Beijing’s 10 weirdest restaurants

Beijing’s 10 weirdest restaurants

Carving a niche is one thing, but are these bizarre eateries simply too strange to stomach?

Pressure affects people in different ways. Soldiers become "shell-shocked.” Politicians “crack.” 

Restaurateurs, on the other hand, forget the failsafe formula of good food, value and service, and start to think that novelty place mats are a neat idea.

In a city with 40,000 restaurants fighting for customers, it’s no wonder these Beijing eateries are acting a little odd.

1. House of Poo Poo

House of Poo“Poo funny mud” is really just mash potato, silly.
A kindergarten “poo-scape” of smiley-faced turds, this bathroom-tiled restaurant is a daft tribute to the sit-down legacy of Thomas Crapper. Guests perch on toilets topped with Winnie the Pooh warmers (coincidence?), tucking into squidgy dishes like “poo funny mud” (mashed potato, pictured) and beef curries that float in table-top commodes. If it all gets too much, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom -- it’s quite ordinary.

House of Poo Poo (便便满屋饭堂)
Average price: RMB 25-50
Opening hours: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 91 Dianmen Outer Street, Xicheng District (西城区地安门外大街91号), Tel. +86 (010) 8403 5296


2. Friends Cafe

Friends CafeOwner Du Xin has the Gunther look down.
Always stuck in second gear? Seek out this eerily precise replica of TV show "Friends’" Central Perk for big cups of Joe, chocolate muffins, hot dogs and endless re-runs. A giddy student crowd fights over the famous couch, and takes turns strumming “Smelly Cat” on guitar. Fanatical owner Du Xin confesses to studying “millions of pictures online to get it right.” Yes, he dresses like Gunther.

Friends Café (老友记主题店)
Average Price: RMB 20 – 50
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: Suite 0616, Building A, Chaowai SOHO, 6 Chaoyangmen Outer Street, Chaoyang District (朝外大街乙6号朝外SOHOA座0616室), Tel. +86 186 0119 1315


3. Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant

Grandma’s Rabbit Head RestaurantIf Frank Miller did Watership Down.
This packed Sichuan restaurant is really turning heads with its Chengdu signature. Skinned, braised rabbit heads, to be precise. Select a sauce (Sichuan peppercorn or five-spice), and don the gloves and apron provided for a lagomorph lobotomy. After you’ve prized open the jaw to get at the surprisingly long, chewy tongue, you’ll need more muscle to crack the skull and pull out the little brain. Looks ghastly, tastes good. Honest.

Grandma’s Rabbit Head Restaurant (双流老妈兔头)
Average price: 50-80 RMB (rabbit heads 8 RMB each)
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - midnight
Address: 48 East Third Ring Road (south of Shuangjing Subway Exit C), Chaoyang District, (朝阳区东三环南路48号(地铁双井站C口南), Tel. +86 (010) 6540 5858


4. Red Classics Restaurant

Red Classics RestraurantHe’s behind you!
Revel in a bygone slice of PRC history at this theater restaurant decked out with Mao portraits, revolutionary slogans and a life-sized red tractor smashing through the wall. Waitresses in green overalls and pig-tails dish up the Helmsman’s beloved pork belly in portions that would make a Red Guard blush, as actors belt out “The East is Red” to drunken groups of flag-waving petty bourgeoisie.

Red Classics Restaurant (红色经典主题餐厅)
Average price: 40-70 RMB
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 9.30 p.m. (show begins at 7:20pm nightly)
Address: 66 Beishang Po, Qinglong Bridge, Xiangshan Road, Haidian District (海淀区香山路青龙桥北上坡66号), Tel. +86 (010) 6287 2185


5. Trojan Fairy

For adulterers and paparazzi-shy celebs, this pitch-black restaurant is the place not to be seen (though before diners plan anything too naughty, be warned: the waiters wear night-vision goggles). Dark restaurants are nothing new, but online gamers have adopted Trojan Fairy for live-action “Farmville” antics, where diners compete by swiping food from each other’s plates. Choose from three peculiar part-Japanese, part-Western set menus to join the fun.

