Harsh winters and hot dry summers make for a short growing season in northern China. Wheat is the staple grain and root vegetables such as garlic and green onion make a frequent appearance in northern Chinese dishes. Of course, Beijing (then called Peking) was once the seat of the Imperial Court – skilled Imperial chefs incorporated the best of regional cuisines throughout China into their dishes. Here are my recommendations for the Top 10 recipes representing Beijing (northern Chinese) cuisine:
01 of 10
One of the most popular dishes at Chinese restaurants, Mu Shu Pork is thought to resemble a wooded forest scene, with earthy vegetables such as cloud fungus, and scrambled egg representing yellow flowers, all served on a “ground” of mandarin pancakes.
Learn more in my feature “Much Ado About Mu Shu” and try several variations.
02 of 10
An entire chain of Beijing restaurants specialize in serving the succulent pieces of roasted duck. Traditionally, the duck is sliced at the table, where a skilled chef will cut it into over 100 pieces, each containing an equal portion of skin and fat.
Here is a basic Peking duck recipe. Learn more about Beijing’s famous Quan Je restaurant in this feature by guest author Ronghe Yu.
03 of 10
Here are the pancakes that are traditionally served with Mu Shu Pork, made with a hot water dough.
04 of 10
The delicate flavor of rice vinegar brings out the sweetness of lamb. A reader gives this recipe 5 out of 5 stars, commenting that it also works well with beef.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Preparing Jiaozi is a Chinese New Year tradition in many northern Chinese homes. Jiaozi dumplings can be boiled or pan-fried. The dumplings in this recipe are made with a savory pork filling, seasoned with Asian sesame oil and white pepper.
06 of 10
Filled with green onion and sesame oil, these rolls spread out during steaming to resemble a flower shape.
07 of 10
A popular snack, scallion pancakes are pancakes that have been filled with scallions (also called green onions or spring onions) and sesame oil before being pan-fried.
08 of 10
The Asian version of fondue, hot pot consists of cooking food by dipping it in simmering broth. According to legend, the original hot pot was created by Mongolian conquerors who used their helmets as a vessel to cook the food in. Traditionally, Mongolian Hot Pot is made with mutton. However, you can substitute chicken if desired. This recipe for Mongolian Hot Pot With Lamb includes suggestions for dipping sauces.
Twenty-five Tips for Cooking Hot Pot.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
A popular northern Chinese treat made with soybeans, edible terra alba (also called food grade gypsum) and a sweet syrup topping.
10 of 10
Brown bean sauce adds its own distinct flavor to this warming dish from northern China, but if unavailable, you can use brown miso as a substitute. Don't feel up to making the garnishes? Another option is to serve the noodles and meat sauce with stir-fried spinach.