According to a survey by the Da Zhong Dian Ping website, hot pot is Beijingers' top choice and the average bill for eating out in the capital, about 50 yuan per person, is the highest of the five cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou.
The survey also shows that Shanghai folk love going to coffee shops. Pearl milk tea, which is made with flour balls and aromatic milk mixed with green or red tea, is the most popular drink in Guangzhou. In Nanjing, consumers like visiting traditional teahouses to meet friends.
The following are the website's recommendations of some of the most popular restaurants in the five major cities, offering local cuisine, buffet and hotpot:
Hai Di Lao Hotpot: It offers great service, a variety of Sichuan-styled dishes and inexpensive drinks. (Floor 7, Hunqing Building, No 109, Xidanbei Dajie, Xicheng district; 010-66174063, 66174043)
Ai Jiang Shan: Best for typical Korean BBQ, stone pot rice, seafood and seaweed. (The north gate of Si De Park, Jiangtai Xilu, Chaoyang district; 010-84569336, 84562433)
Yi Caf at Pudong Shangri-la: The walk-through design gives it a public market feel, with cuisines from China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, Middle East as well as Europe and North America. (Second Floor of Shangri-la Hotel, No 33, Fucheng Lu, Pudong New District; 021-58775372, 28286888)
Karaku: This is a famous Japanese restaurant whose specialty is Tempura. (Building 1, New World Nan Li, No. 338, Zizhong Lu, Luwan district; 021-63855777)
Lei Garden: You can find typical Cantonese snacks and dishes. (4 Floor, Yi'an Plaza, No 33, Jiansheliu Lu, Yuexiu district; 020-83633268)
Carousel: Located on the top floor of the Garden Hotel, the ambience and views are great for large gatherings as well as intimate dates. Featuring food from China and abroad. (30 Floor, Garden Hotel, No 368, Huanzhi Donglu, Yuexiu district; 020-83338989-3986)
Jin Xing: Great for Hong Kong-style hot pot, new dishes such as beef ball with cheese inside and snowflake-formed beef. Dessert is free. (First Floor, No 22, Building B, Tianlun Garden, Jianshesi Lu, Yuexiu district; 020-83601017 or 62862838)
Hong Lin: This is a buffet restaurant offering fresh seafood and different price levels to cater to different wallets. (Building 4, Zhonghuan International Plaza, No 105, Zhongshan Beilu, Gulou district; 025-83303368, 86638398)
Dou Lao Fang: Here you can find a small hot pot for each person and various sauces. (Floor 4, Golden Wheel International Plaza, No 8, Xinjiekou Hanzhong Lu, Baixia district; 025-84773007, 84773008)
Hu Bin 28: This is supposed to have the best offerings of local dishes such as tofu with crab sauce, vegetable with pork belly and fresh shrimps cooked with new Longjing tea. (First Floor of Hyatt Regency, No 28, Hubin Lu, Shangcheng district; 0571-87791234)