Having a long history, Beijing snacks win universal praise for their wide varieties, superior materials and careful preparation. They combine the snacks of many ethnic groups such as Han, Hui, Mongol and Manchu, as well as Ming and Qing palace snacks.
Various Snacks in Beijing
The Fried-pouch Roll (Dālián Huǒshāo)
It is a pouch-shaped crispy-skinned roll filled with different fillings, including traditional taste of pork with scallion, pork with leek and pork with fennel, etc. Reasonably priced, it is a very popular snack in Beijing. If you like pan-fried dumplings, you might also love this.
Cream Fried Cake (Nǎi Yóu Zhá Gāo)
Cream Fried Cakes are made of flour, egg, cream, white sugar and vanilla powder. The dough is made with boiling water, so cakes usually bulge into a ball shape after frying in the oil. They are scooped up when they turn golden in color and finally covered with white sugar. It is a nutritious snack.
Glutinous Rice Roll with Sweet Bean Flour (Lǘ Dǎ Gǔn)
As one of the old special snacks in Beijing, it is sweet and glutinous with a strong taste of soybean flour. The ingredients include rhubarb rice flour, sweetened bean paste, white sugar, sesame oil, sweet osmanthus and nuts. Literally, the Chinese name means a donkey rolls on the ground, which vividly describes the process of rolling the stuffed rolls in bean flour.
Cooked Beef or Sheep Tripe (Bào Dǔ)
Cooked Beef or Sheep Tripe is a famous snack in Beijing, where most of the restaurants offering it are run by Hui people. The preparation of this delicious food is very simple: firstly, wash the fresh tripe clean and cut it into strips, then cook them in boiling water. Generally, they are eaten with great relish with an array of dipping sauces including oil, sesame paste, vinegar, capsicol, preserved bean curd soup, caraway and chopped green onion.
Fried Liver (Chǎo Gān)
Fried Liver (Chǎo Gān)
This snack has a long history dating back to the Song Dynasty (960 AD - 1279 AD). It is basically made of pork liver and intestines, with a blend of garlic, bamboo shoot, celery, carrot, and potato starch solution. It is called fried liver, but it is really just like a thick soup. It is a good choice to eat for breakfast with the steamed stuffed buns.
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As a traditional folk snack, Yellow Pea Cake was introduced to the Qing Court (1644 AD - 1911 AD) and it was famous for being favored by Empress Dowager Cixi. The main ingredient being fine peas, it is a seasonal snack usually offered in spring. The pieces of cake taste very pleasant and smooth, cool and refreshing, and it is so soft that it just melts in the mouth.
Steamed Pork Dumplings (Shāo Mài)
Being different from small steamed buns, the Steamed Pork Dumplings have a unique shape with the top open, like a pomegranate. Traditionally, fillings can be mix of lean meat, radish, Chinese cabbage and fish sauce, but there are also vegetarian ones offered in some restaurants. The steamed dumplings taste delicious especially with vinegar and the minced garlic.
Steamed Rice Cakes with Sweet Stuffing (ài wō wo)
As one of the traditional local snack of Beijing, it is made of sticky rice with fillings of sesame seeds, peach kernels, shelled melon seeds, green plum and sugar. The ball-shaped white cakes taste sticky and soft, and can be found in Beijing all the year round.
Sachima (Shā Qí Mǎ)
Sachima, also spelled Shaqima, is originated from a kind of Manchu pastry, which is now regarded as one of the most famous Beijing pastries served at all seasons. The making of this snack is simple: add eggs into the flour, roll the pasta into noodles, and then fry them until they turn to a golden color; and finally, mix the cool noodles thoroughly with the syrup of white sugar, honey and cream. It should be solidified before cutting into squares.
The Seasoned Millet Porridge (Miàn Chá)
This porridge is usually made of millet or broom corn millet flour, and drizzles with diluted sesame paste and spiced salt. Although the porridge is made with those simple ingredients, it is not easy to cook it well. The cook must be patient and keep stirring the porridge carefully until it thickens. It is a very good breakfast choice in winter.