I'm going to Beijing for Christmas. Any recommendations for Christmas Dinner?
December 17, 2008 2:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm off to Beijing for the Christmas break and want to take my friends out for a big xmas dinner. It's my first time to the city and I'm struggling to find any good guides to food there. Any recommendations for a good slap-up meal on the 25th? I'll be staying around Chao Yang.
posted by hydrophobic to Food & Drink (6 answers total)
I never head out that way any more so I have no personal recommendations, but here's The Beijinger's listings with reviews in case you haven't seen it. I had planned on checking out this African place north of the Lufthansa Centre as I'd heard good things but haven't actually managed it yet.
posted by Abiezer at 2:39 AM on December 17, 2008

There's millions of dining spot in Beijing so it's impossible to answer without knowing what you're looking for, and Chaoyang is a very big district so it doesn't tell much.
But I second Abiezer answer and add cityweekend. Check out their listings and events, you'll see there's plenty of choice.
posted by anto1ne at 6:48 AM on December 17, 2008

Da Dong duck!
posted by clark at 7:26 AM on December 17, 2008

If you are visiting friends who are there already have them pick the restaurant, and then treat.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:08 AM on December 17, 2008

The best conversation to have in China is about food. If you have friends who already reside there or are natives of the city then start it as a discussion of best places to eat. I admit the only time I saw graduate students from China seriously worked up was at dinners/parties where the discussion veered to:

1) whose province had the best food and what dishes were a specialty;

2) which city had the best food;

3) arcane details of food matchings, pairings, and related trivia;

4) how execrable the Chinese food in the US was;

5) latest restaurant gossip of which chef was where in my city to get a decent meal

Good times, good times. In any case, let a proud citizen of the city tell you what places makes them proud and why. Get feedback from visitors on subtle issues, such as, service, cleanliness and Imodium needs. Together with the locals' pride and a visitor's new set of observations you should find VERY tasty food.
posted by jadepearl at 8:36 AM on December 17, 2008

I just returned from a week in Beijing and I can tell you that you are in for a treat.

You should use Alex Bosworth's Eat Beijing guide as a starting point. If you like Szechuan, be sure to try the first restaurant on his list.

Since this is your first time in Beijing, let me tell you a few things:

1 - Ask your hotel or host to write out the address of your destination for you in Chinese characters, and then hand this to your taxi driver. If you are very clever you can take a screen shot of the address and upload it to your mobile device. Just make sure that it is large enough to read.

2 - Make sure that you have your return address written down as well.

3 - Restaurants don't, as a rule, take credit cards. They are, however, relatively inexpensive.

4 - You are not allowed to leave Beijing without having at least one Peking Duck.

5 - Several of the people I met told me that the best thing to do when going to a new restaurant is to simply order their N most popular dishes (with N chosen based on the size of your party). Every restaurant will have a totally unique list.

6 - Chinese people like to order far more food than can be eaten. Sample from what shows up at the table and don't feel compelled to empty the serving dishes.

7 - You don't need to tip.

Have fun!
posted by jeffbarr at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2008

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