A Bite of Beijing: 6 Street Snacks with Rich Culture

Posted on 17 Oct, 2018 Category: Food & Drink,China,Guides

Have you ever had Beijing snacks? What do you think of Beijing snacks? Beijing snack is an indispensable part of Beijing food, which has rich cultural tradition with a history of thousands of years. Apart from the well-known Candied Haws on A Stick, Glutinous Rice Rolls with Sweet Bean Flour, Beijing snacks have more than 200 different types, which combines with Chinese ethnic styles, such as Han, Hui and Man as well as court style. Here are 6 Beijing street snacks with rich culture, but hundreds of other snacks are also waiting for you! When you visit the places of interest in Beijing, it's a good chance to take some time to have a taste.


1. Fermented Bean Drink

Chinese name: 豆汁 dòu zhī /doh-jee/

Known as "the Coke of Beijing folks" and "the royal drink of old Beijing", Fermented Bean Drink is greenish-grey in color, sour in taste with the special smell.

Fermented Bean DrinkFermented Bean Drink


Green bean, water

Making introduction

It is prepared by leftovers of green-bean starch or Chinese vermicelli production. At first, the green beans will be soaked until its peel taken off, then grounded into a slurry that is stored in a large tank for fermentation. The supernatant is the unboiled bean juice. Next, the unboiled bean juice will be added with cold water until boiled, and Fermented Bean Drink is done.

Historical origin

It's said that this snack started as casual. In the past, the juice that's left over for making green bean starch or Chinese vermicelli was usually treated as waste. One day, a clerk in the bean noodle mill found that a sour smell came from the waste juice, as well as a wisp of fragrance. The clerk was curious, so he warmed up the juice and found the sour smell was stronger. He tastedbravely and was overjoyed to have a palatable experience. Having conducted many experiments since then, from the fermentation time to the heating means, thenowaday Fermented Bean Juice was gradually formed.

Tips: For the travelers who drink it the first time will find it hard to swallow. But when serve with the shredded pickled vegetables, capsicol and fried ring, you may fall in love with it. Remember to take it mouthful and mouthful slowly.

Where to eat:
1) Laociqikou Douzhir Shop (Tiantan Shop) 老磁器口豆汁店 (天坛店)
Add: opposite to the north gate of Temple of Heaven 天坛北门对面
Nearby scenic spots: Forbidden City 故宫, Tiananmen Square 天安门, Temple of Heaven 天坛

2) Niujie Baoji Douzhi Shop 牛街宝记豆汁店
Add: 27 Shuru Hutong, Niujie, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京西城区牛街输入胡同27号 
Nearby scenic spots: Capital Museum 首都博物馆, Grand View Garden 大观园

3) Yinsan Dozhi 尹三豆汁
Add: 176 Dongxiaoshi Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京市东城区东晓市街176号
Nearby scenic spots: 
Tiananmen Square 天安门, Temple of Heaven 天坛

2. Fried Ring

Chinese name: 焦圈 jiāoquān /jyaoww-chwen/

As a famous specialty, Fried Ring is the old traditional Chinese snack. Golden in color, crispy taste, small and exquisite, it looks like a bracelet. 

Flour, salt, alum, alkali

Making introduction
The making method of this little food is time-consuming. Usually, the dough is cut into 1-inch strips, then two of them need to overlap and a slit is made along the dough length. When the strips float in the hot oil, they need a quick turn with a chopstick inserting in the slit so that the Fried Ring one after another is made. Traditionally, the dough should be kneaded four times and the knife skills need careful study. Besides, masters pay attention to making 8 out of 1 Liang (unit of weight, =1/2 gram), 80 out of 1 Jin (unit of weight, =1/2 kilogram), no more no less.

Fried Ring culture
The beloved Fried Ring is an essential part of the breakfast of Beijing people. Many of them consider having Fried Ring and Fermented Bean Drink together as a great enjoyment.

In Beijing's folk culture, Fermented Bean Drink is the most distinctive food. When talking about it, people can't help to mention another food, Fried Ring. They are inseparable as the relation between red flowers and green leaves. And people once said: "Kick someone down, stomp on his or her neck and pour a bowl of Fermented Bean Drink into the mouth, those who yell 'Is there a Fried Ring' must come from Beijing. On the contrary, those who shout in the street are outsiders."

