11 Best Beijing Street Dishes/Snacks
With a long history, Beijing street foods combine the snacks of many ethnic groups including Han, Hui, Mongol, and Manchu, as well as the imperial snacks of Ming and Qing dynasties.
Today, street foods in Beijing are famous for their wide varieties, superior (or wired) materials, and unique cooking skills, making them one of the best parts of Beijing’s culinary experience. Below are the best 11 street foods in Beijing you should not miss.
Jianbingguozi (煎饼馃子) is a kind of warm pancake wraps especially popular for breakfast on cold winter days in Beijing. Difficult to find at a restaurant, it usually shows at a street-side food stall.
The process of making a Jianbingguozi lasts about 4 minutes. It is cooked before your very eyes:
- Pouring and spreading the batter on a large grill to form a thin crepe;
- Brushing the crepe with an egg;
- Spreading on a sauce, cilantro, ham, green onions, slices of fried cracker;
- Rolling up into a wrap and handing over to you.
2. Lamb Skewers
Lamb skewers (Chuan’r 串儿 in Chinese) is probably the most popular street food in Beijing’s night markets. To spice the lamb up, the vendors usually sprinkle it with cumin, pepper flakes, salt, and sesame oil and cook it on BBQ sticks.
This street food originated in the Xinjiang region and similar to shish kebabs. Lamb is the traditional meat used; beef, pork, or even non-meats are also skewered by today’s sellers.
3. Donkey Rolls
Donkey Rolls (Lvdagun 驴打滚 in Chinese) is one of the old Beijing street snacks. Don’t get confused by its name- it is actually glutinous rice rolls with soybean flour, a non-meat dessert.
Literally, its Chinese name means a donkey roll on the ground, which vividly describes the process of rolling the stuffed rolls in bean flour.
4. Beijing Yogurt
Old-style Beijing Yogurt is made by heating up milk and adding sugar so it can have a sweet taste and be kept at room temperature. The yogurt is kept inside ceramic jars which are topped with white paper and blue writing.
These cute little jars can be returned to the vendor for reuse, so it is suggested to drink the yogurt on the spot. If you want to take the ceramic jar to go, you need to spend an extra yuan or two.
5. Pea Cake
As one of the traditional Beijing snacks, Pea Cake (Wandouhuang 豌豆黄 in Chinese) was famous for being the favorite by Empress Dowager Cixi. These soft yellow cubes are made of grinded peas and usually offered in spring, tasting smooth, cool, and refreshing.
6. Stewed Liver
Stewed Liver (Chao Gan 炒肝 in Chinese) is made by stewing pork liver and fried pork intestines in soup with brown soy sauce. This Beijing breakfast street food looks just like a thick soup, good to eat with steamed buns.
7. Bing Tang Hu Lu
Bing Tang Hu Lu (冰糖葫芦) is a “fruit kebab” featuring a mixture of fruits, usually hawthorns and strawberries, coated with sugar. This street food has been popular since the 17th century, sold on bamboo skewers, and most loved by kids.
8. Mung Bean Milk
Mung Bean Milk (Douzhi 豆汁 in Chinese) is a grayish-green fresh juice fermented from the remnants of making mung bean noodles. It usually serves as a breakfast drink for locals, eating with fried dough rings, fried dough twists, and pickles.
However, only brave people are bold enough to try this infamous bean juice because of its stinky smell and sour flavor.
Aiwowo appeared in the late Ming Dynasty (the late 16th century). It was a snack favored by the royal families because of its snow-white color and sweet taste. Before being introduced to the Forbidden City, it was once a traditional halal food.
Aiwowo has steamed rice cakes with sweet stuffing. These ball-shaped white cakes are made of sugar, nuts, green plum, and Osmanthus. They taste sticky and soft and can be bought all year round in Beijing.
Miancha (面茶) is a traditional snack that has been popular in Beijing and Tianjin for generations. It is the millet mush seasoned with sesame paste, sesame oil salt, and peppercorns, which looks like thick porridge with a yellow tint.
It is a street food harder to find than most and usually sold in hidden hutongs.
11. Deep Fried Insects
If you are a veteran of Chinese food and have seen and tasted all kinds of Chinese food, you may want to go further. Perhaps some crispy fried insects will enrich your eating experience in Beijing.
Going to a night street in Beijing, you can find various insects there- scorpions, ants, silkworms, grasshoppers, etc. If your guts allow you to overcome the shock factor, eat it. Don’t worry, fried insects are harmless to eat; it's just a matter of courage to try them.
Where to Get Street Food in Beijing?
Food streets or snack streets fall all-around in Beijing. Here are four places to find the best street food:
- Wangfujing Snack Street: Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District
- Niujie Muslim Snack Street: Guanganmen Inner Avenue, Xicheng District
- Huguosi Snack Street: Huguosi Street, Xicheng District
- Ghost Street (Guijie): Dongzhimen Inner Avenue, Dongcheng District
Experience Your Beijing Food Tour with Us
If you have any special food requirements or interests, or especially want to try any of the above street foods, please feel free to let us know when you are booking your Beijing tour with us. We can customize your itinerary to fit your needs. have a look at our most-selected Beijing tours: