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Beijing cuisine is an interesting mixture of the lavish, refined food of the imperial court and the peasant food of the countryside. It is rich and meaty. Historically, during the cold months, vegetables were a luxury and there was little else besides Tientsin cabbage to eat. Pickled vegetables and preserved meats appeared when fresh ingredients were scarce. Food was strongly flavored, and garlic, ginger and small leeks were used extensively. Vinegar from Shanxi Province has always been highly regarded and often splashed into dishes or used as a dipping sauce.
Wheat finds its way into steamed and fried breads, dumplings, and noodles. Many restaurants in the capital demonstrate the art of noodle making. Noodles, called biang biang mien, appear, as if by magic, from a lump of dough.
The most famous restaurant dish in Beijing is Peking Duck (Beijing Roast Duck). The diner wraps slivers of crisp skin in little pancakes with shreds of cucumber, spring onions and a dab of plum sauce.
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