Tips: Fried Ring is a high-calorie food, a bowl of Douzhir or soybean milk is recommended to eat together for cutting the grease.

Where to eat:
1) Huguosi Snack Bar 护国寺小吃店
68 Huguosi Street, Xichen District, Beijing 北京西城区护国寺街68号
Nearby scenic spots: Prince Gong's Mansion 恭王府, Shichahai 什刹海, Beihai Park 北海公园

2) Jiumen Snack 九门小吃
1Xiaoyou Hutong, Denei Street, Beijing 北京德内大街孝友胡同1号
Nearby scenic spots: Former Residence of Soong Ching-ling 宋庆龄故居, South Luogu Lan 南锣鼓巷

3. Seasoned Millet Mush

Chinese name: 面茶 miàn chá /myen-chah/

Seasoned Millet Mush is one of the Beijing paste food, which is made of millet flour with sesame sauce drizzled over the top, salty and delicate.

Seasoned Millet MushSeasoned Millet Mush

Millet flour, sesame sauce, sesame salt, water

Making introduction
In Beijing snacks, Seasoned Millet Mush is prepared with the least ingredients and the simplest cooking method—After boiling the millet flour into a paste-like consistency, sesame paste is prepared to drizzle over the top, and a handful of sesame salt will be sprinkled.

Slurping (xī liū吸溜) culture
The cooking method is not difficult, but it's not easy to drink, which has its own eating culture. Beijing people like "slurping" (It means to drink a liquid while making a noisy sucking sound) when they have Sesame millet mush, and they often hold the bowl in one hand, open their mouths, stick to the bowl edge and turn around the bowl to slurp the paste. The sesame in the bowl flows to the edge, then to people's mouths, which is full of the aroma of sesame sauce and Sesame Millet Mush.

Literally, Seasoned Millet Mush can be mistaken for a bowl of soup, but it's boiled millet paste in fact. Rather than using a spoon or chopsticks, the local people usually pick up the bowl and turn around to slurp along the edge of the bowl.

Where to eat:
1) Daxing Hutong Miancha 大兴胡同面茶
7 Daxing Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京东城区大兴胡同7号
Nearby scenic spots: Yonghe Temple 雍和宫, Town God's Temple 城隍庙

2) Yizhaiyuan Maji Miancha 伊斋缘马记面茶
38 Building, Huaweixili, Panjiayuan, Chaoyang District, Beijing 北京市朝阳区潘家园华威西里38号楼
Nearby scenic spots: Longtan Park 龙潭公园, Capital Library 首都图书馆

8 DAYS China Golden Triangle Beijing - Xi'an - Shanghai

4. The Palace Cheese

Chinese name: 宫廷奶酪 gōngtíng nǎilào /gontting-neye laoww/

Palace Cheese, a daily dessert with a taste of light bouquet, sweet and non-greasy, smooth and cool, it was once popular among the Manchurians (people who lived in the northeastern area of ancient China).

Rice wine, fresh milk, sugar

Making introduction
Traditionally, the making method is to put the fresh milk and glutinous rice wine into a small bowl, then put the mixture into a barrel for baking, and finally use the ice cube to cool and solidify it.

Historical course
Just as its name implies, this local snack comes from the imperial palace that only the royal families of Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1636-1912) dynasties are entitled to enjoy. Due to the ingredient was secret, there was no chance for high officials to have a taste, not to mention the civilians. After the Qing Dynasty fell, the Palace Cheese was introduced to the folk communities.

Tips: When you take it outside, it's easy to break for swaying so that you will have a terrible taste experience. So, it's better to have a taste in the shops.

