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Home Travel in Beijing Beijing Snacks—Chao Gan (炒肝), Guan Chang (灌肠) and Shao Mai (烧麦)
Beijing Snacks—Chao Gan (炒肝), Guan Chang (灌肠) and Shao Mai (烧麦)
Travel in Beijing
If you have enough time you may saunter around and drop in small Restaurant, especially when the bigger ones have closed. You will find that it won't cost you much for your dinner, which is really good. You will find steamed bread, steamed dumplings, dumplings, noodles, and family-style dishes, which you probably couldn't see in bigger ones.

Fried Liver (Chao Gan / 炒肝)

Fried liver is actually done with such raw material as pig's intestines and some liver with soy sauce, mashed garlic, starch, aniseed etc. as seasonings.
The intestine is boiled with seasonings and later the liver is added. When cooked, the juice is sparkling and clear while the intestine is tender and the liver is tasty.
It is in fact not fried but boiled. But since it got the name in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), people accepted it according to the custom. Tianxingju Chaogan Restaurant, the most well-known restaurant for Fried Liver is in Xianyukou Jie, Qianmen, Chongwenmen District.
Filled Sausage (Guan Chang/ 灌肠)
Filled Sausage is a dish made with intestine filled with starch, minced meat and some spices. It is first steamed and then cut into cubes and fried. When it is done, it looks inviting with salty water and garlic juice.
It is said that Empress Dowager Ci Xi sang high praise of it, so you can imagine how delicious it is. Fuxingju, the earliest restaurant that sells Fried Sausage, used to pay this tribute to the royal family of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Shao Mai (Pork Dumplings/ 烧麦)
There are not many restaurants selling Shao Mai in Beijing and Duyichu Shaomai Restaurant, which lies in Qianmen Dajie and was named by Emperor Qian Long in 1752. It has the best reputation and attracts friends from home and abroad.
The wrappers of Shao Mai are made of flour, and it is rolled by a specially-made roller to form nice shape. Then it is put in different fillings in different seasons, usually young chives in spring, cucurbits together with mutton or vegetables in summer, crabs in autumn and pork with onion in winter. Steamed Shao Mai looks white and translucent, with beautiful pleats on the top, which look quite like sheaves of wheat heads or bunches of white flowers.

Combine the pork, water chestnuts, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well to combine (hands work well for this). Place a dumpling wrapper in the palm of one hand and cup it loosely. Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. With your free hand, gather the sides of the wrapper around the filling, letting the wrapper pleat naturally. Squeeze the middle gently and tap the dumpling to flatten the bottom so that it can stand upright. The meat filling will show a little at the top. Make the remaining dumplings in the same manner.
Arrange filled dumplings about 1/4 inch apart in two steamer trays that have been lined with wet cheesecloth. (At this point, you can refrigerate dumplings, covered, for 24 hours.)
When ready to steam, fill a wok or lower part of a steamer with water so that it comes within an inch of the steamer tray, and bring to a rolling boil. Stack the steamer trays in the wok or steamer, cover tightly, and steam dumplings for 20-25 minutes over high heat, reversing the trays after 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer dumplings to a platter and serve with Spicy Dipping Sauce.