Zijing Yuan: Voted Favorite Canteen Among Tsinghua International Students

You voted. We listened.

Zijing Yuan (紫荆园) has been voted most popular canteen among Tsinghua University international students.

Zijing Yuan
Address: Shuangqing Road No. 30 Tsinghua University (located north of building C and Zijing field)

In a survey completed by 80 Tsinghua international students in October 2019, Zijing Yuan came in first place for favorite canteen. In second place came Qingfen Yuan (清芬园), followed by Taoli Yuan (桃李园) in third place.

Zijing Yuan is located in the Northeast part of Tsinghua University. It is a 5-6 minute walk from the Zijing Student Dormitories. Proximity to the student dormitories was one of the main reasons this canteen was chosen as the top choice. Other reasons included large variety of choices and pricing.

Location of top three canteens voted by Tsinghua international students:
#1 Zijing Yuan, #2 Qingfen Yuan, #3 Taoli Yuan

Zijing Yuan is around 13,000 square meters and features five floors. The canteen serves different types of Chinese cuisine on each floor, and has a total of 3,300 seats.


  • Opening Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Outdoor patio seating available on top floor (weather permitting)
  • Take-out is available for a small extra charge in plastic bags. It is recommended you bring your own containers, unless you enjoy eating a medley of Chinese food from a clear plastic bag
  • Bathrooms are located on basement floor
  • Tip: Bring your own pocket tissues as napkins are not provided for free (or you can purchase pocket tissues at the beverage stalls on each floor)

Five Floors of Food Options

Basement Floor: Enter Zijing Yuan and walk down the stairs to find Qing Qing Pizza Restaurant. This restaurant offers Western food options such as pizza, chicken wings, fries, and pasta. 

First Floor: Divided into eleven food stalls, Zijing Yuan’s first floor is busiest during breakfast time. Students come here to grab fresh soymilk in take-out cups, bowls of noodles, steamed buns, ma la tang, and baked goods. 

Freshly made meat and vegetable bao zi (steamed buns) from Zijing Yuan first floor

Second Floor:  Featuring cuisine from the Southeast part of China, here you’ll find dishes that are mainly stir-fried and stewed. You’ll also find traditional Beijing snacks such as tanghulu (candied hawthorn berries on a stick).

After choosing your dishes, the staff will ask, “要米饭吗 (yao mi fan ma)?” which translates to, “Do you want rice with that?”

Third Floor: This floor contains cuisine from the Northeast part of China. Here you’ll find vegetable and meat dishes that are boiled, braised, stewed, steamed, and stir-fried.

If you perhaps find some Chinese food to be too oily or salty, the recently opened “Healthy Food” stall will appeal to you. This salad bar features a wide selection of raw and cooked vegetables with protein options.

Fourth Floor: For those that like it hot and spicy, the fourth floor at Zijing Yuan features Sichuan cuisine that will satisfy your tastebuds. You’ll find dishes with bold and spicy flavors, including ma la tang and ma la xiang guo.

Pricing for food at Tsinghua University canteens is quite affordable. Some food stalls have set prices for food items or plates, while others charge by weight. A typical lunch at Zijing can cost anywhere from 4 to 20 RMB.

All floors at Zijing Yuan contain stalls that sell beverages including bottled water, plum juice, soft drinks, and tea. Fresh watermelon is also offered when in season.

“It’s hard to choose between all the canteens, but if I had to choose one I’d go for Zijing because it’s conveniently located near the dorms, the food is great and cheap, and the size [of the canteen] is impressive,” says Federico Zaiter, a Master’s student in the Department of Computer Science and Technology from Uruguay.

“I would say Zijing because it’s near, there’s a huge food variety, and my friends eat there a lot,” says Guido Meyer, a Master’s student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering from Germany.

Behind the Name: Zijing Yuan (紫荆园) translates to Bauhinia Garden. The Bauhinia flower is the official flower of Tsinghua University.

Qingfen Yuan: voted second most favorite canteen.
Address: Shuangqing Road No. 30 Tsinghua University (located at intersection of Xuetang Road and Zhishan Road)
Taoli Yuan: voted third most favorite canteen.
Address: Shuangqing Road No. 30 Tsinghua University (located behind building C, at intersection between Xuetang Road and small road above Zijing Road)

A big thank you to the Tsinghua international students that participated in the survey.

If you’d like to contribute your opinion or any additional information, please contact me here.

6 Must-Know Terms Used by Tsinghua Students

From THU and C-Lou to Schwarz and a famous Chinese quote about Tsinghua sports, we’ve got you covered for the terms you need to know to survive at Tsinghua University.

Here are the six must-know terms:

1. THU

The official abbreviation for Tsinghua University. Established in 1911, THU is one of China’s top universities. The university’s motto is, “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment.” 

Fun Facts:

1. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended Tsinghua University (Class of 1979).

2. THU’s official school color is purple.

Photo: Tsinghua University

2. PKU

The official abbreviation for Peking University. PKU was the first modern national university established in China in 1898. The university’s motto is, “Ensuring Quality and Pursuing Excellence.”

Fun Facts:

  1. Former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, worked at PKU’s library in 1918 while auditing courses.
  2. PEK’s official school color is red.
Photo: pku.edu.cn

3. C-LOU

The term students use to describe Tsinghua University Building C. Lou in C-Lou is the pinyin writing of the Chinese character 楼, which means building

This term is pronounced “See Low.”

“I’ve gotten used to calling it C-Lou since that’s the Chinese name of it,” says Jenna Guðmundsdóttir, a first-year Master’s student in the School of Public Policy and Management from Iceland.

C-Lou is the C-shaped building in the middle of the campus map:

Photo: qinghuadx.com


The term students use to refer to Schwarzman College or a Schwarzman scholar. Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University hosts the Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious international scholarship programoffering students a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs. 

Photo: schwarzmanscholars.org

5.“无体育不清华”  (wu ti yu bu qing hua)

Direct translation: “No Sports, No Tsinghua”

Actual translation: “If you don’t play sports at Tsinghua, you technically don’t go to Tsinghua.”

A famous Chinese phrase to describe Tsinghua University’s emphasis on sports and physical education. Back in September 2017, Tsinghua University implemented a new law requiring undergraduate students to receive basic swimming certification as a graduation requirement. 

“Tsinghua has always been tied to sports and it’s part of our spirit,” says Dai Run Tao, a Chinese second year Master’s student in the School of Journalism and Communication.

Photo: Nico Gous

6.“难进好出” (nan jin hao chu)

Difficult to Enter, Easy to Exit

Another well-known Chinese phrase used by students to describe the academic experience at Tsinghua University and other top universities in China. The phrase refers to how it is more difficult to get admitted into university than to graduate from it. 

“In general, it’s a famous term about the universities here,” says Tiger de Jongé, a second year undergraduate student in the School of Aerospace Engineering from New Zealand.

Photo: tsinghua.edu.cn

Tsinghua University Photography Project

This photography project of Tsinghua University takes you on a journey to two unique places on campus.

The first set of photographs is of the Ziqing Pavilion. Situated beside a vast lotus pond, the pavilion structure stands out in vibrant colors of red, blue, and green.

The second set of photographs is of a mini market tucked away in Building 11. The space is quite small, yet crammed from top to bottom with snacks and packaged goods.

Both places are drastically different— which is why I decided to photograph them and combine them in this photography project.

Chaos and tranquility co-existing.

Just like inside of us.

This photography project is part of a series of blog posts for a course in the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University.