Load up your plate with Chinese staples
Did someone say ‘scorpion?’
Test your sense of culinary adventure and challenge your taste buds at the infamous Donghuamen night market. Located just west of Wangfujing Beilu, the long line of red lantern-adorned stalls makes it hard to miss. The brave among you can sample delicacies like crickets, starfish, and seahorses. Alternatively, you can keep the kids happy with chuan’r (meat skewers) and tanghulu (fruit skewers) as they stare wide-eyed at the exotic array of creatures on sticks.
Heat up the hot pot!
Pack up the kids and head down to “Ghost Street” for some festive hot pot fare. The famous Guijie strip along Dongzhimennei Dajie boasts hundreds of hot pot restaurants for you to choose from. The kids will love the red lanterns, eclectic crowds and hearty grub. For the more health-conscious, try the Taiwanese favorite Alexander Creek Park. It offers a vegan-friendly soup base made from 20 different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Did we mention that this restaurant is MSG free?
Alexander Creek Park. Daily 10am-2pm, 5-10pm. 203 Jixiangli, Chaoyangmenwai, Chaoyang District. (6552 5296) 鼎溪园, 朝阳区朝阳门外吉祥里203号
Not Your Average Beijing Duck
Get out of your Beijing duck rut and try something a little different. Join local families and try some down- to-earth kaoya at Jiuhuashan. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Duck de Chine offers the latest in nuevo duck design.
Jiuhuashan Kaoya 九华山烤鸭. Daily 11am-2pm, 5-9pm. Ziyu Hotel, 55 Zengguang Lu, Haidian District. (6841 4518) 海淀区增光路55号紫玉饭店
Duck de Chine. Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm. Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District. (6501 1949) 全鸭季，朝阳区工体北路4号院
If your clan has a taste for meat, why not try Tibetan? Not the best cuisine for the vegetarians among us but if you’ve got a hankering for some substantial fare in beautiful surrounds, then Makye Ame is the place to be. The best dishes are curried potatoes, roasted lamb, grilled mushrooms and beef with pickled carrots. The original Xiushui location is rustic and cosy; the second branch is opulent and ten times bigger.
1) Daily 10am-midnight. 2/F, 11 Xiushui Nanjie, Chaoyang District (6506 9616);
2) Daily 10am-11pm. 2/F, Jinhu Yuan Gongyu Huisuo, 23 Baijiazhuang Dongli (east of Beijing Youth Daily Building), Chaoyang District (6508 8986) 玛吉阿米, 1) 朝阳区秀水南街11号2层; 2) 朝阳区白家庄东里23号锦湖园公寓会所2层（北京青年报大楼东侧）