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Beijing Travel Guide: Top 10 Beijing Street Snacks

January 17th, 2013 - by sheryl


Beijing Quanjude roast duck is a must-be-tasted dish for tourists to Beijing, but when you are strolling the streets of

Beijing Roasted Duck

Beijing Roasted Duck

Beijing consider biting into some street snacks. Especially try areas around schools and universities, where you are likely to come across some vendors or small shops selling various street snacks.

Tourists might beadvised to avoid street snacks for reasons of hygiene and palatability. However, street snacks are often the best part of a city’s culinary experience, and each of them only costs you a few yuan.


1. Fried Dough Ring

Chinese name: 焦圈 jiāoquān

Fried Dough Ring

Fried Dough Ring

A fried dough ring looks like a brown bracelet, with a crispy taste and well-cooked fragrance. The main ingredients are flour and salt. It is an ancient snack in Beijing. The locals always eat it with soybean juice, or wrap it in a thin pancake.

Because the production processes of making fried dough rings are too complicated, and the profit is too low, many snack shops do not serve this traditional Beijing street snack, so fried dough ring has been disappearing from Beijing’s streets for some time.

The fried dough ring is a high-calorie food, so we suggest you just try it, but do not eat too much.


2.Street Crepe

Chinese name: 煎饼馃子 jiānbǐng guǒzī

The warm fried thin pancake wrap is especially popular for breakfast on cold winter days.

Street Crepe

Street Crepe

Pouring and spreading the batter on a flat heated surface to form a thin pancake or crepe, pouring on an egg and letting it cook, spreading on a sauce, placing on slices of deep-fried dough stick, sprinkling on some chopped green onion, cumin, and sesame, and finally rolling it into a wrap — that’s the processes of making a fried thin pancake wrap, or street crepe, which takes about four minutes.

The street crepe oringinated from the most famous snack in Tianjin. However, it has spreaded to many Chinese cities, and is very popular in Beijing, so we can categorize it as a Beijing snack.

It is difficult to find this type of crepe in a restaurant. Only at a street-side stall (in the morning) can you get a fried thin pancake wrap.


3.Fried Triangular Dumpling

Chinese name: 炸三角 zhà sānjiǎo

Fried triangular dumplings have crispy and soft “skin” and stuffed fresh fillings.

Fried Triangular Dumpling

Fried Triangular Dumpling

The fried triangular dumpling only has two recognized fillings: vegetable or meat. The vegetarian triangular dumpling is always stuffed with minced Chinese chives, carrot, and bean sprouts; and a meat one is always stuffed with minced meat (pork) and vegetables.

The best fried triangular dumplings taste like steamed buns. They should be stuffed with frozen fillings, and then the fillings become soup inside after heating. When eating a fried triangular dumpling, you should slowly make a small hole first for release the steam inside.

Steamed triangular dumplings are also available, which might be preferable as they are healthier.


4.Buckwheat Cake

Chinese name: 扒糕 bāgāo

Buck Wheat Cake

Buck Wheat Cake

Buckwheat cake is a salty snack especially popular on summer days, when it is always sold together with iced bean jelly. This grey cake is often served in slices, with vinegar, sesame paste, chopped chilies, mustard oil, and a little soy sauce. It tastes sour, spicy, and cool.

Buckwheat food has high nutritional value, but is a heavy food. It is not suitable for those with heat disease, the diabetes, or high blood pressure. China Highlights suggests you do not eat too much, but do taste it.


5.Fresh Ground Mung Bean Juice

Chinese name: 豆汁 dòuzhī

The grayish-green fresh ground mung bean juice tastes slightly sour and sweet. It is more popular in spring and winter. As well as the bean

Bean Juice

Bean Juice

juice, vendors always serve fried dough rings, fried dough twists, and spicy pickles— the most popular snacks eaten with fresh ground bean juice.

