Crackling, succulent duck, wrapped in a transparent pancake with julienned cucumbers and drizzled with a dark plum sauce. Ah, the joy of Beijing’s Peking duck. Shanghai’s masterpiece? Soup dumplings. Warm, delicate dough, twisted into the shape of chocolate kisses, and filled with steaming broth and your choice of pork, scallions, or anything else your heart desires. Truly, they are bites of heaven.
There is no denying it. One of the best parts of travel is the culinary delights that greet you in the cities you visit. But where to go? WildChina gives you our three favorite dining destinations for China’s two metropolises, Beijing and Shanghai.
Green T. House
Looking more like an art gallery than a restaurant, Green T. House was launched in Beijing by internationally renowned musician, artist, and master chef JinR in 1997. Recognized by TIME magazine as China’s first celebrity chef, JinR strove to incorporate not just food, but art, architecture and design into her restaurant. Green T. House not only launched the modern Chinese cuisine movement in Bejiing, but also served as an inspiration to restaurants around the world. With clean white walls and subtle odes to traditional Chinese interior design, the setting is stylish and sophisticated: a living work of art.
Set in a renovated traditional Beijing courtyard, Huajiayiyuan serves classic and modern renditions of Beijing’s favorite dishes, including Peking Duck with an assortment of crudités and “Squirrel Fish” which has been scored and deep fried so that each section of its back is a perfect bite. Every evening a variety show in the main dining room offers an amusing introduction to local arts and culture.
Tian Di Yi Jia
Tiandiyijia is a high-end restaurant just east of the Forbidden City, featuring traditional Chinese cuisine and atmosphere. With carefully chosen Chinese elements, including ancient paintings, lanterns, and other antiques which have all been collected by the owner, Tiandiyijia has a sophisticated and vibrant atmosphere.
Yi Long Court
Under the guidance of Michelin star chef Tang Chi Keung, fresh from the Peninsula Tokyo, this restaurant in the Peninsula Shanghai serves up some of the finest haute Cantonese cuisine in town. Classic Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine means the emphasis is on seafood, and you can’t go wrong with the meticulously prepared seafood dishes. The Western-style dining room with Art Deco flourishes provides a handsome setting, and table service is impeccable.
Located in the French concession, this restaurant serves foods from the communities in and around southern Yunnan province. Its dark, vermillion interior, sparely decorated with ethnographic art, is a good place to try dishes like sea bass with black bean sauce from the Dai tribe and Yunnan chicken salad with chili and sesame.
The grand halls of this refurbished villa play host to a menu of traditional Shanghainese dishes joined by a few guest stars of the modern variety such as delicious deep-fried prawns with wasabi mayonnaise. Your Lao Shanghai and deep-fried boneless duck go down all the more smoothly as you are serenaded by the pianist’s chosen score.
If you are interested in sampling Chinese cuisine our Chinese Treasures journey will lead you through the areas of the major cuisines of the country. Bigger foodie than that? Join us on our Gastronomic Tour of China with Fuchsia Dunlop and learn how to make the dishes yourself. If you have something else in mind, just send us an email at email@example.com.