Some Chinese people call Haidian District's Wudaokou neighborhood “the center of the universe.” Known for its top universities, internet startups and young crowds, Wudaokou is a congregation point for people from all over China. Naturally, cuisines from across the country have found a base in this cultural hotspot, serving anyone who misses their hometown flavors, or anyone who doesn't have time to pop over to Kashgar for a bite.
The Chinese burger is a traditional staple in Shaanxi Province cuisine. In 2014, some IT workers from Shaanxi felt that the people of Wudaokou ought to taste their beloved hometown food. They started churning out the burgers, taking great care to preserve the burgers' traditional taste. Before long, people were lined up, waiting to enjoy the Shaanxi sandwich.
If you're looking for Cantonese fare, Ri Chang Restaurant serves it up right. Basics like sweet and sour pork are a safe bet, while frog legs or the paper-wrapped chicken wings are also solid standbys. The restaurant is large, but diners are nonetheless advised to either book ahead or show up early; one hour line ups aren't uncommon.
Located within BLCU, Dong Ni Ya Muslim Restaurant is popular with the international students. The Xinjiang décor helps diners to imagine China's distant corners. The shish kebabs are highly recommended (羊肉串；Yang rou Chuan), as are the big plate chicken(大盘鸡; Da pan ji) and flatbreads. The joint does get busy, so be forewarned that when it does, service can be a tad slow.
This restaurant's name translates to “river snail rice noodles,” a local dish from Guangxi Province. Guangxi cuisine’s reputation is often overshadowed by Cantonese cuisine, however it certainly has its own specialties and loyal fans. This Wudaokou restaurant is a shining light for the Guangxi folks who get the homesick munchies.
For Zhejiang cuisine in Wudaokou, Zui Ai is your best bet. The highly rated restaurant gets kudos for its dongpo braised pork (东坡肉), longjing shrimp (龙井虾仁; long jing xia ren), and glutinous rice lotus root(糯米藕; nuo mi ou).
A super hot restaurant with super hot cuisine, Spice Spirit is a popular chain of upscale Sichuan restaurants. Known for their quality and authenticity, dishes at Spice Spirit make liberal use of the Sichuan pepper corns which numb your mouth like a trip to the dentist, only better. If you're not a fan of spicy food, you'll need to choose your meal carefully, as the chefs don't pull punches when it comes to chili heat.
Guizhou food is a tad milder than its neighboring province of Shaanxi, focusing more on tart flavors that are designed to go well with the local liquor baijiu. Dry pot dishes using chicken, duck, fish or frogs are popular for a reason.
Mei Ming Er Sheng Jian translates to “no name pan fried buns,” but indeed the restaurant has made quite a name for itself. Lumps of soft dough are coated with sesame and onions and filled with piping hot, thick soup. This restaurant has deservedly grown into a very popular chain in Beijing and beyond.
Hunan cuisine is known for its heat, but with none of the numbing mala flavors prominent in Sichuan dishes. Hunan food often comes drowning in a sea of chili peppers, but the peppers themselves are not meant to be consumed. Hongshaorou (red braised pork) is the most popular dish at this restaurant, especially for customers who recognize that the dish was a favorite of one slightly controversial Chinese politician.
It's refreshing to know that amidst so many restaurants from around China and the world, that Wudaokou still has decent Roast Peking Duck. The duck is one of the Sheng Yong Xing Fan Zhuang's signature dishes, though they do serve up a number of traditional local foods in their upscale style. Sure, there are plenty of restaurants selling Beijing fare in Wudaokou, but this one is about as good as it gets.