Beijing’s Best (Chinese) Restaurant Guide

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There are a bunch of guides to eating out in Beijing including a workmanlike Zaggat and recommendations from the English-language weekly city magazines like City Weekend, The Beijinger etc. The trouble with these efforts, worthy though they are, is twofold: a) they are heavily oriented to expats living in Beijing, so will have list upon list of spaghetti and meatballs/pizza  joints that most visitors have zero interest in knowing about; and b) when it comes to Chinese restaurants the reviewers, be they the magazine’s readers or in-house reviewers, often don’t have much of an idea what they are eating and stick to safe and boring know-quantities, missing out on 99 percent of the tens of thousands of restaurants in Beijing. That has always struck me as a waste in a city that surely boats the greatest range of Chinese cuisine on offer anywhere. But the one exception when it comes to reviewers has always been Eileen Mooney, who reviews for various magazines as well as writing about food for international publications and really knows her stuff. She recently published Beijing Eats, which describes itself quite accurately as the definitive guide to eat Chinese food in the capital. As you’ll see from the pages below, not only does she give a handy guide to the food of different regions before recommending the best places to eat that style of cooking in the city, each section also has a cheat sheet of the region’s most famous dishes. An invaluable resource for visitor and resident alike and a steal at RMB 100. (Eileen has also now started her own blog at


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