Traditional restaurant gives locals a taste of the hutong

By Ian Callison and Kyle Hodges ( ) Updated: 2016-07-18 14:56:57

Situated in Ya' er Hutong, just a few streets over from busy Houhai Lake, Liji restaurant attracts hordes of residents seeking a traditional Beijing meal.

In the morning, Liji’s dumpling stall is so busy that lines stretch around the block, and the Chinese Muslim-style restaurant is patronized throughout the day.

Liji opened 10 years ago, specializing in traditional Beijing-style foods. It has since opened up four chain stores in Ya’er hutong and has become a cornerstone of the community.

Guo Jun, the restaurant manager, said that boiled lamb tripe is the restaurant’s signature dish, but they offer a wide array of food commonly found in a residential hutong.

Over the years, as Ya’er Hutong and surrounding hutong neighborhoods underwent demolition, reconstruction and modernization, many residents moved out of the area. Liji provides those former residents the opportunity to re-experience hutong culture through food, even if they aren’t residing in the hutong any longer.

"They often come back here for a traditional Beijing breakfast. Now we have four chain stores at Ya’er Hutong," Guo said.

As the pressure to change continues to weigh down on the hutong, Guo emphasized the importance of maintaining traditional restaurants and shops to preserve the spirit of the hutong.

Camera: Ian Callison & Kyle Hodges (intern)

Reporters: Ian Callison & Kyle Hodges (intern)

Editor: Kyle Hodges (intern)

Subtitles: Xiong Fangzhou (intern)

Translator: Wang Xin (intern)

Executive producer: Chen Lin

Traditional restaurant gives locals a taste of the hutong

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