Things to do during Spring Festival in Beijing

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Eating in Beijing

Sunshine Kitchen

The Chinese, especially the Cantonese, believe long-simmered soups with natural ingredients help boost our health.

Such soups are believed to be nutritious, easily digested and the perfect anecdote for Beijing's dry, cold winters.

Sunshine Kitchen is a reasonably priced Cantonese restaurant offering soups simmered with natural and original flavors for four hours. The soups are boiled with purified water, and there are no additives in the soups - not even salt. But tables are topped with saltshakers for those who want to add a dash to their broths. More than 10 soup varieties are available from 12 yuan a bowl.

East of Jinbao Dasha, 21 Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng district. 50 m east of C exit, Dengshikou subway station. 6528-2121.

Lotus Thai

Lotus Thai's four Beijing branches are providing tasty Thai food in very different settings.

The eatery near the ice rink at China World Shopping Mall has become a canteen for many people working in the building.

Its authentic Thai flavors, along with a beautiful Thai-styled yard and attentive service, have attracted quite a few frequenters.

Classic dishes include Tom Yung Kung, a fresh prawn soup that combines sour, spicy, sweet, salty and fragrant flavors. Curry crab, curry chicken, seafood salad, steamed sea bass with lemon and chili are some other popular choices.

11am-9:30pm. 8518-6391. B1 Oriental Plaza, 1 East Chang'an Avenue, Dongcheng district; 5/F, Twin Towers, B12 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Yong'anli, Chaoyang district. 5109-6089; B115 China Central Place, 87 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang district; NB201, B2, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang district. 6505-5386.

The Royal Restaurant

The Royal Restaurant proffers an imperial dinner for the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors in a beautiful two-floor villa on Shichahai Lake's west bank.

In private rooms featuring traditional Chinese furniture and antiques, a server clad in a Qing Dynasty minister's robe deciphers for diners the mysteries of ancient Chinese imperial cuisine, narrating the stories behind the dishes.

This winter, the restaurant offers a special hotpot and grilled dinner, based on written records of a grand feast to which Emperor Qianlong treated 1,000 officials in 1785. The imperial chefs used these two cooking methods to keep catering for such a large crowd simple and scrumptious.

10am-10pm. Reservation required. Near Xinjiekou Beidajie, 48 Xihai Nanyan, Xicheng district. 8328-4099.

Takatura Sushi Bar

You can tiptoe through the latticework dining rooms, cross the koi stream to reach the teppanyaki and sushi bars, or gawk at the traditional garb of the wait staff, but this Japanese restaurant is authentic only in its ambiance.

The assorted tempura platter (RMB 80) was pleasingly crispy and the rice in green tea soup with salmon and sour plums (RMB 30), despite being the simplest dish on the table, delivered homey warmth. Sadly, the deep-fried bean curd (RMB 30) lacked crunch and didn't absorb the flavor of its soup base. But the spicy tuna roll (RMB 100) was disappointing. Thinly sliced and overpriced, it failed to capture the sushi's textured balance of raw fish, rice and seaweed, and was drizzled with a sauce not unlike Tabasco.Location: B110 Kunlun Hui, A2 Xinyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District

Tel: 010-65939435

Open: Daily 11am-2pm, 5-10pm.

CRU Steakhouse

Pining for a slab of meat that can't be tamed with chopsticks? CRU Steakhouse (CRU) at JW Marriott Beijing, offers a grill and rotisserie menu featuring a dozen different cuts of meat. Steak lovers choose their meat from the restaurant's dry ageing room, with a glass wall so that the fresh meats are visible to customers.

Location: 2/F JW Marriott Beijing, 83 Jianguo Lu, China Central Place, Chaoyang District

Opening hours: 6-10pm

Tel: 010-5908-6688 Ext 8530


This Hong Kong import, designed by Philippe Stark, Volar brings one of the best liquor selections and some of the best trained bartenders to the Shanghai scene. What's more, all is exclusively at Volar and the prices are to match.

One thing to note about this place is that, although sometimes a bit intimidating, Volar throws sweet parties and more importantly they have great bartenders. It upholds a members only plus guests door policy.

For people who need something more than "a beer" or "a drink", Volar is great simply because the bartenders have a clue. When the upstairs bar at Volar is not so crowded, it's nice to sip on a Long Dragon while lounging on one of Philippe Starck's black pony armchairs.

Bar-goers may expect nothing but la creme de la creme of Shanghai's local and foreign crowd in a very cool interior.

Urumqi's Beijing Office's Xinjiang Restaurant

Expect plenty of mutton dishes, such as hand-torn lamb rack and sauteed lamb chops with black pepper. The naan and homemade yogurt are must-tries. Also get some Korla pears, grapes, hami melon and red jujube from Qarkilik at reasonable prices. 60 yuan per person. 11am-9:30pm. Inside Urumqi's Beijing office, 1 Chegongzhuang Beidajie, Xicheng District. West of Guanyuanqiao on West Second Ring Road, turn right at first traffic light, go 150 meters, to the left. 6836-2795.


