamers and the melt-in-your-mouth red bean paste bao (doushabao). I remembered owner/founded Yang Bingyi then proudly saying that he would never open any other branches to maintain the excellent quality. Two decades later, Din Tai Fung has become an international restaurant chain, but fortunately it remains impressive, each of its buns and dumplings still hand-wrapped precisely and arriving at your table piping hot.

24 Xinyuan Xili Zhong Jie, Dongcheng District  Tel 6462 4502;  5/F Shinkong Xin Tiandi, Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District  Tel 6533 1536 鼎泰丰 东城区新源西里中街24号(近渔阳饭店)  朝阳区建国路87号新光天地6楼

Guo Yao Xiao Ju This small family-run restaurant tucked in an alleyway in a courtyard setting serves the best Tan family cuisine in Beijing. Tan Zongjun, a Qing dynasty court minister, created this little-known cuisine because he was fond of eating delicacies from his home town. The fish maw soup, for example , is fit for an emperor. The beauty of Tan family cuisine is it’s a well-balanced combination of sweet natural flavors (鲜), fragrance (香), richness (浓), fatty without being oily (油而不腻), crisp (脆) and tender (嫩). Read more...

58 Bei Santiao, Jiaodao Kou, Andingmennei Dajie, Dongcheng district

Tel 6403 1940 国肴小居 安定门内大街交道口北三条58号

Summer Palace prepares light and delicate home-style cooking focusing on Cantonese and Huaiyang dishes. Adding apples and red dates in the double-boiled chicken broth lifts the soup to another complex dimension of fruity notes. I forgot how a homestyle stir-fried dish like lancai roumo sijidou, pork stir-fried with green beans, can be so amazingly delicious and packed with flavor. The classic dark wood panels and gold color theme with calligraphy on the walls evokes the elegance of 1930s Shanghai. Read more...

2/F, China World, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District  Tel 6505 2266


Na Jia Xiaoguan serves Manchu dishes in a quaint indoor courtyard setting. The Na family’s signature dish is huang tanzi, a thick soup that is slow-cooked in an earthen pot for at least for 18 hours. The flavorful thick broth is made from a number of ingredients, including chicken, duck, pork bones and ham. The seven types of soup offered range from the basic beef tendon at RMB 38 to a lavish soup with shark’s fin and sea cucumber at RMB 208/bowl. The mizi supi xia – crispy shrimp coated with the house’s secret sweet and pungent sauce – can be found on almost every table, a testament to its popularity. Another of their best dishes is taoren ti chaoji (桃仁剔炒鸡),reminiscent of Kung Pao chicken – minus the chillies and numbing peppercorns – which is served with walnuts. The conghua bing, or scallion pancakes, are excellent; they’re chewy with crisp edges, and not at all greasy.


Jianguomenwai, Chaoyang District   Tel 6568 6553;  29 Yikesong, Xiangshan, Haidian District   Tel 8259 8588, 那家小馆 朝阳区建国门外永安里119中学西侧;  海淀区香山一棵松29号(植物园十字路口南)