Name: Erik Chong, Old Beijing Food Guide
What’s your other job besides guide and why do you lead food tours?
I work as a content developer for a private education company in China. My job revolves around creating content focused on contemporary and classical literary works. As an avid reader, it’s a great fit for me because I get to work with a topic that I love and I get paid at the same time!
I love leading food tours because I get to mix and mingle with people from all over the world. I like to ask a lot of questions; listening to first-hand accounts of what life is like in other parts of the world gives me inspiration for where I want to go to next. The constant stream of food is also dope.
Top food recommendations for guests to Beijing?
Western food: Kuans Bar & Dining
After the tour UnTour guests also receive a packet full of handy food, drink and activity recommendations to plan out all of their time in the city.
Where do you go when you want to escape/travel outside of BJ?
If I were to travel to a reasonably close place I’d probably go to Taiwan. Taiwan has all the great things about China with none of the annoyances. Sometimes China can be overwhelming and Taiwan is a nice break from it all. My family is also from Malaysia, so if I have a bit more time to spare I like to fly down there for some sun and roti canai with curry chicken.
Any areas of the city you find yourself going back to all the time, and why?
Definitely the hutongs scattered throughout central Beijing. You’ll never know what you’ll find because these awesome eateries and stores pop up all the time. Avoid nanluoguxiang main road like the plague and find other places like Fangjia, Ju’er, and Jiaodaokou. I love the soul of the hutongs and just walking (or biking!) is a great way to spend the afternoon.
What’s the best thing someone can do/read/buy to plan their trip here?
Ask your guide for tips during your food tour. www.reddit.com/r/beijing also has some great tips.
What’s the first thing you eat when you’ve been away for a while?
This is going to sound lame, but Taco Bar has my vote. It’s so laid-back, the drinks are great, and the food is delicious. Happy Hour special is also buy a drink get a free taco, that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life. When I’ve been away for a while I like to meet-up with my beijinger friends and Taco Bar has yet to do me wrong.
For more info on our Beijing food walks, including the tour Erik leads, the Old Beijing Dinner tour check out the tour info pages, and book directly online. Or contact us with any questions.