Lost Plate’s formula of visits to authentic local restaurants, private tuk tuk transportation and unlimited beer for parents has been a huge success in Chengdu and Xi’an, and, although new to the capital, the group’s Beijing tours have already proven to be quite the hit. Led by informative local guides, their dinner tour makes five stops at hidden hutong eateries, including a Beijing barbecue joint, a cosy family noodle restaurant and a traditional dessert diner, before finishing with a round of drinks at a local brewery. Tours run daily (except Mondays and Thursdays) for 450RMB per person. Book ahead at lostplate.com.
UnTour - Best for breakfast tours
UnTour are just the bunch to help you start the day the old Beijing way with their Hutong Breakfast Tour, a four-stop eating expedition taking in more than ten different morning snacks, including silky tofu and Chinese-style crêpes (jian bing). Their guides take you through Beijing’s winding hutongs to places you might not find on your own. Four seated stops and breaks with coffee, tea, water and soft drinks are included so little legs can recharge. This tour is also vegetarian-friendly. Untour’s Hutong Breakfast tour runs from 8-11am (350RMB per person). Visit untourfoodtours.com.
The Hutong - Best for tea
There are plenty of ways to learn about China’s rich and distinguished tea culture here in Beijing, among them the notorious tea scam, but for a safer and more consensual experience, The Hutong’s Maliandao
Tea City tour is a proven palate-pleaser. Sampling a whole host of green, Pu’er, Oolong, herbal and fermented teas, participants hear from shopkeepers, experts and connoisseurs for a crash-course in
Chinese leafy refreshment. Tours run every other Sunday for 300RMB per person (260RMB for members),
including lunch. Visit thehutong.com for details.
Hias Gourmet - Best overview
Hias Gourmet’s half-day Drink+Eat+See tour encompasses all there is to eat and drink in Beijing! Begin the tour with a Chinese tea tasting class with a tea master, then set off down dusty old alleyways on their Hidden Beijing hutong walking tour. Discover hidden shops and eateries and stop off to sample imperial treats, stinky tofu and donkey burgers; mum and dad can even wet their whistles with China’s national spirit, baijiu. Hias
promises to take its patrons away from popular tourist areas and instead immerse them into local life. Tours run every Tuesday and Friday (110USD per person). For more information, go to hiasgourmet.com.