If you come to Beijing, local snack is a must-try. There are many kinds of snacks in Beijing, including imperial snacks from the Ming and Qing dynasties. With nice taste and inexpensive price, these snacks are very popular among locals.
Rolling donkey (Lv Da Gun)
Originated in Qing Dynasty, Lv Da Gun is one of the traditional snacks in Beijing. It’s actually a steamed glutinous rice roll filled with red bean paste or brown sugar. It is covered in soybean flour which makes it looks like a donkey rolling over in dust. With a yellow color, the bean-flour cake is sweet and sticky.
Mung bean milk (Dou Zhi)
Mung bean milk is made from the remains of materials in making Mung bean starch-noodle. The origin of Mung bean milk can be traced back to Ming Dynasty. With rich protein, Vitamin C, fiber and sugar, the drink is very popular among Beijingers, though it dose not look or smell appetizing.
This traditional gruel is a street snack in both Beijing and Tianjin. This dish is not exactly a kind of tea. It is made from sorghum flour, broomcorn millet flour, proso millet flour or glutinous millet flour. The flours are cooked before serving. When a customer orders the dish, host will pour the hot water into the bowl containing the flour to create a mush, and sprinkle sugar and sweet Osmanthus sauce.
Sweet ears (Tang Er Duo)
Originated in Islam, sweet ears get its name from the shape. The typical snack in Beijing is made of flour and sugar, which tastes sweet and soft. Served in cold, the fried sugar cake is welcomed by locals.
Steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing (Ai Wo Wo)
Ai Wo Wo is made of glutinous rice or millet flour with sweet stuffing. First appeared in Yuan Dynasty, the steamed rice cake was loved by the imperial families of the Ming Dynasty. With a sticky texture, Ai Wo Wo looks like a snow ball. Various stuffings include ground rock sugar, hawthorn, sesame, green plum fruit and mashed Chinese jujube.
Stewed pork liver (Chao Gan)
Chao Gan is a featured snack in Beijing. It is evolved from Ao Gan (stewed pork liver) and Ao Fei (stir-fried pork lung), both folk foods in Song Dynasty. The cleaned chitterlings are boiled in water. After that, cut the chitterlings into pieces and stew them in mushroom soup, together with garlic sauce, chopped spring onion, chopped ginger and pork liver. The texture of the pork liver and chitterlings are tender.
Filled sausage (Guan chang)
Filled sausage is a popular snack in Beijing. The sausage is traditionally stuffed with a paste of flour. After being boiled, the sausage is cut into cubes or slices in order to be fried.
Stir-fried starch knots (Chao Ge Da)
The traditional Muslim snack was invented almost 100 years ago. It is a kind of Chinese pasta. Made from wheat and corn flour, the dough is chopped and boiled in water and then immersed in cold water. Add in pre-fried fresh beef or chicken and seasonings and then stir-fried again with the starch knots and seasonal vegetables.
Fried wheaten pancake with fillings (Da Lian Huo Shao)
Da lian huo shao is a pan-fried roll filled with different fillings, such as pork with fennel, pork with cabbage, lamb with green onion and multiple vegetarian options. It was originated in Qing Dynasty. With a golden brown cover, the pancake is soft and delicious.
Sweetened baked wheaten cake (Tang Huo Shao)
This favorable local snack in Beijing was invented 300 years ago. It is Muslims’ favorite foods. Da Shun Zhai Restaurant in Tongzhou in eastern Beijing offers most authentic Tang Huo Shao in the city.
Fried beef tripe (Bao Du)
Bao du has been a famous Beijing snack since the Qing Dynasty. The snack is mostly made and sold by the Hui. Cooked beef tripe or lamb tripe is served with oil, sesame sauce, vinegar, chili oil, soy sauce, fermented tofu juice, coriander, spring onion and other seasonings. The texture is tender and crispy.
Wheaten cake boiled in meat broth (Lu Zhu Huo Shao)
Baked wheaten bread, tofu, pork chop and chitterlings are cut into pieces and then boiled in the preserved meat broth. First appeared in Qing Dynasty, the snack was very popular back in old days because meat was too expensive while the offal was more affordable.
Fried ginger-slice cake (Jiang Si Pai Cha)
Used to be packed in straw paper, the local snack is mainly made of fresh ginger slice. Locals send the fried ginger-slice cake to their relatives in the festivals as a gift.
Fried sauce noodles (Zha Jiang Mian)
Zha Jiang Mian is a traditional dish in northern China. The noodles are mixed with stir-fried pork, soybean paste and other ingredients. It is also known as the “Chinese spaghetti”.
Fried Ring (Jiao Quan)
As a traditional local snack, fried ring is usually served with baked cake or Mung bean milk as breakfast. With golden and crispy skin, Jiao Quan is favored by people of all ages. The fried ring can be preserved for up to ten days without going bad in taste.
Pea Cake (Wan Dou Huang)
Wan Dou Huang is Empress Dowager Cixi’s favorite snack. It is mainly available in spring. Sugar is added to the mashed peas so the pea cake is sweet and delicious. The Fangshan Restaurant in the Beihai Park serves the most authentic Pea Cake in the city. It’s definitely worth a try.