Distinctive local dishes include seafood - especially shrimp - and green tea. In China, tea cup is filled repeatedly with warm water, therefore preserving all its richness, e.g. valuable compounds such as flavonoids. More sophisticated traditional dishes include Peking duck with crispy crust and a thin layer of fat. Preparation and serving of this dish is a whole ritual. Duck pieces dipped in plum sauce are wrapped in a thin pancake with chopped cucumber and shallot.
The specialty, for which Beijing is known, is a hot pot, or Asian way of cooking food. Guests choose the type of broth, and then put selected additives - vegetables, tofu, seafood, lamb, pasta - and cook them in special vessels the built into tables. This is served with a sauce, which may be seasoned, and wherein the cooked dish is soaked.
In Beijing one can also taste the dishes typical of other parts of China. The eastern part of the country features dishes with the addition of mushrooms, bamboo and soy sauce. The most popular dishes are dried salted duck, dried steamed tofu or pork meatballs in crab sauce. Western areas use ginger, Sichuan pepper and red peppers, and a characteristic dish is gongbao chicken. Dishes characteristic of southern China include rice noodle rolls and various kinds of dumplings and steamed buns, and characteristic ingredients are corn starch or oyster sauce. Cuisines in all parts of China have a wealth of flavours, which are usually hot and distinct, and intense aromas of dishes. Great attention is also paid to the appearance of food.
Most of the restaurants in Beijing are open from dawn to dusk. Many of them serve small snacks, buns, dumplings, pancakes made with fresh ingredients. They are served extremely fast and are therefore very popular among tourists who want to take a break from sightseeing and eat a small meal. The most famous restaurants in Beijing include: Quanjude – Chinese cuisine (Tiananmen Square); Dong Lai Shun Muslim Restaurant – the most famous hot pot restaurant in Beijing founded in the nineteenth century, serving Halal lamb and beef (Wangfujing Dajie 198); Black Sesame Kitchen – Chinese cuisine (3 Heizhima Hutong, Dong Cheng District, Nanluoguxiang); TRB – French cuisine (23 Shatan Beijie, Dongcheng District); Mio – great pizza, cold cuts, cheese (48 Liangmaqiao Road, Four Seasons Hotel) Haidilao Hot Pot – Chinese hot pot (Mudanyuan); Xu XiangZhai – vegan cuisine (A 26-1 Guozijian Dajie).