Mǎn Fú Lóu

Mongolian in Forbidden City & Dōngchéng Central

This grand-looking but inexpensive 20-year-old hotpot restaurant serves up Mongolian hotpot – the less spicy, mutton-based variety which owes its origins to a time, centuries ago, when Mongolia and China were almost one and the same. Here each diner gets their own, mini, conical brass pot in which to boil their food. Choose the clear broth (qīng tāng; 清汤; ¥12), which isn't spicy, then pick portions of raw ingredients from the menu (in English and with photos).

Each person should also order a small bowl of sesame-paste dipping sauce (小料; xiǎo liào), which you dip your cooked food into before eating it. There should be a pot of chilli oil (辣椒油; làjiāo yóu) on your table (if not, ask for it), which can be mixed into the sesame paste to spice things up a bit. It also does great shāobǐng (sesame-seed buns) stuffed with meat, as well as hand-pulled noodles.