All this month, we’ll be introducing 50 picks for some of the best family-friendly restaurants in Beijing. These reviews originally appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of beijingkids (see end of post).
Type of cuisine: Chinese
English menu? Yes, but some names are in Chinese only; large and numerous photos make ordering easy, however.
General kid-friendliness of menu: Baoyuan has a dizzying selection of vegetarian and meat dumplings, with both spicy and non-spicy options. Kids who don’t like jiaozi can find something in the restaurant’s extensive menu of homestyle Chinese dishes.
Best dishes for adults: Any of the dumplings (RMB 10-15/liang or six dumplings); wucai jiangqie (五彩酱茄) or eggplant with julienned carrots, cucumbers, ground meat, chopped garlic, and cilantro (RMB 28); cumin grilled fish (孜然烤鱼, RMB 52)
Kids’ menu? No
Best dishes for kids: Carrot, mushroom, shrimp, and egg dumplings (RMB 11/liang); pork and cabbage dumplings (RMB 10/liang); mutton chops (RMB 48)
Kids’ play area? No
Play areas nearby: Chaoyang Park, The Magic Bean House
Kid-friendly staff? Yes, but not English-speaking. Attentiveness varies: one brought the bill right away, while another had to be asked three times for hot water.
Bathroom: When you exit Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu, turn left and enter their neighboring sister establishment Baoyuan Chuanyuan (宝源川院). Walk through a courtyard all the way to the end of the restaurant; the bathroom will be on your left. Toilets are squat and not particularly clean. There is no changing table, but the courtyard has a wooden pavilion with a ledge that can serve as one in a pinch; however, it’s very cold in the winter.
Seating: Baoyuan has indoor seating only with standard tables and chairs. The restaurant has only one highchair, so you’re out of luck if someone else is using it.
Price: RMB 150
Credit card accepted? No, cash only
Must-order item: Dumplings. Classics include pork and cabbage, pork and scallions, tomato and egg, and egg and chives.
In a nutshell: Baoyuan is a bustling dumpling restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and loyal following. The adventurous should try spicy pickled turnip and smoked ham (腌肉萝卜干, RMB 11/liang), while vegetarians can enjoy creative fillings like smoked bean curd, celery, mushrooms, eggs, chives, cabbage, carrots and cellophane noodles. In addition to jiaozi, Baoyuan also serves standards like braised eggplant, beefy soups, and grilled fish. The menu, though extensive, can be confusing at times. Best of all? Baoyuan is amazingly cheap; most dumpling dishes cost between RMB 10 and 15 per liang.
Additional notes: The skins for the restaurant’s huge, ingot-shaped dumplings can be substituted for rainbow-colored versions for a small fee. Baoyuan is packed on weekends; try dropping by outside of lunch hours or on a weekday
Also try: Xian Lao Man
photo by: Judy Zhou and Lova