Mandarin Cuisine is the cuisine of Beijing and is also knows as Beijing cuisine (Chinese: 北京菜; pinyin: Běijīng cài), and also known as Jing cuisine (Chinese: 京菜; pinyin: jīng cài; literally: “cuisine of the capital”) . As Beijing has been the capital of China for centuries, its cuisine is influenced by culinary traditions from all over China, but the style that has the greatest influence on Beijing cuisine is that of the eastern coastal province of Shandong. We enjoyed Shandong, or Mandarin cuisine, at Red Tiger Dumpling House in Stony Brook, NY.
Since Beijing has been the Chinese capital city for centuries, its cuisine was influenced by people from all over China. The Emperor’s Kitchen (御膳房 yùshànfáng) was a term referring to the cooking places inside of the Forbidden City, Beijing where thousands of cooks from the different parts of China showed their best cooking skills to please royal families and officials.
Therefore, it is at times rather difficult to determine the actual origin of a dish as the term “Mandarin” is generalized and refers not only to Beijing, but other provinces as well. Mandarin food is heavily influenced by other provinces’ food.
Mandarin cuisine is more beef and less seafood. They eat more wheat products like noodle and steam flour based products. Mandarin noodles tend to be spicier and not as heavy as those found in southern provinces.
Mandarin cuisine is wheat-based and consists of a variety of dumplings, breads, noodles, vegetable dishes, soups, tofu (soybean curd), and fish. The dishes are seasoned with vinegar and garlic and they are fried, stewed or braised. It uses salt to highlight the natural flavors of northern ingredients. You also will see a focus on wheat-based foods used as the cornerstone that meals are built around. Noodles and dumplings are an example of those delicious wheat-based Northern Chinese menu items. Flavors are pure and direct, often emphasized with the saltiness of soy sauce.
Notable dishes and street foods in Beijing cuisine
- Peking Duck – A dish made up of roast duck and strips of crispy duck skin wrapped in thin pancakes. (Peking was the name of Beijing, the capital of China, until after the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s. This traditional recipe is known in the United States as “Peking duck.”)
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Sweet and Sour Spareribs
- Moo Shu Pork
- Beggar’s Chicken – But, the dish’s name literally means “rich chicken” or “wealthy chicken”.
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)