The arrival of 2016 made me realize that I don’t have very much time left to eat my way through Beijing. High on my list are the government-run provincial representative office restaurants, which serve up some of the most authentic regional cuisines in the city. The Sichuan representative office runs the well-known Chuan Ban, the Yunnan representative office runs Yunteng Shifu, and so on. I started with Guanghe Chaxuan, the Guangdong representative office restaurant in Xidan.
Listings on various expat websites gave the location of Guanghe Chaxuan as being on the fifth floor of a hotel called Guangzhou Dasha, but we were directed to the second floor by the staff. They told us it was all part of the same restaurant.
There was no sign of the dim sum trolleys mentioned in a few reviews. Perhaps we’d shown up too late; we arrived around noon, but dim sum was served as early as 7am.
The dim sum menu was a one-sided sheet of paper with items listed in English and Chinese. Though most of the classics were there – congee, shaomai, chicken feet, shrimp dumplings, beef short ribs, rice rolls – the menu was missing dim sum standards like plain egg tarts, beef tripe with ginger and scallions, and sesame balls. There were also more standard dishes like baozi, pan-fried dumplings, and poached vegetables.
Most dim sum restaurants price their dishes according to a scale based on serving size and quality. In this case, they go:
- Small (小点): RMB 10
- Medium (中点): RMB 13
- Big (大点): RMB 18
- Special (特点): RMB 23
- Top (顶点): RMB 28
- Super (超点): RMB 33
For context, the highly in-demand steamed shrimp dumplings (xiajiao) are considered "super" while barbecue pork buns (chashao bao) are considered "big."
The restaurant was clean and service was prompt. Though I was disappointed by the selection and lack of cart-chasing, Guanghe Chaxuan satisfied our dim sum fix and gave us a reason to go to Xidan, an area of Beijing I hadn’t visited in two years.
The bamboo steamers really added up after two rounds for our table of six, but one of our friends got us 40 percent off the bill through the Dianping app. Here is the coupon he used. (For a quick guide on finding Dianping promotions, click here for an earlier Net Savings post)
Guanghe Chaxuan 广和茶轩
Dim sum available on both 1/F buffet (6.30-9.30am for breakfast, 10am-10pm) and 2/F restaurant (7am-1.30pm, 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm)
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer who has covered travel, tech, culture, parenting, and the environment. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Independent, the Beijinger, Midnight Poutine, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at email@example.com.
Photos: Sijia Chen