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.
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,
Directions: southwest of Dongsi Shitiao Bridge, 东四十条桥西南
Tel: +86 5169-0328
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,
Tel: +86 6501-8881
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,
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)
Tel: +86 8561-7859/5985
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)
Tel: 5128-3315, 6405-1908, 6403-0677
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,
Tel: +86 8516-2888 ext. 6707