Ok, there are definitely a few places that I would recommend eating when you’re in Beijing. Whether you are a vegetarian or not, the restaurants I will write about are most definitely worth a visit for the food and for the experience.
Thankfully, my friend Kate decided the past two years to have her birthday celebration at Black Sesame restaurant. I had heard about this place and new that it had an awesome reputation. It did not disappointment! Black Sesame is located in a Beijing hutong. It is very small and has a rustic feel. They offer cooking classes & open as a restaurant for two days/week. You must make a reservation before going. My suggestion is to go with a large group therefore kinda renting the place out. You pay the same price per person and there is a set menu. When you call to make the reservation, mention you are a vegetarian so they accommodate you. All of the food comes out in waves and is for the table to share. I LOVE the five-flavored eggplant & the three-mushroom stir fry. But…wait for it…as the name of the restaurant suggests you will be having black sesame. A loud drum roll for the most amazing dessert ever! Homemade black sesame ice cream with seasonal candied fruit. It is truly the most incredible, melt in your mouth, who came up with this amazing bleeping idea?!, dessert around Beijing. This dish alone is worth the trip. The ambiance is very cool and is Beijing chic in its little rustic hutong home.
Next… street food. Have many people I know gotten totally sick from this? Yes. My advice? Be mindful of where you buy it and of what you buy. Also, don’t eat it too often! There is a market next to my school that once in a blue moon I will go get food from. I love their tofu skin dishes, cucumber in chili sauce, and the classic jian bing (an egg pancake with cilantro, green onions, and an amazing hot chinese sauce) – not to be missed. I also love broccoli with garlic (served & eaten cold), though there is not enough mouthwash in my drawer at work to warrant me being in close proximity to anyone after eating this. It is sure to ward off the most vicious of vampires and fight the fiercest of colds one may encounter. But damn! It’s goooood. Not only that but the price for all of this food you see here was purchased for a mere and measly $4.00 total. Hot dang!