Where to eat:
1) Cheese Wei (Niujie Main Store) 奶酪魏(牛街总店)
 202 Guan'anmennei Street, Xuanwu District, Beijing 北京宣武区广安门内大街202号
Nearby scenic spots: Museum of Ancient Pottery Civilization 北京古陶文明博物馆, Baoguo Temple 报国寺, Libai Temple 礼拜寺

2) Sanyuan Meiyuan (Xisi Shop) 三元梅园(西四店)
51 Xisinan Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京市西城区西四南大街51号
Nearby scenic spots: Prince Gong's Mansion 恭王府, Forbidden City 故宫, Tiananmen Square 天安门广场

5. Beef Wrapped in Pancake

Chinese name: 门钉肉饼 méndīng ròubǐng /mnn-ding roh-bing/

Beef wrapped in pancake is usually a cylinder in doornail shape about 3 cm high and 5 cm in diameter, smaller and thicker than the common pie. It has thin wrapper but stuffed with beef filling, tender with a crispy crust, juicy and tasty.
*In fact, "门钉" (méndīng/mnn-ding) refers to doornail in Chinese.

Beef, onion, green onion, eggs, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, pepper

Making introduction
The dough will be kneaded into a long strip and rolled into round pieces with beef mixed with chopped onion, green onion and eggs, as well as the accessories of sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and pepper. After the fillings are rolled in the wrapper and shaped them into cylinders, they are deep-fried until floating on the oil with a golden color.

Name origin
Beef wrapped in pancake is named for its doornail shape. According to a legend, it's said that the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) imperial kitchen made an unnamed snack for the Empress Dowager Cixi. After eating it, the empress felt very palatable and asked the chef what the name the food was. Just at that moment, a good idea occurred to the chef, he thought of the doornail on the palace gate and replied casually "Mending Roubing". Since then, the name had been passed so far.

Tips: Beef wrapped in pancake is best when eaten hot, dipping with vinegar or a bowl of millet conge. If it is cooled, the oil is easily solidified. Before eating, poke it with a chopstick, or the hot oil will splash the clothes.

Where to eat:
1) Baorui Mendingroubing Shop 宝瑞门钉肉饼店
59-2 North Street, Chaoyangmen, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京东城区朝阳门北小街59-2号
Nearby scenic spots: National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆, South Luogu Lane 南锣鼓巷

2) Mengdingli (Shoutinanlu Shop) 门丁李(首体南路店)
20 Shoutinan Road, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京西城区首体南路20号
Nearby scenic spots: National Art Museum of China 中国美术馆, Jingshan Park 景山公园

6. Beijing Fried Sausage

Chinese name: 灌肠 guàn cháng /gwan-chung/

This golden snack is a starchy food with a flake-like shape. Take a bite, salty and garlic aroma, and lasting sweet in taste is full of mouth.

Green bean (or sweet potato) starch, spices, lard oil, garlic juice, salt

Making introduction
This local food is a starch strip made up of green bean (or sweet potato) in sausage shape at the beginning. After cooking thoroughly, the sausage is sliced into pieces and fried in lard oil, and at last, drizzled with salt and garlic juice.

Sausage or not
Originally, the Beijing Fried Sausage was made of pig intestine stuffing with starch and minced meat. Later with the progress of the society, the cost of pig intestine increased and the making technology changed. The starch was added with red rice and spices to fill in the small intestine of pig when people made this snack. But, the Beijing Fried Sausage in the market and temple fair now is made of green bean starch (or sweet potato) mixed with various spices. So, the well-known Beijing Fried Sausage today keeps its original name, but the making method has changed.

Tips: The right way of having Beijing Fried Sausage is with a toothpick instead of chopsticks. Besides, the garlic juice, the secret of having a meat flavor, is the must seasoning to add.

Where to eat:
1) LaoBeijing Huashi Daye Guanchang
Fahuasi Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 北京东城区法华寺街
Nearby scenic spots: the Hall of Prayer For Good Harvest 祈年殿, Imperial Vault of Heaven 皇穹顶

2) Tianqiao Guoji Guanchang 天桥郭记灌肠
43 Fuchang Street, Xuanwu District, Beijing 北京宣武区福长街43号
Nearby scenic spots: Deyun Crosstalk Association 德云社, Beijing Museum of Natural History 自然博物馆 

After reading, which snack impresses you most? A fantastic Beijing food journey can be customized for your tastes. More delicious food is waiting for you! If you have any questions about these 6 Beijng street snacks with rich culture, please feel free to contact me at .

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