Since opening in 1946, Jubaoyuan has had a strong reputation among hotpot lovers in Beijing, who flock here from all corners of the city to experience its heat. Famed for its halal produce and sizzling brass cauldrons, Jubaoyuan’s hotpot is literally spitting as it arrives at your table, ready for ‘lamb-swishing’ (shuan yangrou), as Beijing hotpot is sometimes called. Don’t be surprised if you end up wearing less than you came with, because, trust us, it’s about to get hot in here.
All the classics you would expect from traditional hotpot are on the menu (Chinese only), with a few twists and turns. To experience the real deal, go for one of the coal-heated cauldrons known as tan guo (炭锅) and order the hand-carved fresh lamb (shou qie yang rou; 手切羊肉), which is leaner than at most restaurants and offers a thicker bite than the usual machine-sliced meat. But the real treat for first-timers (and one reason why Beijingers are hopping-mad for Jubaoyuan) is the restaurant’s version of the old Beijing pastry, shaobing.
While it may look like all the other shaobings around town, one bite will change your perception. Inside, a savoury concoction of cumin and exotic spices layered deep inside the dough makes Jubaoyuan’s bing one of the most delectable snacks in town.
The restaurant always has a wait around meal times, so grab a ticket and take a stroll around the area to kill some time. Wander to the side of the same building on Niujiesitiao to see the big brass pots being fired up with coal.
Dinner for two from around 120RMB.