China

Restaurants in China

China's cuisine is amazingly complex and multi-faceted and travelers will find restaurants in China that specialize in all the various regional styles of cooking. The best restaurants in China range from some that offer white-glove service and banquets with countless courses to humble stalls that may sell only one particular broth or noodle dish. Peking duck is, of course, one of China's most famous dishes and the Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant in Beijing is one of the best places to taste the duck exactly as it should be prepared and served, in three courses. 

The Donglaishun restaurants began as a food stall in 1903, but now they are famous for their Mongolian hotpots where diners cook their own meat (traditionally, thinly sliced mutton) and vegetables in a tableside pot of broth. The China restaurants scenes isn't limited to just Chinese fare. Miichelle Garnault's M restaurants (M on the Bund in Shanghai, M on the Fringe in Hong Kong, and M Capital in Beijing) are some of the most acclaimed of the many using locally sourced ingredients in European—and Middle Eastern and North African—dishes.

Part of the Elite Concepts group, this restaurant has sister locations in Hong Kong and Kowloon. Housed in a brick mansion in the Xintiandi district, the interior has a nostalgic vibe with mid-century decorations and traditional artwork.

If you must eat a meal before you get on the plane, choose carefully as the Beijing Airport’s options are middling at best. Prik Thai is the top Asian choice. Sit and look out over the ticketing hall next to a faux gold–topped Wat temple set among potted palms and silk-shaded lamps.

Chef Paul Pairet's lively, modern French restaurant offers all-day people-watching. The staff is knowledgeable and the food delicious; try the steak and foie gras.

This leisurely coffee shop is Asia’s answer to Starbucks; sip tea, sit under slow-moving wooden fans and imagine the Repulse Bay beach scene 80 years ago.

China is a popular place for tea so it’s no surprise that teahouses abound across the country. After a flight of stairs to the second floor, this Old Shanghai establishment opens up and surrounds tea-lovers with an array of antiques, such as maps and posters from the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Americans may not happily push their bowl of Lucky Charms aside for rice porridge, but in Hong Kong congee is the breakfast of champions.

Starbucks’s local competitor—founded by a Seattle expat—can also serve a great cup o’ joe a hundred different ways. For the peckish, there’s a decent selection of pastries, scones, and cookies. Java addicts, take note: one of the two locations on Level 7 is open 24 hours.

Graffiti art covers the walls of Ireland-born chef Brian McKenna's 2010-opened restaurant/lounge, which turns out whimsical, Chinese-inflected creations (chicken wontons with avocado-and-lime dip; raspberry-and-herb-infused chocolate pop tarts).

Sample local specialties include stuffed-beggar’s chicken and fatty dongpo pork at the great Louwailou restaurant.

On Sunday mornings, young expat families brunch on the terrace of M on the Bund, Shanghai’s first fine-dining Western-style restaurant, framed against the pink TV tower and other kitschy buildings of Pudong across the Huangpu River.

Even if you arrive well before the 10 a.m. opening, the line will already stretch out the door. Persevere: it leads to the city’s lightest barbecued-pork buns and most supple rice-flour rolls.

With its burnished red tables, hanging lanterns, converted-cyclo chairs, and silk-clad waitresses, Nuage is a little slice of old Saigon in downtown Beijing.