Peking University is famous not only for being an internationally ranked institute of higher learning, but also for its super food. Students can choose from a plethora of Chinese and foreign dishes, and students who eat halal have a canteen just for them.
Here, we’ll introduce eight of our most loved canteens.
Shaoyuan Canteen (勺园)
Shaoyuan is a two-story canteen close tothe Shaoyuan dormitories and across from the School of International Studies. The Shaoyuan first floor is famous for its Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁), while the second floor is also one of the few canteens on campus (also Yannan and Nongyuan) where Malaxiangguo (麻辣香锅) is served, a fun dish where you pick your own ingredients and wait for it to be stir fried in hot sauce and Sichuan peppercorn. Vegetarians can check out the low-sodium and meat-free window on the first floor.
The low-sodium vegetarian window inside Shaoyuan
Kungpao Chicken in Shaoyuan Canteen
(with rice, corn, and green beans)
Tongyuan Canteen (佟园)
The exterior of Tongyuan Canteen
Tongyuan is a small Muslim canteen that offers halal food, which is situated right next to School of International Studies and across from Shaoyuan Canteen. Before 6pm, the canteen is only open to Muslim students, who must activate their card first before paying, but after 6pm is open to all students.
The inside of Tongyuan
Tongyuan offers a Malatang (麻辣烫) station, where you pick your own ingredients and wait for them to be boiled in soup until your number is called. The chef yelling numbers all night adds a little bit more excitement to the already lively atmosphere. Tongyuan is also special for offering a variety of mutton dishes, including fermented soy bean and mutton stew (豆豉羊排煲), as well as mutton chua’r (羊肉串儿), or kebabs, late into the night.
Nongyuan Canteen (农园)
The exterior of Nongyuan Canteen at night
This is the biggest canteen in size in Peking University. Since it’s located in the busiest part of campus just next to the Second Teaching Building, it is very busy during peak hours (11:30 to 12:30 and 17:30 to 18:30). Even though there are three floors in this canteen, most students would only visit the first two floors while guests prefer the third floor as it’s a restaurant and payment is not restricted to the campus card. The first floor is conveyer belt style, where you grab your own dish and pay as you leave, while the second floor is more standard window-style, each window organized by different styles of food. Unique to Nongyuan is the “earthenware jar” soup (瓦罐汤) window on the second floor (quite helpful if you have a bit of a cold), and also a small halal eating section on the second floor; you should kindly leave pork and other non-halal items behind before entering.
The first floor of the Nongyuan Canteen
Yiyuan Canteen (艺园)
Many people would say there are two Yiyuan Canteens, and they aren’t wrong. One is called Yiyuan Canteen (艺园食堂), the other is opposite from Student Canteen 5 (学五) and is called Yiyuan Meishi Shi (艺园美食室). Yiyuan Canteen is a little out of the way, but it definitely deserves a try. Students often stay in the first floor, even though there is also a second floor where you don’t need a student ID card to pay. What’s more, the second floor offers snacks until midnight, such as duck leg (鸭腿) and pumpkin juice (南瓜汁).
A corner of Yiyuan Canteen first floor
The working hours of Yiyuan Meishi are from 7:00- 13:30 and 16:30- 23:30. What can you find there? Malatang (麻辣烫)，stir-fried rice (炒饭)，and Chinese pancakes (煎饼)- the best options for take-away.
Yiyuan Meishi Canteen seen from the outside
Yannan Canteen (燕南美食)
Yannan may become a favorite destination among vegetarians since this canteen offers more vegetable dishes than the other canteens. It is close to the main library so it is very convenient for students, especially during exam time. Many students line up for Malaxiangguo (麻辣香锅) and the canteen’s own take on Korean bibimbap (石锅拌饭).
The inside of Yannan during rush hour
Another fun fact about Yannan Canteen is that you can eat outside. There is some open space that has tables and chairs under the trees outside the entrance; students on a sunny day often choose to eat outside.
Student Canteen No. 5 & Hollywood Cafeteria (学五 / 好莱坞餐厅)
Canteen No. 5 seen from the outside Yiyuan Meishi canteen, the one with blue roof on the left, can also be seen
Student Canteen No. 5 and Hollywood Café hours:
The big two-story building of Student Canteen No. 5 (on the first floor) and Hollywood (on the second floor) is notable for selling Western-style fast food in addition to Chinese food, such as fried chicken and French fries.
The Hollywood restaurant can be seen in the background
Another unique feature of the Hollywood restaurant and Canteen No. 5 is that they remain open all day. To students who are used to waking up at 9am, you are too late for breakfast in any other canteen, but not at Canteen No. 5 and Hollywood! And if you are so hungry at three in the afternoon, just come on over as these two are the only big canteens open.
Songlin Canteen (松林)
The exterior of Songlin Canteen
Known as the “Baozi Canteen”, Songlin really only serves just one kind of food: steamed stuffed buns, or baozi (包子). You can find baozi in almost every canteen, but there are often only two choices: vegetable or meat. But in Songlin Canteen, you can pick from a menu of stuffed buns, and here and only here are fried stuffed buns (生煎包) sold. Besides baozi, you can also try soybean milk or one of the congees, including Babao congee (八宝粥) or pumpkin congee (南瓜粥) with a salted duck egg (咸鸭蛋).
Baozi and soybean milk in Songlin Canteen
Songlin Canteen is right next to Student Canteen No. 1 and Student Dormitory No. 35. If you still can’t find it, ask any PKU student to point you in the right direction. It has a very beautiful Western-looking exterior and like Yiyuan Canteen, you can choose to eat outside on a lovely sunny day.
The patio at Songlin Canteen
Student Canteen No. 1 (学一)
Entrance to Student Canteen 1
Student Canteen No. 1 Hours:
Located right next to Songlin, Student Canteen No. 1 is quite the typical canteen on campus, except for the new bakery selling egg tarts, donuts, coffee, and bread of course. Also, if you forgot to fill up your card and have only five Yuan left, no worries! Look for the “economical food” (经济菜品) window for one of the cheapest meals you can get on campus.
The “economical food” window at Canteen No. 1
Author: Van Mai Cao
Designer: Leng Jingyi, EAS
Cover Photo: Zhang Xuejing