Generally speaking, there are 11 well-known brands of traditional snack in Beijing and they have all been famous for nearly 600 years, usually since the first generation of the family that made them. Each of these brands of snack belongs to a family and has been run by said family across 3 to 6 generations.
Cha Tang is essentially made by adding hot water to fried flour. The fried flour is usually mixed with chestnut powder or lotus root powder, and instead of using sugar you can substitute it with osmanthus sugar.
Famous brand of fried-flour tea: Chatang Li
Rolling Donkeys (Lü Da Gun)
Rolling Donkeys are glutinous rice rolls that are mixed with sweet red beans and skinned using soybean flour.
Golden Pea Cake (Wan Dou Huang)
This special type of cake is made from white peas, which are mixed with sugar and osmanthus. It is smooth, cool and has a delightfully fresh taste.
Stuffed Sweet Rice Cake (Ai Wo Wo)
These cakes are made with glutinous rice and can contain a variety of different fillings, such as sesame seeds, peach kernels, and shelled melon seeds.
Bean Rolls (Yun Dou Juan)
These are made using bean flour and are filled with sweet red bean paste.
Famous brand that produces rolling donkeys, yellow pea cake, steamed rice cakes with sweet mixed-fillings and bean rolls: Niangao Qian
Fried Pouch Roll (Dalian Huo Shao)
This is a pouch-shaped roll with crispy skin and it is usually filled with traditional Chinese dumpling fillings such as leek and pork.
Famous brand of fried-pouch roll: Dalian Huoshao
Boiled Mutton (Bai Shui Yang Tou)
To make this snack, the sheep’s head is boiled in water only, in order to maintain the mutton’s natural flavour. Salt is sprinkled on the mutton before it is served.
Famous brand of boiled mutton: Yangtou Ma
Savoury Tofu Pudding (Dou Fu Nao)
It is made using very soft tofu and served with a paste that is usually made from a mixture of a plant called the Long Yellow Day Lily (Hemerocallis citrina), a fungus called the Wood Ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula-judae), other types of mushroom and eggs.
Famous brand of savory tofu pudding: Doufunao Bai
Yogurt (Nai Lao)
This yogurt recipe is special because it follows the Mongolian way of making yogurt, and usually has raisins and melon seeds added to it.
Famous brand of yogurt: Nailao Wei
Boiled Cow Stomach
In this dish, the slices of stomach taste tender and are usually served with a bowl of sesame seed paste.
Famous brand of boiled cow stomach: Baodu Feng
Fried Flour Lumps with Vegetables (Chao Ge Da)
After being boiled in water, the lumps of flour are fried with beef, mutton pieces and vegetable slices.
Famous brand of fried flour lumps with vegetables: En Yuan Ju
Stewed Mutton and Beef (Jiang Yang Rou, Jiang Niu Rou)
The meat is boiled for six or seven hours and the delicious, unique flavour is mainly thanks to its seasoning, which is a secret recipe made using several herbs.
Famous brand of stewed mutton and beef: Yue Sheng Zhai
Baked Wheat Cake with Stewed Pork and Pig Offal (Lü Zhu Huo Shao)
This snack is really a challenge to try, yet it is probably the most common and popular snack in Beijing. To make this dish, pork and some pig offal are stewed in a special soup that contains several different herbs.
Famous brand of baked wheaten cake with stewed pork and pig offal: Xiao Chang Chen
Tang Hu Lu
The original recipe uses Chinese hawthorn to form small balls, which are covered in sugar syrup, like a small toffee apple. Now, as well as Chinese hawthorn, various fruits can also be used.
Famous brand of tang hu lu: Tanghulu Guo
Other famous Beijing traditional snacks:
The best place to try all of these traditional snacks is Jiu Men Xiao Chi, which is located in Xiaoyou Hutong, on Houhai’s northern fringe.