Grandma's

Zhejiang in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

Handy for shoppers on Wangfujing Dajie, but worth making the trip to from any part of the city, the Běijīng branch of this hugely successful Hángzhōu chain is a big hit in the capital. It's excellent value and is clean and bright, with comfy booth seating, so very popular with families. The menu is in English, although you might need a magnifying glass to read it.

Dishes we heartily recommend include Grandma's Pork (a juicy, braised pork dish, known in Hángzhōu as Dōngpō ròu; 东坡肉), tea-flavoured chicken (cooked with Hángzhōu's famous Lóngjǐng green tea), potatoes on a sizzling iron plate, the grilled eggplant and the organic cauliflower. But anything with a red thumbs-up icon next to it on the menu is a safe bet.

This place is so popular you can expect to wait an hour on midweek evenings; two hours at weekends. Lunchtimes are less busy. You can't reserve in advance; you have to come to the entrance and take a ticket (like in a bank). As you do so, you need to enter your details on the touch screen. In the first box, enter your mobile telephone number. In the second box, enter the number of people there are in your group. Then click on the left-hand red button that reads: 领号 (meaning, receive a number), and take your ticket. Armed with your mobile number, the restaurant will then text you about five minutes before your table is ready. If you don't have a local phone, you'll have to keep coming back to check what number they're up to.


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