While exploring Beijing by bicycle today, we came across a restaurant we may not otherwise have found. Lǎo Běijīng Jiācháng Jiǎozi (老北京家常饺子）is located right near the popular Hongqiao Market, but set apart from other stores by an overpass. The name, which translates to Old Beijing Family Dumplings, jumped out at me as we rode by as a good place for a hearty dinner after we explored the Temple of Heaven.
We stopped by around nightfall. From a quick glance at the menu, it was obvious that the specialty was hand-made shuǐ jiǎo 水饺, or boiled dumplings. We asked for an order of lamb shuǐ jiǎo, thinking that if one weren't enough we could just get another order. Turned out we were right to hold off, since one order consisted of about 12 or 14 golf-ball sized dumplings, enough for two people to share and still be full.
The dumplings' skin was the soft and thick type that can only be rolled by hand. The lamb and onion filling was flavorful, especially with a few drops of chilli sauce. The dumplings also came with a broth that seemed like congee, without any bits of rice or seasonings. We figured out what it was for after Jacob accidentally swallowed one too many bits of chilli: the broth is a great neutralizer for your tongue.
Another mental note: go back and try their hand-made noodles, shrimp-egg-chive dumplings, and zucchini-fennel-cabbage dumplings.
Lǎo Běijing Jiācháng Jiǎozi 老北京家常饺子
Chongwenmenwai Dajie, just north of Hongqiao Market
Chongwen District, Beijing