Beijing is one of the greatest places to live if you’re into food. The authentic Chinese food in Beijing is delicious and extremely diverse, and you also have a multitude of international restaurants to choose from as well! If you’ve just arrived in Beijing for your Gi2C internship and live relatively close to the second and third ring roads on the east side of downtown Beijing, you will want to experience the following five eateries for yourself:
1. Makye Ame Tibetan Restaurant 玛吉阿米 － 团结湖
Makye Ame has excellent Tibetan food as well as dinner entertainment. The restaurant is very hard to find so make sure you find it on a map first and have the address in Chinese with you to show local residents if you get lost. Dinner for two is not cheap at around 500rmb (US$80) for four dishes but the Tibetan dancing and singing, which begins at 8pm, is worth seeing at least once.
2. Bazha Tongga Tibetan Restaurant 巴扎童嘎藏餐吧
This restaurant is located on the busy corner of Dongzhimenwai (东直门外), and transports you to a whole other place: Tibet. The menu has lots of food to choose from and the waiters are quite entertaining. Dishes are mid-priced and a dinner for two should be at most 300rmb ($50).
3. Middle 8th Yunnan Restaurant中八楼 － 三里屯
This restaurant serving Yunnan style food may be hidden down a forgettable hutong, but the spicy, delicious food is unforgettable. They are known for their rice wine, which is served in a giant piece of bamboo. Make sure to try it. You can make reservations ahead of time or enjoy authentic Yunnan snacks in the lobby while you wait for a table.
4. Haidilao Hot Pot 海底捞火锅 － 团结湖
If you live in China for any period of time, you have to try hotpot. Hot pot comes in all shapes and flavors in China but Haidilao is by far one of the best. The customer service is excellent (which is not common in China), there are tons of food options, and you are able to play games, eat snacks, or even have a manicure while you wait to be seated. It’s important to make a reservation well in advance as this place is always busy. Eating hotpot is best with a crew, but if there are only two of you, the bill should be around 200-300rmb ($50). If the Tuanjiehu location isn’t convenient for you, Haidilao can be found in several places around Beijing.
5. Xiaodiao Litang 小吊梨汤 – 团结湖
Xiao Diao Li Tang is not well known by most foreigners, however they have several locations around the city serving up great home-style Chinese food. The Tuanjiehu location can be a little tricky to find as it’s down a small alleyway but once in the general area, locals should be able to show you the way. Prices are quite cheap which is great because then you can sample the entire delicious menu! Two people ordering four dishes might end up with a bill slightly over 100rmb ($15). If you’re a Gi2C intern on a budget, this is the place for you.