The service is improving. But everybody comes for the food. Start with hand-peeled bamboshoots, then try the fried, dried fish with spring onions, bound pork and three crisp vegetables (lettuce, water chestnut and preserved lettuce). Wash it all down with yellow rice wine, which comes out for 38 yuan per 500 grams. 50 yuan per person. 11am-1:30pm, 5-8:30pm. Northwest corner of Heping Xiqiao, 19 Eastern North Third Ring Road, Chaoyang District. 6443-1558, 6443-1668.

Malacca Legend

The restaurant offers Malay munchies, with influences from Chinese, Indian and Arabian cuisines. Try their BBQ chicken wings, Hainan chicken rice, nasi lemak (coconut rice), curry chicken and sambal kangkong (fried water spinach with shrimp paste). 80 yuan per person. 11am-10pm. On the bank of Luoma Lake, Houshayu, close to ISB, Shunyi District. 8049-8902.

No 78 Chinese Restaurant, Marco Polo

The restaurant operated by a father-and-son team is very creative in cooking Cantonese dishes using unique techniques. Honey-glazed pork tenderloin is cooked to order and sliced on the spot, just like Peking roast duck. Crispy, fried whole chicken, prawn dumplings, seafood soup and seafood tart are other good offerings here. 150-200 yuan per person. Morning tea 7am-noon, lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, afternoon tea 2:30-5:30pm, dinner 5:30-10:30pm. 1/F Marco Polo Parkside Beijing, 78 Anli Lu, Asian Games Village, Chaoyang District. 5963-6688 ext 6415.

Shin Yeh

The decor is a bit more formal than Bellagio, and the food is totally different. Baked karasumi, a naturally dried fish roe, and baby abalone are the most expensive of its specialties. But the restaurant has plenty of more reasonably priced dishes, such as small dried fish with crisp peanut, sauteed oyster cake, sauteed pork liver and braised chicken in casserole. 60 yuan per person. 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-midnight. 6 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District. 6552-5066.


Jewel takes the fusion of Chinese and Western foods to new heights, especially in terms of presentation. Beautiful glassware, Japanese-styled hotpot and glass goblets are used to make dining here a fun, aesthetic and enjoyable experience. Worth trying are their dim sum platter, abalone shabu (hotpot), deep-fried shrimp with spicy breadcrumbs and sauteed celery with gingko nut and bean curd. The set menu is 380 yuan per person. 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm. 1/F The Westin Beijing, B9 Financial Street, Xicheng District. 6606-8866 ext Jewel.


Most restaurants in this style are classified as a hodgepodge of ordinary homestyle foods for people who are not culinarily critical. And this place also fits that bill. But what makes the difference is the food's quality and homey, country-style decor. Sample horse hoof-shaped baked buns with pork stuffing while they're hot; then try smoked pork spine with bone and stewed chicken with wild mushrooms - to be accompanied with their strong, 40-degree Chinese liqueur, or Harbin Beer. 40 yuan per person. 11am-2pm, 4:30-11pm. Opposite the eastern gate of the Temple of Earth, 5 Hepingli Wuqu. 8422-2388.

Dark Restaurant & Faxie Canting

Ok, as for the food... forgot how it tasted. But you can smash your plates, bowls, beer bottles or even the CD player - as long as you pay for it. If that's not enough, you can give a few of the old one-twos to the punching bag or compete with your friend to see who can pound nails in a wooden chopping block faster. There are three set menus each comprising six courses, including a soup and a dessert. 168-218 yuan per person. 10am-10pm. 40 Shuangyushu Dongli, Haidian District. Opposite Shuang'an Department Store, behind Huaxing Film City to the north. 8211-8855.

Golden Yan'an

This is not often seen in Beijing: a compilation menu of former Chairman Mao Zedong's favorite foods from Shaanxi Province. Yan'an was China's revolutionary base before 1949, and now, it brings its mutton, potato dishes, steamed cake in mutton soup and deep-fried millet cake to Beijing. 40 yuan per person. 48 Baofang Hutong, Dongsi Nandajie, Dongcheng District. 8915-8326.

Tiandi Shuanrou

This is a Chinese neighborhood restaurant. But over the years, its freshly cut mutton has been comparable with the best of any other big name hotpot restaurants. It helps you to remember that mutton should taste like mutton. Pots are bronze, as they traditionally should be in Beijing. Also order sesame paste sauce, fish balls, mushrooms, cabbage and deep-fried sesame cakes. A bottle of Yanjing costs 4 yuan. 30 yuan per person. Northeast corner of east end of Dahuisi Lu, 50 meters north of west gate of Beijing Northern Jiaotong University, 23 Daliushu Lu, Haidian District. 6218-7844.

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