Old Ma's Shaomai

in Drum Tower & Dongcheng North

Sample authentic Inner Mongolia–style shāomài – papery dumplings filled with mutton, beef or veggies and steamed to tasty perfection – at this simple eatery. One steamer (eight dumplings) per person is a feast. Cold dishes are a treat here, too; try the nèiméng liángcài (内蒙凉菜), a 'salad' of veggies, peanuts and rice noodles in dark vinegar and sesame oil.

Tea is free, and comes in the form of zhuān chá (砖茶), literally 'compressed tea', pressed bricks of black tea leaves traditionally favoured by folk north of the Great Wall for their rugged portability.