Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

Book now Give as a gift  US $65/adult
  • Max 8 people  Lama Temple  ~3 hours 8am 
    in Dongcheng District   (Thursdays and Sundays)

Quick bite: We’ll meander through some of Beijing’s oldest original hutongs – not the rebuilt or crowded areas filled with tourists – and eat our way through China’s 5,000 years of culinary history.

A stroll through Beijing’s hutongs are recommended to every visitor to the capital, but locals know that “there are as many hutongs as there are hairs on an ox” around the city. The best way to get to know the most scenic twisting backstreets that locals call home is by eating your way through them, especially at the pop-up breakfast stalls that disappear after the morning rush hour.

The best way to get to know the most scenic twisting backstreets that locals call home is by eating your way through them, especially at the pop-up breakfast stalls that disappear after the morning rush hour.

Over the course of three hours, we’ll meander through some of Beijing’s oldest original hutongs – not the rebuilt or crowded areas filled with tourists. As we eat our way through China’s 5,000 years of culinary history, we’ll try new foods and gain an appreciation for the masters making these handmade treats. We’ll start with silken tofu pudding, freshly-made and topped with savory toppings – like chive flowers – that you won’t see outside of China. Next up, we’ll try brown sugar donuts from a halal stall, then a flurry of breakfast treats at a hole-in-the-wall that serves an offal soup in the evenings. Don’t worry – for breakfast, they steer clear of innards, offering some of the city’s best-sized baozi (steamed buns), deep-fried crullers and freshly made sweet soymilk. We’ll sample an intense fermented mung bean milk, a Beijing elixir that elderly locals swear by, and traditional jarred yogurt you can only find within the capital’s city limits. After a short coffee break, we’ll watch a skilled hawker make jianbing (Chinese crepe) to order, then pop into a Chinese brandy shop for a quick tasting and tutorial on the delicious beverage. Finally, we’ll end on a sweet note with a palate-cleansing almond tofu or tea-flavored ice cream, depending on the season.

This experience is stroller-friendly, but we will have to leave the strollers outside at some of the smaller stops.

Our walks in Beijing were developed by Culinary Backstreets and our partner in China, UnTour.

Fee includes everything consumed on the walk.  Some special features:

Suitable for vegetarians Children welcome
Cannot accommodate a gluten-free diet Terrain fairly flat/ Stroller – friendly
Vegan substitutions available at only some stops  

How long are the Beijing culinary tours?

Culinary tours last approximately 3 hours, with minimal walking between sampling spots.

How much do culinary tours cost & when do they run?

Our culinary walk costs US$55 inclusive of all tastings stops and non-alcoholic beverages. With public tours scheduled almost every day of the week, there is sure to be one that fits your schedule.

How many people are generally on your culinary tours?

Our maximum capacity is 8-10 people for most of our walks. If your group is larger, send us an email at and we’ll work to accommodate your whole party.

What types of places do you visit?

From jam-packed hole-in-the-wall noodle joints to queue-worthy street stalls, we lead you through a culinary world that is nearly impossible to navigate without a Mandarin speaking guide at your side. Your bilingual, native-English speaking guide is on hand to help translate, advise and answer any questions you have about life in China – and they’ll also fill you in on Chinese food traditions, local history and make recommendations for your time in Beijing.

Is the food in China safe?

We only work with trusted vendors whom we’ve been frequenting for years. These stops are our absolute favorite places to eat – the same places we take our family and friends.

Is this activity suitable for vegetarians?   This activity is very vegetarian friendly.

What if I have allergies?  Nut and shellfish allergies have not been a problem in the past, however we cannot guarantee that the utensils and other cooking tools have not touched any of the food tour ingredients. Please bring your epi pen or other meds to the tour if you choose to participate.  Please note on most tours we make a stop to a wet market that showcases live and butchered animals in various states of food prep

Are your walks gluten-free?  We are not able to make substitutions for those with celiacs disease as soy sauce is very prevalent in our tour stops.

What languages are available for the tours?

All of our public weekly tours are held in English. If you have a special request for a private tour, please send us a note to and we will do our best to accommodate.

What type of payment do you accept?

Once you have selected an available walk route and date, you will be directed to pay the fee or deposit for the walk. If you are registering for a walk that requires approval, your reservation request will need to be approved by an administrator before it is finalized and your card will not be charged until the walk is approved.

Our credit card processor, Stripe, is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1, the most stringent level of certification. None of your sensitive data ever hits Culinary Backstreets servers. It is all captured, processed, and housed on Stripes servers. Our booking system, Bookeo, also meets both Daily PCI Security Scanning and Security Verified Requirements.

Chao Ma Doufu: Breakfast in Old Beijing

Chao ma doufu (stir-fried tofu) is among the numerous Chinese breakfast favorites we’ll sample on our morning breakfast tour in old Beijing. Breakfast in Beijing […]

Jianbing: Breakfast Crepes in Beijing

Jianbing are Beijing’s ubiquitous breakfast crepes, perhaps the city’s most popular morning snack. It’s available with a dazzling variety of toppings, and prominently featured in […]

Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu

Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu was locally famous in Beijing for years, then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew turned the sprawling dumpling house into a […]

Boiling Hot Pot in Beijing

Hot pot is a Chinese favorite and among the culinary treats waiting to be enjoyed on our Beijing dinner walk. Queens: A Street Food Paradise […]

Breakfast in Beijing

Douhua, a tofu pudding, is a breakfast staple in Beijing, and among the many morning treats that one may enjoy on our Breakfast in Beijing’s […]

Hotpots and Hutongs: Backstreets Dinner in Old Beijing

Quick bite: In Lao Beijing (“Old Beijing”), it’s best to get off the busy thoroughfares and into the hutong (alleyways) to explore the best food […]

Rise and Dine: Breakfast in Beijing’s Backstreets

Untitled-34Yet Shanghai food is a good baby step toward eating in the nearby provinces. Take the most famous Shanghai export, soup dumplings called xiao long bao, comfort food even for nonlovers of Chinese cuisine.  Read more

Untitled-46A foodie’s dream, their tours—which invite guests to gorge themselves on traditional street foods from breakfast bites to hearty dumplings—give visitors an unforgettable taste of Shanghai’s culinary underbelly. Read more

Untitled-47China’s Best Food Blogs: Culinary Backstreets Join this food tour group as they show you all the hidden gems and best kept secrets of Shanghai’s food scene. They offer half-day culinary tours of the city, and write about local cuisine for Culinary Backstreets, the global guide to local eats. Read more

facebook-social-symbol  instagram-social-outlined-logo  twitter-logo-silhouette  e-mail-envelope

Book this Walk

Give as a gift