What to Do in Beijing: My Suggestions

Because Tyler Cowen is going to Beijing, I made a list of suggestions:

1. Don’t go to the Great Wall. It’s a long drive. I preferred to see it on the Today Show. The only interesting bit was a guy who sat in a chair on the path to the wall and charged 30 cents to go further. We paid the 30 cents  but in retrospect I wish we hadn’t.

2. Visit some of the many “markets” that consist of a building full of tiny booths. There are markets devoted to cameras, jewelry, clothes, electronics, furniture, etc. There can be more choice of furniture in one building (say, 100 manufacturers) than exists in the entire Bay Area. Along similar lines there is a whole neighborhood full of tea sellers — if you like tea.

3. Peking duck is a good dish but I cannot tell the difference between the better restaurants serving it. So don’t go out of your way to go to an especially good place. I usually go to Quanjude which has a branch very near my school (Tsinghua).

4. Middle 8 is a very good restaurant (in Haidian and Chao Yang).

5. Din Tai Fung is a  very good dumpling restaurant. It is a big international Taiwanese chain. So it isn’t even mainland Chinese food exactly.

6. There are grilled chicken wing restaurants near the west gates of both Peking University and Tsinghua University. I don’t know their names but they are very good. Popular with students.

7. I have never found a nice place in Beijing to walk. Even in parks there is a lack of shade.

8. In my neighborhood (Wudaokou) there are excellent Korean restaurants.

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

8 Responses to “What to Do in Beijing: My Suggestions”

  1. Jim Says:

    You must visit the Hutongs! Especially long confusing walks in the hutongs that end up at Ho Hai.

    Once you are finished with Old Beijing (the Hutongs), go to modern Beijing (shopping malls, of course). I recommend Raffles.

    Take a 1-2 day trip to Chuandixia (to the West of Beijing). This is one of my favorite spots in China!

    If you do want to go to the Great Wall, stay overnight at Shaan Ba (in English- Mountain Bar). I agree that visiting the wall can be annoying, but for most people it will be a must see.

  2. Tom Says:

    One of the (authentic) branches of Din Tai Fung is in Arcadia,
    California:

    Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
    http://www.dintaifungusa.com
    1108 S Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007-7508
    Phone: (626) 574-7068

  3. Andy Says:

    Din Tai Fung is awesome!!

    The two in Tokyo are terrible, but I’ve been to the original in Taipei and few other branches in China/Taiwan and they are much better. So juicy. Best dumplings I have had.

  4. Eric Says:

    This is a nice walking route: http://goo.gl/maps/pYscW

    Start from the Lama Temple subway exit C, walk down Guozijian St (going into the Confucius Temple or the Guozijian if you want) and then making an arbitrary turn at the end of that st and getting lost in the hutongs.

  5. garymar Says:

    I ate at Quanjude — it was great! I still have the card giving the number of my duck. It was like 80 million or something.

    Japan has 12 Dintaifung restaurants, with 7 in the Tokyo area. I’ll try it out. Two of them in Shinjuku alone.

    Are they all bad? Probably because it’s “Chinese adapted to Japanese tastes” Chinese food, unlike “Chinese adapted to American tastes” in LA.

  6. garymar Says:

    Actually the website has the Shinjuku restaurant listed twice, so only one in Shinjuku.

    http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/jp/area_a_list.asp?AreaCountryNO=20

  7. Adam Says:

    I can attest to the fact that the Shanghai Din Tai Fung is delicious.

  8. Richard Sprague Says:

    Don’t forget to pack a VPN of some kind if you want to access the entire internet while in China. I use Witopia (for my apartment) and 12VPN on my iPhone.