Prepare to queue for the best chuan’r in town! Citywide chain, Bayi Laoye, has unveiled an ace new branch in Chaoyang. The wall-to-wall Ancient Greek-style marble, polished brass and ritzy chandeliers might not be to everyone’s taste, but the affordable, fast and downright delicious food mean it’s always rammed to the rafters.
Chuan’r are small pieces of meat roasted on skewers. Originating in the Chinese-Islamic cuisine of the Uyghur people of northwestern province Xinjiang, these super-tasty kebabs have spread to become popular street food in Beijing and beyond. Gongti specialises in the food of the northwest frontier and has earned a loyal following for its delicious chunks of skewered lamb, interspersed with charred fat and seasoned with coriander seed, cumin, pepper, turmeric and fennel seeds. Order classic skewers or treat yourself to the larger, pricier, choice ones, which harness rosewood branches to enhance their fragrant woody aroma.
For a hearty feast, try the Dapanji, stewed chicken, root vegetables, chopped noodles and grilled nang flatbread. Kao Baozi buns, stuffed with lamb and charcoal oven-roasted, are also a hit with the punters. Vegetarian-leaning options include tofu and cabbage stir-fried with Xinjiang bread. House-made, rock sugar-sweetened yoghurt will cool your throat, or keep the free tea coming.
Reservations aren’t accepted, but friendly staff and a photobook menu make for easy ordering. Low prices, authentic tucker and bonkers decor? What’s not to like?
Xinzhong Dasha / Gongti Bei Lu / Chaoyang / +86 10 6981 8181 / 11am-11pm daily