It’s not hard to find good food in the city centre, but for tasty, home-cooked treats head out to the mountains around Yanqing; there you’ll find Yuhuangmiao, which is famed for its water-tofu. The village is functional, but the area’s clean water makes any 30RMB meal a treat, and the slopes of the nearby hills will give you time to walk it off. Afterwards, move on to the far more pretty Liugou, in which almost every building seems to serve up the village’s trademark ‘tofu feasts’.
The quality is pretty level from place to place, but we found the staff at ‘Restaurant Number 24’ (at the far end of the white buildings, as you enter the village; the numbering ‘system’ is disorganised) to be especially friendly, and their 25-dish feast (featuring everything from quail’s eggs to fried dough as side dishes) was fearsomely filling, costing just 100RMB for a table of up to three, or 26RMB per head for four or more.
You’ll find that the newer part of Liugou – those white buildings at the entrance – is a little bit sterile, so head into the older half of the village ( 柳沟的古城区) to find quaint housing, yet more mini-restaurants, a seemingly endless supply of genial donkeys and a country lane that winds off into the scenic hills behind the village.
Look out for The courtyard – its gate is topped with a Communist star – that is home to a small farm’s worth of (extremely noisy) animals.
Getting there Skip straight to Liugou: take the 919 bus from Deshengmen for 11 stops, transferring at Shiheying to buses seven or eight; after 14 stops, alight at Liugou’s entrance. This should take around four and a half hours.