The locals in Beijing really appreciate drinking it. But if it is your first time to taste bean juice, you might not get used to its flavor. However, the locals will encourage you that if you push yourself to taste it twice, you will fall in love with it.


6.Boiled Lamb Tripe

Chinese name: 水爆肚 shuǐbàodǔ

You might think that lamb tripe is not eatable. That is obviously wrong

Boiled Lamb Tripe

Boiled Lamb Tripe

in Chinese food culture. In fact, lamb tripe can be made into very delicious dishes, known for their tenderness and crispness. In China, they are popularly eaten with wine.

The duration and degree of heating boiled lamb tripe is really strict. The cleaned sliced lamb tripe should be quickly boiled in high-temperature water for a certain time, which makes the lamb tripe nicely tender and crisp. After scooping it out of the high-temperature water, the ready-to-eat lamb tripe is mixed with sesame paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, fermented tofu, and shredded green onion.

How to eat boiled lamb stripe: Boiled lamb tripe should be eaten as soon as possible, because it will become very chewy when it is cold.

Best place to taste boiled lamb tripe: Besides boiled lamb tripe there is stir-fried lamp tripe and stewed lamb tripe. However, only boiled lamb tripe can be found on street stalls, but not in restaurants. Feng Family Boiled Lamb Tripe (爆肚冯) at Qianmen Street (前门大街) is the most famous and popular snack bar to taste this snack.

7.Tea Soup

Chinese name: 茶汤 chátāng

Tea Soup

Tea Soup

Beijing tea soup is also called Dragon Tea (龙茶) because the teapot for making it has a dragon-headed spout.

The processes of making a bowl of tea soup involes real skill. Some millet flour (or lotus root starch) and hot water are mixed well in a bowl, and then boiling water is poured repidly into the bowl using a fragon head teapot. The tea soup is brewed, and finally some brown sugar, sweet osmanthus sauce, peanuts, and raisins are added.

Best place to taste tea soup: One of the most famous places to taste Beijing tea soup is Juyuan House (聚元斋) in Qianmenwai(前门外).

8.Doornail Pasty

Chinese name: 门钉肉饼 méndīng ròubǐng

Doornail Paste

Doornail Paste

This pancake got its name because of its doornail shape. Its making is almost the same as that of making a pasty. It has cylinder shape (about 3cm high). The fillings of the pasty are made of minced beef, egg, onion, and fresh ginger. A ready-to-eat doornail pasty is well fried with a golden skin.

Best place to taste doornail pasties: As for the Beijing sausage, Heyi House is also a good place to taste a doornail pasty.

Contact us to have us design a customizable tour for you, which will allow you as much time as you want for tasting Beijing street snacks, experiencing traditional Chinese culture, and even making Chinese dishes after you’ve seen the sights.

9. Sugarcoated Haws

Chinese name: 糖葫芦 (tánghúlu /tung-hoo-loo/)

Sugarcoated Haws

Sugarcoated Haws

Sugarcoated haws became popular in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), when it was a most-loved children’s snack. It is one of the most authentic Beijing snacks, a must-taste sweet developed from the simple sugar-covered hawthorn berries to a variety of candied fruits on a stick.

You can find vendors selling sugarcoated haws on Beijing snack streets, but also in some tea buildings, opera theaters, and temple fairs.


10. Rolling Donkeys

(Glutinous Rice Rolls with Sweet Bean Flour)

Chinese name: 驴打滚儿

Rolling Donkeys

Rolling Donkeys

Lǘdǎgǔnr (lyoo-daa-gwerr), or “rolling donkeys”, are glutinous rice rolls with sweet bean flour, one of the most established Beijing snacks, made of soybean flour mainly. The skin of a “rolling donkey” is yellow, so it looks like a donkey rolling about on the ground and kicking up a cloud of dust. It tastes sweet and sticky, with about three layers of sweet bean paste.

Best places to taste a rolling donkey: snacks shops, snack streets, supermarkets, and some restaurants.


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