More Beijing Dining: Yunnan Cuisine, Xiao Long Bao, and Hot Pot

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Running in Sanlitun Beijing
Running Along the Embassies in Sanlitun Beijing

With all the eating I have been doing on my Beijing holiday, I’ve been trying to squeeze in a couple runs a week to burn off excess calories.

The Sanlitun neighborhood that my sister lives in is not only known for its restaurants and bars but also for its embassies. Running around the tree-lined embassy streets is really nice since it’s not crowded with people nor congested with cars, cabs, and buses. The service roads are nice and wide and fairly shaded.

There’s also a nearby river bank that’s lush with greenery and spring bulbs like daffodils. Both sides of the river provides a nice running trail. Lots of fishermen can be seen casting their lines. I was told some people even swim in this river!

Running in Sanlitun Beijing
Running Along a River in Sanlitun Beijing

Unlike some of my more detailed restaurant and dining posts from Vietnam, I’m going to be brief with most of the places Wee Scotch and I ate at in Beijing because I have a feeling that if I don’t blog about them as soon as we visit them, they’ll never get posted and end up lost in the sea of draft posts.

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This week, here are some of the places we dined at:

One of the first restaurants we ate out at was a Yunnan restaurant called Middle 8. Yunnan is a province in southwestern China that borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

I don’t know much about Yunnan cuisine (not to be confused with Hunan which is a different Chinese province) except that it can be quite spicy and, as you can see in the photos, all but one of the dishes that were ordered came with a good kick of spicy red pepper.

Mixed Mushrooms @ ? 8 ?
Mixed Mushrooms


Spicy Chicken @ ? 8 ?
Spicy Chicken

Steamed Fish @ ? 8 ?
Steamed Fish


Huge Grilled Oysters @ ? 8 ?
Huge Grilled Oysters

Middle 8th RestaurantBldg 8, Dong Sanlitun (in alley running east from 3.3 Mall), Zhongba Lou, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District, China. Tel: +86 10 6417 9395.

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My sister and I also went to a popular restaurant called Din Tai Fung for Shanghainese food where I experienced eating Xiao long bao for the first time and they are now my new favorite snack food.

These little morsels of steamed dumplings are not just filled with meat and veg but also broth so you have to be careful not to eat them steaming hot less you risk burning your mouth. Always served with thinly sliced fresh ginger and a sauce of black vinegar.

We ordered pork filled ones, crabmeat ones, and also mushroom filled ones. The meat ones were much tastier than the veg but I loved them all and so did Wee Scotch.

Dumplings @ Din Tai Fung
Dumplings @ Din Tai Fung

Craving noodles, I also ordered this bowl of shrimp and pork won ton with noodle soup:

Won Ton and Noodles @ Din Tai Fung
Won Ton and Noodles @ Din Tai Fung

And to balance out our meal with some vegetables, we ordered sauteed bean shoots and braised bean curd with black mushroom:

Side Dishes @ Din Tai Fung
Braised beancurd + black mushrooms and Suateed bean shoots @ Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung have a couple locations in Beijing. We went to the one inside the Parkview Green mall but there are a few others in Beijing.

Din Tai Fung: lower ground level of the Parkview Green mall, No.9, Dongdaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing. Tel: +86 10 8562 6583.

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I love Chinese hot pot and we went one weekend and ordered a ying yang broth of half spicy and half non-spicy.

The Szechuan peppercorn that was used in the spicy broth was not just spicy but also mouth numbing – when the sensation of spiciness subsided, my mouth was still left with this tingling feeling that lasted for minutes as if someone held a mini vibrating machine to the top of my mouth.

Hot Pot
Hot Pot

Some of the more unusual items on the menu (for me) that could be ordered for self-cooking in the hot pot included pork brains (organic), yak livers and yak skewers.

I’m not exactly sure of the location but it was by the Workers’ Gymnasium close to Sanlitun.

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And two kind of food-related things that gave me great amusement whenever I saw them in Beijing:

(1) Alcohol being sold and served everywhere like supermarkets and bars on street corner.

Now this may be a normality for most people not living in Muslim countries like the UAE but every time I leave Dubai for a short holiday, it’s something that strikes me immediately as unusual until I get used to it again.

Beer at Jenny Lou's Supermarket
Beer at Jenny Lou’s Supermarket – sold next to the meat section

(2) This cute little kid-sized urinal and sink in the ladies bathroom. Perfect for Wee Scotch because he’s still too small to reach the adult sinks and he’s getting too heavy for me to hold up.

Kids' toilet at Parkview Greens, Beijing
Kids’ toilet at Parkview Green, Beijing

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*All photos take with iPhone 4S.


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  1. Wow! Look at the dishes – the spicy chicken, the mushrooms, the grilled Oysters and behold – the steamed fish! The pictures on IPhone have come out so brilliantly. Enjoy your travels and keep us posted:)

  2. I’ve wanted to know how the food inside China varies from the dishes we are served in ‘Chinese’ restaurants, particularly since we went to a well known restaurant here in Dubai with you. Now I have my answer. Fascinating. Great pics on your iphone4S too (I have one).

    1. Hi Sally,

      Most of the Chinese food outside of China (ie in Western countries) seems to be mostly Cantonese or Hong Kong cuisine with some offerings of Szechuan (also spelled Sichuan) or Hunan (not to be confused with Yunnan which is a different region). Of course, I am definitely no expert and my short span of time in China for 3 weeks proved that there is so much to learn – I only touched the tip of the iceberg.

      There were so many regional cuisines just in Beijing alone (from the other provinces like Shanxi, Shanghai, Fujian, etc) that I found it very difficult to keep them all straight and there was so much to learn. Without constant exposure and continued education, I’m afraid my learning is now at a standstill having left China.

      But I did take away the need to be more aware of the Chinese food that I will eat in the future to try to understand more of its background. I am, of course, bias towards Cantonese food so will have to make more of an effort to branch out of that area.