where to eat in pingyao streets

Located only 2.5 hours on the comfortable fast train from Beijing, you’ll find the most well preserved walled city left in China. Many travellers haven’t heard of the city of Pingyao, so they don’t include it in their list of highlights of places to visit in China. Just quietly, we think the secret might be out and we’re going to tell you where to eat in Pingyao. This place oozes charm and deserves at least a two night stay to give you enough time to see the sights and enjoy some incredible, yet affordable food too.

Here are our tips on what to do and where to eat in Pingyao

Whether you’d like to explore ancient temples, get lost in alleyways or take yourself on a foodwalk through the many pop up shops, hole-in-the-wall noodle joints or sip tea in a café all day, it’s totally up to you. This is the kind of place to unwind just a little, and take in all that old world Chinese charm.

1) Pingyao Beef

Pingyao is famous for beef which is served in many ways here. Most commonly it is stewed for hours with some aromatics and spices to add taste. You’ll find slabs of cooked beef being sold all over town. You can eat it sliced on its own, accompanied by noodles or even as beef jerky.

You’ll find that the beef sold outside the city walls is almost half the price as inside the walls.

A good restaurant to try the Pingyao beef is at Tianyuankui Bar.

where to eat in pingyao lady serving noodles

Where to eat in Pingyao to try the famous Pingyao beef? We recommend that you head to Tianyuankui Bar, some great options here.

Once you exit the city walls, Pingyao is actually much bigger than you might expect. If you’re after some great food for the right price, you should leave the old town behind and head outside the walls to find some tasty nosh.

Keep your eye out for places where the locals are dining, it’s generally a good indication that the food is good. Most small restaurants have pictures and prices on the wall, so you can easily just point at what you’d like.

Alternatively, take a look at what everyone else is eating in the restaurant and then point at it and order the same dish. It can be difficult at times with the language to search where to eat in Pingyao, but that’s why we’re sharing our tips with you.

7 Tips – How to find the best food when you travel

2) Where to eat breakfast in Pingyao

Best place for breakfast – Wenmiao St

Many places to eat local baozi and dumplings are located along Wenmiao St, just before you get to the Confucious Temple. The cost is around 10 RMB for a basket full of baozi (steamed buns) or dumplings. It’s best to get there before 08:30 for the freshest food.

3) Shunliu’er Sliced Noodles 

Located outside the city walls – between Shuncheng Rd & Xiaxiguan St. You’ll find Shunlie’er Noodles shop near the very popular and also very tasty ‘Dico’s’ fast food place. I discovered this place by chance as I watched many locals stopping by with friends to enjoy the selection of noodles. Of course I tried a few dishes here and decided it must belong on this list of where to eat in Pingyao.

where to eat in pingyao best noodles

Where to eat the best noodles in Pingyao? This place is fantastic

where to eat in pingyao Shunlie'er noodle shop

Shunlie’er noodles shop. This was my favourite stop for where to eat in Pingyao food list.

There are many different varieties of noodles to choose from, however, they were fresh and chewy and delicious. Most dishes cost between 8 -12 RMB, a total bargain! These are big portions, you’ll leave very happy.

4) Best Beef Noodles

Located in an alleyway off Xiaxiguan St & Shuncheng Rd (no name available for this street). Location is near to ‘Go Believe Fast Food’, it’s a tiny shop, seats only 12 people at one time.  It looks like a very clean little hawker style shop.

They cook only 6 different noodle dishes, with the beef noodle dish their most popular dish which costs 12 RMB. This was delicious.

where to eat in pingyao best beef noodles pingyao

You want to know where to eat in Pingyao to find the best beef noodles? This is the place!

5) Petit Resto – Great Chinese Food

82 Nan Dajie – Located inside the Old Town.

Main dishes from RMB 20

A welcoming little restaurant with a tasty menu. This includes all the local favourites and conveniently listed in English.

6) Best Coffee in Pingyao

Coffee by Shrew

(池池咖啡馆, Chíchí Kāfēiguǎn 9 Chenghuangmiao Jie, 城隍庙街9号

Open 09:00 – 23:00

best coffee pingyao

Coffee by Shrew – the best coffee in town.

Ok, this place isn’t where to eat in Pingyao, but it’s all about where to find the best coffee. And you’ve found it right here. A cosy little café that we discovered, by chance. We returned a few times for our daily dose of caffeine. Come here for the best espresso, flat white, latte or hit of caffeine that you’ve been craving. We stopped in here a few times, easily the best coffee available in Pingyao. Great wifi too.

Pingyao is much easier on the budget than the main cities and places listed on most standard itineraries. You can find a comfortable, well located room here for a great price.

Where to stay in Pingyao

We’re always looking for traditional style accommodation when we travel and we found a wonderful place to stay. Pingyao Fu Lin Yuan Inn was located just inside the old city walls. We booked online here and paid $12 total per night, which is a great price for such a fantastic location.

where to stay in pingyao

Our guesthouse in Pingyao

This traditional courtyard home (now converted into a guesthouse) included our own private room, tv, bathroom with hot shower, fantastic wifi connection and a kettle.

Pingyao Fu Lin Yuan Inn was such good value, very quiet to get a good sleep and it was really clean. The son of the owners speaks great English too.

best hotel pingyao

Our accommodation – a traditional guesthouse in Pingyao

Some other great accommodation options:

Budget Option AccommodationPingyao Jiaxin Guesthouse -Located in Ancient City of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This property offers dorm beds from $4 or twin/doubles from $13 per night.

Mid-Range Accommodation – Hotel Selected Residence – An authentic little hotel in an excellent location.

Top-Range Accommdation – Water Hotel, Pingyao – Excellent location in the centre of Pingyao Old City. Rooms are very clean, modern and elegant with a Chinese traditional style. Complimentary pick-up and drop-off from train station offered.

Best Things to do in Pingyao

As I mentioned before, the Old Town is located inside the city walls, this is the perfect place to just wander around and explore. Some streets are much busier than others with restaurants and street side vendors selling food, snacks and all sorts of goodies.

The inner streets are all pedestrianized, so no cars or scooters allowed. The Old Town is only 1.6km between each exit wall, so I’d recommend walking around. On the outside, you can walk along the perimeter of the outer city walls, complete with a moat and all.

city walls pingyao

The City Walls and Moat surrounding Pingyao

Once you are on the outer parts of the Old Town, you’ll find long blue golf carts with drivers that charge 10 RMB for a short ride for mainly the older crowd (or the lazy ones).

Buy a ticket to explore the city walls and sights  

Of course it’s free to walk the streets in Pingyao. You can discover charming alleyways and courtyards at your leisure. If you wish to see any of the 18 or so buildings and temples considered historically important, you must pay an entry fee of RMB 150 to climb the city walls to do so.

Your ticket is valid for 3 days, so you can choose how you spend your time visiting these sites.

If a Full Day Private Tour of Pingyao is more your style, CLICK HERE to check out this recommended tour to cover the highlights of this fascinating city.

What to do in the evening in Pingyao

The old town really comes to life in the evenings with an almost romantic glow from endless red-lantern-hung lanes and alleyways you’ll see as you stroll along.

After you’ve eaten dinner at one of the places I’ve recommended below, I’d recommend you can go to find some live music. In the old town, we passed many bars/cocktail bars that had live music playing in each one. Many of the bars are quite large, so it’s perfect to go and enjoy a drink.

what to do in pingyao

Pingyao in the evening

Interested in discovering more of Ancient China? 

18 Day Ancient China Tour with Wendy Wu Tours