Trojan Fairy (木马童话黑暗餐厅)
Average price: RMB 200
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 8th Floor, Hunsha Dalou, 109 Xidan North Street, Xicheng District (西城区西单北大街109婚庆大楼8楼), Tel. +86 (010) 6616 0336


6. Guolizhuang

A strict, members-only policy operates here, but that's just the food. Guolizhuang's penis hot pot contains 10 appendages from dog to sheep, with exotic organs like seal available at extra cost. Potency is the promise that has middle-aged businessmen booking in their droves, though women are welcome too; it’s good for the skin, apparently. Don’t be hoodwinked by the grandiloquent menu: “Jasmine Flowers” is in fact sliced donkey penis.

Guolizhuang (锅里壮)
Average price: RMB 200-400
Opening hours: 10.30 a.m. - 9.30 p.m.
Address: 34-3 Dongsi Shitiao, Dongcheng District ( 东城区东四十条乙34-3号), Tel. +86 (010) 8411 6666


7. Haloing The Past

Haloing The PastTake a trip down memory lane at this retro emporia.
Discover your inner Chinese schoolchild at this 1980s time warp. Vintage-clothed hipsters giggle over canteen favorites like savory baked eggs and comfortingly malty hot chocolate, as a ghetto blaster pumps out (well not exactly) old sing-along tunes. Retro toys, tatty school desks and other period kitsch abounds, including a replica frontage of a Beijing trolley bus that serves as the bar, with working headlights.

Haloing the Past (昔巷)
Average price: 40-60 RMB
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 3 Dajingguang West Alley, Gulou East Street, Dongcheng District (东城区鼓楼东大街大经厂西巷3号), Tel. +86 (010) 6406 5852


8. Heroic Mountain

Heroic MountainTaste dishes lifted from martial arts fiction.
This eatery, themed on “wuxia,” or martial arts fiction, stands out from the hot pot joints that line Ghost Street. Bamboo walls hung with swords and bows provide the ambiance as waiters in black robes serve fanciful fare to the assembled acolytes of Jin Yong, the novelist who popularized the genre. White belts needn’t tap out: the delicious “Beggar’s Duck” and steamed “Hero Fish” require no prior training.

Heroic Mountain (英雄山庄)
Average price: RMB 30-50
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 181-1 Dongzhimenwai Avenue, Dongcheng District ( 东城区 东直门内大街181-1号), Tel. +86 (010) 8403 5851

9. Ordos Hotel Restaurant

Ordos Hotel Restaurant Grassland hospitality in the heart of Beijing.
Run by the Inner-Mongolian provincial government, this restaurant comprises eight dusty yurts, squeezed, incongruously, into the courtyard of a forlorn apartment and hotel complex in central Beijing. Diners are unlikely to hear the cry of an eagle, but can expect tender boiled mutton that falls off the bone as it should, plus authentically salty “milk tea.” Hungry raiding parties can order the whole sheep banquet.

Ordos Hotel Restaurant (鄂尔多斯宾馆内)
Average price: RMB 40
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Address: 3 Shanglong Beixiang, Andignmen Outer Street, Dongcheng District (安定门外大街上龙北巷3号), Tel. +86 (010) 8412 4216


10. Kiev Restaurant

Kiev RestaurantUkrainian soldiers sing for your supper.
The mustachioed stars of Ukrainian opera sing out their careers at this grand eating hall much loved by moneyed Chinese. If you manage to get a table, Georgian wine, smoked trout and questionable baked lobster should get you in the mood for music; diners can pick from a songbook (Russian and Chinese only) and pay 80 RMB to have the full troupe come to the table for an ear-splitting aria.

Kiev Restaurant (基辅餐厅)
Average price: RMB 70-100
Opening hours: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. (performances from 12.30-1 p.m. and from 7 p.m.)
Address: 13 Puhui Nanli, Yuyuantan South Street (west of the Millennium Monument), Haidian District (海淀区玉渊潭南路普惠南里13号), Tel. +86 (010) 6828 3482


A food and travel specialist, Tom has munched his way through the capital’s best kaoyadian in search of the perfect Peking duck, journeyed along the former Silk Road to the distant sands of Kashgar, grappled a baby panda in Sichuan, and generally counted himself lucky for being witness to an era-defining period of Chinese history. He has written for The Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Fodor’s, Time Out and the South China Morning Postand blogs at

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