The traditional Chinese festival Dongzhi, or midwinter in English, falls on this Saturday. Chinese people normally eat dumplings to mark this occasion. The reason why they eat dumplings is to protect their ears from getting frostbitten.
As the story goes, in ancient China there was once a kind doctor who helped local people free of charge. One winter he saw that some local people got frostbite on their ears. So he collected some traditional Chinese medicine, including mutton, pepper and other ingredients, and boiled them in water. Then he made the boiled medicine into snacks, which took the shape of dumplings. He distributed the snacks to the local people together with a bowl of hot soup. They ate the medicine and were cured of frostbite. From then on eating dumplings on Dongzhi became a Chinese custom. So let's go and eat dumplings on Dongzhi in China.
*Laobian Dumplings Eatery
With 200 years of history, Laobian Dumplings Eatery is one of the few remaining national eateries. Recommended dumplings are sanxian (leek, fresh pork and dried small shrimps) dumplings, fennel dumplings and zucchini dumplings. Laobian also offers vegetarian dumplings. Steamed dumplings, compared to those typically boiled, are also worth a try.
Apart from dumplings Laobian also features various fried dishes and its morning snacks of stuffed buns are popular among those in the nearby neighborhood.
Location: No. 179, Beitucheng Xilu, Haidian District
*Shunyifu Dumplings Eatery
Hiding in a lane off Wangfujing Street, Shunyifu Dumplings Eatery is a nice spot for those who shop around the area. There is a wide range of dumplings here, including shrimp, leek and eggs, western celery and water chestnut in addition to the commonly found pork and leek, pork and fennel as well as zucchini and eggs.
Clay pot with meatballs here is also a nice dish. The soup is clear and it tastes pretty good though containing only a few meatballs. For cold dishes, mustard fungus tops the list, while spiced beef comes a close second. Shunyifu also features a traditional Chinese treatcalled labasuan, or preserved garlic which is often eaten with dumplings.
Location: No. 36-3, Ganyu Hutong, Dongcheng District
*Taiping Dumplings Eatery
Located near Beijing Normal University, Taiping Dumplings Eatery has becomes a hangout for many overseas students.
The dumplings varieties here include leek and eggs, beef and carrots, and leek and pork. The foreigners' other favorite dishes here include gongbao jiding (spicy chicken cubes, peanuts and onion). Candy floss is a great dessert whileclay pot cabbage and beancurd is a nice treat during the cold winter.
Location: 50 meters north of Beishida Eastern Gate, No.19 Xinjiekou Waidajie, Xicheng District