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Best Peking Duck Beijing: My Top 6 List

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Grand Hyatt made in china beijing

Several strangers have emailed me on my thoughts on Beijing’s best duck, and I realised I never put up an entry on this, so I’m going to slowly post my lists of favourite eats in Beijing, some I miss dearly.

For ducks, whatever you do, do NOT go to Quanjude, you’d be served greasy sub-quality duck, and on top of that you have to wait in line outdoors (think polluted summer heat or subzero winters) in an insane queue for really bad food. I’m a big fan of greasy, especially deep fried comfort foods, but this is the kind of grease fest you definitely want to skip.

So where can we find the best rice pancake and roast Peking duck? Here are my favourites in no particular order.

Da Dong
Here is where most take their visiting guests. Quality is consistent with crisp and tasty duck in a modern setting. Service is not their forte and the crowd is a good mix of locals and foreigner. Dong Ye (Da dong) is hardly in the kitchen these days, but he’s added a good mix of modern dishes, a collaboration with Irish media darling chef Brian Mckenna. Dishes like foie gras with fried mushrooms and lobster noodles are welcome additions to the traditional duck feast.

Recommend the nanxingcang branch (old mill converted into a home for restaurants and bars)
1-2/F , Nanxincang Int’l Building, A22, Dongsi Shitiao,
东四十条甲22号南新仓国际大厦1-2层
Directions: southwest of Dongsi Shitiao Bridge, 东四十条桥西南
Tel: +86 5169-0328

duck de chine hoisin sauce

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Duck De Chine
No visit is complete without a mandatory visit to a Peking duck restaurant in Beijing. Duck has always been a feature in the history of both Chinese and French cuisines and this upscale dining spot in 1949—The Hidden City serves up a delicious crispy roast fowl with a sauce that is sweet and sharp, and comes with condiments to customise your own.

1949-The Hidden City, Courtyard 4, Gongti Beilu,
工体北路
Tel: +86 6501-8881
ddc@elite-concepts.com

Made in China
Open kitchen cooking brings a crisp, modern sensibility to Chinese dining at this classy restaurant. Popular with the deep-pocketed crowd, the Peking duck here is perfectly executed. With a culinary direction led by Executive chef Martin Ouyang, the other highly recommended dishes include the tender beggar’s chicken and Northern specialties.

1/F, Grand Hyatt Beijing, 1 Dongchang’anjie,
东长安街1号东方君悦大酒店1层
Tel: +86 8518-1234 ext. 3608

Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant Ritan
This popular chain is a favourite haunt of the expats. The menu offers everything from Peking duck smoked with apple wood—enjoy and taste the subtle fruity essence, sweet and sour dishes to stir-fry chicken wings. Don’t leave without ordering the braised pork belly, fried tofu with spicy sweet sauce drizzled over it and crispy thin slices of potato—a Chinese rendition of rosti.

Inside Ritan Park, (Enter through the North gate)
日坛公园内
Tel: +86 8561-7859/5985

huajiayiyuan beijing

Huajiayiyuan
A charming courtyard with outdoor seating, this restaurant on Guijie serves the duck with fluffy pancakes, but the thick sweet sauce to accompanies the fowl is given a twist. You get a two different types of sauces, one that has a sharp sweet taste that reminds one of cherries and the other is sweet and light, with a taste of plum. Other highlights here include the fried caramelized batter fruits served with water, a noodle performer and tea master, which to their credit do not reek of touristy tackiness.

235 Dongzhimennei Dajie, (this one has the courtyard dining area)
东直门内235号
Tel: 5128-3315, 6405-1908, 6403-0677

Huang Ting
Old world charm meets delicate Cantonese cuisine, yet their best kept secret at this Cantonese restaurant housed in the Peninsular Hotel is the Peking Duck. Get a tea recommendation to go with the dimsum spread and allow greed to take over to freely order from the interesting selection on the menu, starting with the perfectly executed duck to Sichuan chili prawns.

