The best late-night and 24-hour eats in Beijing

Whether you’re burning the midnight oil or painting the town red, these spots aim to please at any hour

Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read/Flickr.com
We're always on the lookout for quality late-night grub and luckily Beijing has no shortage of places competing for midnight supremacy. The next time you're in need of some early morning gratification, check out these spots that never sleep.

24-hour eats

Jin Ding Xuan (金鼎軒酒樓)

Famous all over Beijing as that 'neon casino-looking place' at the south gate of Ditan Park, Jin Ding Xuan serves food on a scale unlike any other. The flagship branch is a multi-storey mammoth and packed at all hours. It serves up decent dim sum and noodles alongside Cantonese soups and roast meats that do their part. But at 4am, even our standards slip in exchange for the opportunity to do some impromptu KTV in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

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77 Hepingli Xi Jie (Yonghegong/Lama Temple, Dongcheng)

Queenie's

Over the course of its long and distinguished reign in Beijing, sandwich dive bar Queenie's has garnered a much-deserved reputation for its absurdly low prices and tasty sandwiches. Its newest neon-lit branch in Jiaodaokou (making up for its shuttered Yonghegong branch) comes equipped with its usual range of sangers, pizza, plus reliably extensive beer selection courtesy of its refrigerated wall of fame. 

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113 Jiaodaokou Dong Dajie (Beixinqiao, Dongcheng)

Shan Mian Wang (陜面王)

An old favourite at Time Out Towers – owing largely to the fact that the original location is conveniently located just across the street – Shan Mian Wang, or Shaanxi Noodle King, serves up classic snacks from Shaanxi province including thick chewy belt noodles like youpo chemian, sprinkled with pork cubes and chilli powder, and the epically wide, hand-pulled biang biang mian, famous for using the most complicated Chinese character in its name.

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8 Gongti Bei Lu (Sanlitun, Chaoyang)

Wang Pangzi Donkey Burgers (王胖子驢肉火燒)

Despite having branches dotted all across the city, not all Wang Pangzi locations are open 24 hours a day. The Gulou branch, however, is – making it ideal for a post-Dada pick-me-up. Lürou huoshao is quite literally the name of the game here, however if you're not in the mood for braised donkey meat served roujiamo-style, then opt for any number of noodle soups and cold dishes, including the classic spinach with peanuts. We say everyone should treat themselves to a piece of ass at least once, though.

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76 Gulou Xi Dajie (Xicheng, Xicheng)

Zhangji Pingwa Sanbao (張記平娃三寶)

A popular chain with branches across the city, our favourite location of Pingwa is in Sanlitun. This cosy joint is a maze of wood-lined walls, tables, low-hanging beams and tiny waitresses hawking skewers of grilled lamb, roujiamo, bowls of chewy Shaanxi noodles and Lanzhou beef ramen. Feeling adventurous? Pick your own fresh clams, sea snails and other live shellfish from a display at the door.

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2-3 Baijiazhuang Lu (Sanlitun, Chaoyang)

Late-night eats

Chunli Chifan Gongsi (春麗吃飯公司)

A cult-favourite with hip locals, this late-night joint serves up an array of tasty Cantonese street food classics. Just be prepared to wade through a sea of KOLs posing for photos in its grittily chic, Instagram-friendly confines.

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6 Gongti Xi Lu (Gongti, Chaoyang)
Gui Jie (簋街)

Gui Jie (簋街)

If all else fails, Beijing's iconic food street Gui Jie (otherwise known as Ghost Street) won't let you down. The ultimate one-stop shop for late-night snacks and nibbles, Gui Jie's home to all manner of restaurants that keep buzzing well into the morning. Try any of the brightly illuminated restaurants depending on what you’re after – whether it’s spicy crayfish (a specialty of the street), braised bullfrog (another specialty), hotpot, or classic regional Chinese cuisine. We're partial to Huajia Yiyuan for its home-style eats and one-of-a-kind interiors within a traditional hutong courtyard, but other spots to try include Xiao Yu Shan (open 24 hours, head there for kaoyu and shellfish) and Gui Jie Zai Zai Crayfish (open till 3-5am, there are quite literally six branches on Gui Jie alone specialising in spicy crayfish).

Haidilao (海底撈)

This ever-packed Sichuan-style hotpot chain is rightly legendary for its service, which involves everything from free shoe shines and manicures while you wait (and you will wait), to noodles that come with a kung fu performance. For hotpot with a bit of a high-tech twist, we're partial to Haidilao's fully automated World City branch. No more 'fuwuyuuuaaaan' shouting here as orders are placed on iPads, while in the kitchen, robotic arms process your order before robot waiters whizz to your table-side to deliver your items.

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9 Jinhui Lu (Central Park, Chaoyang)

Ling Er Jiu (零貳玖)

Critics' pick

The biggest challenge at Ling Er Jiu is finding a seat – entirely divorced from conventional meal times, this place is consistently packed with representatives from every Beijing set. Whether it's the iPad-transfixed office workers of 11am or the 2am Sanli-wasters, the allure of Ling Er Jiu’s massive bowls of thick chewy noodles, drenched in bright red oil and coated with their secret blend of chillies and spices keeps the tables full all day long. The freshness of the noodles and the diced veggies set this place well above the rank and file of Shaanxi noodle stalls.

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Xingfucun Zhong Lu (Sanlitun, Chaoyang)

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