'Beijing's Best Dumplings
Dating back more than 500 years (although some even say as far back as the Eastern Han Dynasty) when they were given to the poor to raise body temperature and increase circulation during the cold winter months, traditional Chinese dumplings (known locally as jiaozi) are now a staple in the national diet and an essential culinary indulgence of any trip to Beijing. These meat or vegetable-filled dough parcels are eaten year-round but are at their most popular at the beginning of each new year, as locals believe that eating them will bring good fortune. Wrapped in thin dough, sealed together with crimped edges and dipped in soy-vinegar sauce, the crescent-shaped treats come boiled, steamed or pan-fried.
For an example of the capital’s best, head to popular restaurant Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu. Renowned for their colourful dumplings dyed with fruit and vegetables, this inviting eatery has two dining rooms and a long list of boiled dumplings filled with pork, lotus root, cucumber, cilantro, bean sprouts, crispy rice and cabbage, as well as cold dishes like stir-fried Chinese broccoli with apricot kernels. Alternatively, the bi-level 200-seat space of Xian Lao Man features both simple and elegant design as well as must-try dumplings stuffed with tofu, cilantro and carrot, along with hard-to-find traditional comfort food like yangyou madoufu, crafted from soybean pulp with lamb fat and dried chilli. Meiwei!