B2/F, The Peninsula Beijing, 8 Jinyu Hutong, Wangfujing Dajie,
王府井大街金鱼胡同8号王府半岛酒店B2层
Tel: +86 8516-2888 ext. 6707

*updates: Adding to this list, there are two new Peking duck kids on the block, Jing Yaa Tang @ The Opposite House worth the trip just for the duck and Four Seasons Hotel Beijing’s Chinese restaurant Cai Yi Xuan.

peking duck FS

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10 Comments

  1. Pierre
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 18:12:24

    Oh Yes! Thank You so much!
    This is gone straight to my bookmark, under travel folder.
    Duck is my favorite thing on the planet and Peking Duck? It’s not even funny to question. Looking forward to my first China trip in August. Yay!

  2. Alex
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 20:11:34

    DaDong’s really dropped in standard though, when i first tried it in 2007, it was like nothing i’ve ever had. But now, its just just crispy skin, you dont really get to taste duck. Not to mention at last visit, aside from the duck, everything else was a bit bleh…

    Bianyifang is really not bad, and i recently tried XiHeYaJu at Ritan park as well which was really excellent because of the blueberry sauce! Made in China is expensive but worth every cent. Great service, great food.

    (PS: The quanjude round the corner from my house used to sell duck carcassas out the back door, 2 for 10rmb! my favourite thing was to cook salted veg duck soup! haha!)

  3. baobabs
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 20:43:00

    I love this discussion!!! Bianyifang I’ve tried but I just felt it was okay. XiheYaju I didn’t try.. but blueberry sauce with duck?! not appetising to me! Huayiyiyuan offers an option of the traditional sauce and plum suace —much prefer the plum sauce dip!

    I really hated Quanjude!!! but agree you can make duck soup with preserved vegetable!!! haam choi aap tong!

  4. baobabs
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 09:28:34

    @pierre yay! hope you manage to check out a restaurant or two on your China trip! Will be posting up some of my favourite eats in Beijing

  5. Duncan
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 18:30:44

    I never liked QuanJuDe as I felt it relied entirely on its fame rather than edible duck.

    My favourite was always Jing Zun opposite Sunshine 100 on Guanghua Lu. Slightly divey but always excellent duck, not too greasy, with lovely cispy skin. Used to make duck ragu and soups with the carcasses which they sold in the afternoons for 2 kuai!

    Xiao Wang Fu is always good (had it twice on a visit a month ago). Not as cheap as it used to be but consistently good.

    Years and years ago Li Qun used to be good but again, fame seems to have made it go down hill.

    Da Dong for me was always good but never my favourite. This accolade went to Made In China. Not cheap was always first class. Never too greasy and always with prfectly crispy skin.

  6. baobabs
    Jun 26, 2011 @ 20:45:58

    @duncan I think there’s also a Jing Zun on chunxiulu, I tried that one and thought it was not bad and if I remember right, very affordable! duck ragu, yum! Now i regret not buying the carcasses to make stuff out of them!

    I think Da Dong has gone too ‘molecular’ for my liking these days, but the duck is always good. all this duck all, I feel like having a Peking duck now!

  7. alex
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 08:54:05

    @Jules – No really! the blueberry sauce really does taste really quite good! No kidding, and it was pretty inexpensive too!
    I think that once you’ve had beijing kaoya, nothing else beats it. I was in sg and a good friend brought me to the Imperial Treasure for the Super Peking Roast Duck. Night and day, it was good, but nowhere beijing good.
    That said, i think that there should be a roast duck cantonese style. I’m really really wanting a cantonese style roast duck with salted soy beans and drenched in sauce…! Sigh! Some things just cant be replaced!

  8. baobabs
    Jun 27, 2011 @ 09:48:19

    YUM! roast duck cantonese style.

    Blueberries just make me think of turkey and cranberries. And on a crispy skin duck..hmm still skeptical but willing to venture out to try!

    My friend brought me to Peking duck here in HKG, cannot compare lor.

    I had see yao gai (soy sauce chicken) the other night at Ngau Kee 牛记 (suppose to be famous!), was so so, my mother makes a better one!

  9. Charlotte
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 03:10:42

    Hehe just saw this post and forgot to thank you for your recommendations! I checked out Made in China and loved it!! Still so cheap compared to kao ya in Hong Kong :)

    And totally agree with your comments on Quanjude. I honestly don’t understand.

  10. baobabs
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 07:56:29

    Hi Charlotte! Good to know you enjoyed a good duck! The ambience at Made in China is also fantastic which makes the dining experience top. I’ve only had kaoya in Hong Kong once and it was so-so and the west villa restaurant or something at Lee garden.

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