Archives For Foods

Niu Rou Bing (beef pancake)

john  —  October 11, 2015

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Our ayi is quite famous for her cook­ing and has many spe­cial­ity dishes. My favourite is her Hong Shao Rou, but Tanya and Ali­cya love her Niu Rou Bing. This dish is quite sim­ple to make, as it’s basi­cally a pan­cake filled with beef. Obvi­ously, there are a lot more ingre­di­ents and the meat has to be mar­i­nated in a spe­cial sauce. It’s then fried in oil to make the pan­cake crisp. It’s not too healthy, but its tasty and the kid’s love eat­ing it.

(Blog posted by Ray on August 27, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to

Duck Skin, Meat, Bones and Soup

john  —  October 11, 2015

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One of my favourite foods in China is Peking Duck. The best place to eat it is Da Dong; prob­a­bly the most famous duck restau­rant in Bei­jing. No part of the bird is wasted: as first you eat the skin; then the meat; then the car­cass is boiled into a soup. Can­thy also likes eat­ing the bones (head and neck) but that not some­thing I am keen on. How­ever, the duck soup is always tasty and a nice way to fin­ish off the meal.

(Blog posted by Ray on August 29, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to

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This week­end it’s the Dragon Boat fes­ti­val in China. It’s a three-day pub­lic hol­i­day, cel­e­brated by rac­ing dragon boats and eat­ing sticky rice treats called “zongzi”. These are tri­an­gu­lar parcels of sticky rice, mixed with other ingre­di­ents (like beans, chicken, pork, etc) all wrapped up in a bam­boo leaf. They are sim­ple to cook, just boil or steam and they taste pretty good and are very sticky.

(Blog posted by Ray on June 19, 2015. You can see the original article by following this link to


One of Canthy’s friends came over to visit and brought a bag of fresh-roasted chest­nuts. They are one of the most pop­u­lar sea­sonal snacks in Bei­jing espe­cially eaten dur­ing the win­ter months. I was sur­prised to still see them, as it must be almost the end of sea­son for this nut. They can be found across the world, but they always remind me of the UK at Christ­mas. I dis­cov­ered later that China is the num­ber one pro­ducer of chest­nuts in the world. That may be true, but it still makes think of home and Nat King Cole’s The Christ­mas Songwith the first line “Chest­nuts roast­ing on an open fire…”

(Blog posted by Ray on March 16, 2014. You can see the original article by following this link to

Hot Pot in Beijing

john  —  March 26, 2013

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Hot pot, or “huŏguō” (火锅) has many kinds, but the best known one originates from Chóngqìng city, which also used to be a part of Sìchuān province until it gained municipality status in 1997. Hot pot basically consists of a pot with a boiling soup, and is one of the “do it yourself” kind of foods, as all the meat, veggies and other things are served raw and are supposed to be cooked in the soup for a brief time. The soup can have a mild taste (qīngtāng; 青汤), spicy (málà; 麻辣), or you can also ask for a “yuānyang guō” (鸳鸯锅), which is divided in the middle and one half is filled with spicy, the other one with non-spicy soup. Hot pot is especially recommended in the winter time, as merely sitting next to the boiling soup can warm you up. It is one of the more expensive Chinese foods in Beijing, but definitely very unique and tasty. Count with around 20-25 RMB/person.

Peking Duck

john  —  March 25, 2013


Almost as famous as the Great Wall of China is Peking Duck in Beijing. There are many places to get this delicious bird. Bianyifang (便宜坊) is one of them.

The first Peking duck was roasted in 1416 at Beijing’s Bianyifang Kaoyadian (“Convenient to Everyone Roast Duck Restaurant”).

Claiming to be the original Peking duck restaurant – it cites a heritage that dates back to the reign of the Qing emperor Xianfeng – Bianyifang roasts its duck in the mènlú style (“焖炉烤鸭”)– in a closed oven, as opposed to a half-open one where the duck hangs to cook – and the meat is nice and tender.

They cook the duck in a new method that makes the fat crispy and lean. The chefs cook the birds in an open fire kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. Once your duck is cooked to perfection one of the chefs cuts your duck table side into 102 perfect slices of meat. No part of the duck goes to waste.

The chefs here claim to be from the same cooking methods from the Qing emperor Xianfeng (咸丰). They cook their birds in a closed oven instead of a half-open oven where the duck hangs to cook.



Bianyifang: 599-year-old roast duck

No catalogue of Beijing restaurants would be complete without Peking duck. Bianyifang is the oldest surviving restaurant serving traditional Peking duck in Beijing. It was founded in 1416 as a small workshop serving duck and chicken products and established as a more formal restaurant in the Qianmen area in the late Qing dynasty. Today, they have a number of branches around Beijing, but the original branch on Xianyukou Hutong remains the most atmospheric.

Bianyifang roast their ducks using the “men lu” (焖炉) method, in which the ducks are roasted inside the oven rather than above it. They claim this method gives juicier meat and crispier skin and we can vouch that their duck is as good as any other we have had in Beijing.

Related article:

Top 10 Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing


Don’t drink the water is one of the first things peo­ple say to you when you come to China. At home peo­ple will boil their drink­ing water first, then drink it hot or warm, rather than cold. Oth­er­wise they will have water cool­ers like these 18.9 litre bot­tle ones we have in the office.

This brand is called Yili 益力 which roughly trans­lates to “ben­e­fits and strength”. It is one of the most pop­u­lar brands, as it come from Danone which is a respected a trusted for­eign brand, which owns Volvic and Evian. How­ever, the water in these is just puri­fied water, so its clean and healthy, but doesn’t taste as good as pure spring water.

(Blog posted by Ray on January 9, 2013. You can see the original article by following this link to