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Fangshan Imperial Restaurant

Fangshan Imperial Restaurant

  Fangshan is a well-known restaurant in Beijing, with an 80 year old history of serving Chinese imperial cuisine.
When Beihai Park opened in 1925, four chefs (Zhao Renzhai, Sun Shaoran, Wang Yushan and Zhao Chengshou) who had formerly cooked for the Qing Emperors opened the Fangshan Teahouse on the north bank of Beihai Park, serving imperial cuisine as well as a variety of local delicacies and snacks. The name Fangshan relates to the cooking techniques from the royal court. It is famous for such dishes as stir-fried fish, stir-fried pork fillet, pea flour cake, French bean rolls, steamed millet and sesame cake with minced pork, and other wonderful dishes which showcase the best of imperial cuisine.

In 1955, the privately-run Fangshan Teahouse was nationalized and given the name Fangshan Imperial Restaurant. In 1959, it was moved from its original location to Qiongdao, which includes Yilan Hall, Daoning Hall and other structures within an ancient architectural complex originally built in the Qianlong Period. The restaurant is built in traditional Chinese style, with lovely water and mountain views, and offers a unique dining experience. Between 1966 and 1977 the restaurant was closed to the public, following the closure of Beihai Park. During this period it became an important meeting place for party and state leaders, where they received foreign guests and handled national affairs. In 1978, it re-opened to the public, following the reopening of Beihai Park.

Fangshan Imperial Restaurant

There are three courtyards in Fangshan Imperial Restaurant with 11 dining rooms, and it can accommodate up to 300 people.

The décor is based on the patterns of dragon and phoenix, and the curtains, tablecloths, napkin and chairs are all in imperial yellow. Tableware reflects the porcelains and silverware of the Qing Dynasty, each carved with the four Chinese characters wan shou wu jiang (literally means longevity) and the rooms are furnished in the style of the glorious bygone past of the Qing Dynasty.

Over the past decades, Fangshan Imperial Restaurant has maintained its original royal taste. The staff have made several visits to the Palace Museum to research imperial recipes and discovered hundreds of recipes that had their origins in the Qianlong and Guangxu Periods. Some are unique, including recipes cooked with shark fin, abalone, cubilose (an ingredient of bird’s nest soup), prawn and carp, and sesame cake with minced pork, along with marvelous desserts. The meal that best represents the imperial cuisine is undoubtedly the Manchu Han Imperial Feast.
Fangshan Imperial Restaurant is known for its high standards and helpful service. As it used to be associated with the royal family, there is always a beautiful story behind the names of the dishes. The location in the royal garden, its pavilions, terraces, towers and corridors are decorated with plaques that also have much to tell. While you are enjoying your meal, the waiters can share some of the stories with you.  It’s delightful to listen to the stories whilst sampling the delicious food.

Fangshan Imperial Restaurant

The restaurant hosts state banquets and receives important figures on a regular basis.  Visitors have included many past and present heads of government, world leaders from many countries and international organizations and other distinguished guests.

Fangshan Restaurant has won numerous awards, such as the Beijing Quality Management Award from the Ministry of Internal Trade, The Zijin Cup for the Best Corporation awarded by Beijing Tourist Administration (for five consecutive years), the Capital Ethical Progress Award (for fifteen consecutive years), Five-star Restaurant and China Top-class Hotel by the Beijing Tourism Bureau and the Municipal Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau, the Best Chinese-style Restaurant by the Municipal Bureau of Commerce. The name “Fangshan” was recognized as a Famous Trademark by Beijing Trademark Association. It was listed as one of “Beijing’s 100 Restaurants Worth Visiting”, and the Most Influential Benchmark Restaurant in Beijing. It was accredited as a Food Safety Model Restaurant by Beijing Xicheng District Food Safety Association, qualified for the ISO9000 quality management system and HACCP food safety system.

Fangshan Imperial Restaurant

Today, Fangshan Imperial Restaurant enjoys increasing popularity both at home and abroad. Fangshan chefs have gone more than 52 times to countries such as the United States, Japan, Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia to demonstrate their cooking techniques.

In October, 2009, the cooking techniques of Fangshan Imperial Restaurant were listed as intangible cultural heritage by the Municipal Government of Beijing.