Beijing Duck - Peking Duck - The best-known dish in Beijing
Beijing Duck (Peking Duck, Chinese: ±±¾©¿¾Ñ¼, Pinyin:B¨§ij¨©ng k¨£oy¨¡ ), or Peking
Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the
Yuan Dynasty, now considered one of China's national foods.
The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin with authentic versions of the dish
serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook.
Ducks are bred specially for the dish, which after 65 days are slaughtered and
seasoned before it is roasted in a closed oven or a hung oven. When eating
Peking roast duck, one wraps the duck skin and meat along with slivers of spring
onions (scallions) and cucumber - dabbed with sweet sauce (tian mian jiang) - with
a slice of thin pancake. This is the most authentic way to savor the rich flavor of
Peking roast duck. More than two million roast ducks are sold on average annually.
The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are
Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries old establishments which have become
household names. Beijing Da Dong is a swanky chain that does duck to a tee but
is not so hot on the rest of the menu, considering the bill. The Hyatt's Made in
China does a modern twist to the roast meat and is sometimes voted the best
place to eat roast duck in Beijing. Li Qun, now a staple on the tourist trail, does a -
usually - great chaotic duck in a courtyard setting. While the service at Li Qun has
had a few complaints, diners get to witness the roasting process.
Price: US $20 - 30
Addresses for recommended beijing duck restaurants in Beijing:
Beijing Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Address:32 Qianmen Avenue, Xicheng District, Beijing
Directions: Walk south of Tianamen Square and take the road to the south west. It
is the most happening road from the Square so you won't miss it. Take the road
which has a KFC sign board on the left side and walk on for 2 minutes. The place
is to the left.
Beijing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Address:14 Qianmen Xidajie, Xuanwu District (east side Tiananmen Square)
Beijing Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: 9 Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Dongcheng District; Beijing
Bianyifang Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: A2 Chongwenmenwai Dajie, Chongwen District, Beijing
Bianyifang Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: 73 Tiantan Eastern Street, Chongwen District, Beijing
Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant
Address: Bldg3, Tuanjiehu Beijou, Dongsnahuan Lu, SE corner of Changhong
Qiao, Chaoyang district
Liqun Roast Duck Restaurant (Liqun Kaoya Dian, ÀûÈº¿¾Ñ¼µê)
Address: 11 Beixiangfeng, Zhengyi Lu, northeast of Qianmen,Chongwen District,
Tel: 10-6705-5578; 10-6702-5681
Transportation: Subway Line 2 or 5 at chongwenmen or Line 2 at Qianmen
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
Made in China
Address:1/F Grand Hyatt Hotel,1A Dong chang'an Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Phone:010- 6510-9608; 010-8518-1234 ext 3608
Favorite Dish: duck of course silly....duck, duck,.....GOOSE
Waited over an hour to be seated, at this hole in the wall duck restaurant despite reservations (only to get there and have them say "oh, we don't take reservations." Service was terrible, duck was mediocre, and there were many hidden fees, such as the "private room fee" that they didn't even tell us about! The set meals are a complete rip off, charging more than ordering directly off their menu. Disguising hygiene in the kitchen. This place is a TOURIST TRAP.
Favorite Dish: After calculating our "set menu price" vs. what it would like ordering directly from the menu in the back we discovered RMB200 added to the set menu price. The manager justified this mark up by saying that we ate some things not from the menu, like the plate of cashew nuts. In other words this restaurant serves some of the most expensive cashew nuts in the world!! Don't even bother with this restaurant, they're in it to rip people off! Not only that but their duck is fatty and very mediocre.
Like so many others before us, we were attracted to Li Qun based on the many excellent, quality reviews posted all over the Internet, and on the desire to hunt for a "gem" in the hutongs of Beijing. However, we have noticed several bad reviews warning us of very bad food (and very poor hygiene to boot), and the trend has been more negative of late. Against better judgment, we ignored these bad reviews and paid the price for it...Our advice, save your time and money, and go elsewhere..there are definitely better places in Beijing.
We went on 3/23/2009. It took us a bit of effort to find it after we walked over from Tiananmen Square, but sure enough, we found it after finally locating the duck drawings as mentioned on earlier posts. We didn't have a reservation for 6PM, but that wasn't a problem. One thing we immediately noticed that spelled trouble -- all patrons were non-Asian tourists. We were shown a menu with dinner plans all nicely spelled out. For 2 people, there were two 288 RMB dinner plans (=$42 USD), which included an appetizer, a vegetable, and a whole duck. Not bad, we thought, but definitely first-class pricey according to Beijing standards. So then the bad:
1. If you do make it to Li Qun, make sure you go on an empty bladder. Don't bother going to the bathroom. It's all true. It's the most gross squat pit in all of China. Smelled like cow manure. Seriously. And too bad our table was right next to the bathroom. Fine, no problem, we thought. We were asking for it especially since we decided to "rough it out" and get the real deal in a Beijing hutong. However, the bad news is that even this hutong experience is not authentic.
2. The appetizer was spongy duck liver. Not bad if you like that..unfortunately, we didn't.
3. The vegetable was broccoli saturated in grease. Horrible, but broccoli is not a native vegetable in China, and so I can't blame them for not knowing how to prepare broccoli. Most of it gets imported from California...so it may probably be the most expensive dish on the table!
4. Worst of all, the duck was horrible. All fat, no meat, and all fat. The skin was not great, eventhough it was a freshly-prepared duck. Look, we're Chinese (Chinese-American), and we were brought up to definitely know how real Chinese food--and for that matter, Peking duck, should taste--and this meal was horrible.
5. When it was time to pay the bill, the restaurant manager who came to write up the bill literally made up the final pirce on the spot--and the price mysteriously shot up to 340 yuan . We ordered 2 Yangling beers in addition to the above meal...the beers may have cost 52 yuan (very unlikely), or the waitress decided she could milk us for more money (most likely). It wasn't worth the trouble to complain because we wanted to get the hell out.
I wouldn't bother writing this, and would have chalked it up to us having fallen victim to a bad tourist trap...unless I had a reason. The reason: there are better Peking duck places in Beijing. We went to Da Dong three nights later, and found the duck to be truly amazing (and with a great, clean atmosphere too). And the surprise? We paid LESS --> 336 yuan at Da Dong for a whole duck, with an appetizer, 2 other dishes, and 2 beers.
Conclusion: Li Qun's days are over. I would not trust any other positive reviews about this place. Don't go, unless you want to waste your time and money.
Favorite Dish: Nothing. It was all bad.
Because the 'big' Peking Duck place was full, our local tour guide took us here. I loved walking through the hutong to get here. I loved the fact that it was not fancy at all. I loved being able to see them roast the ducks. It was a great experience!
Favorite Dish: We had an appetizer that consisted of finely chopped shrimp, scallions, spinach in a cooked duck egg wrapper, and then sliced. That was good. Then came the Peking duck - thin slices of duck skin served with a thin Chinese pancake, scallions, and hoisin sauce. There was so much that we couldn't finish it all. Then came duck soup which was mainly just thin soup that tasted like turkey soup with some scallions in it. We also had an eggplant dish, a chicken with red peppers (that Bill deemed too hot to eat), and a shrimp dish with what looked like rice-crispie treats in it. The last dish presented was the duck carcass that had been deep-fried.
This restaurant has been the object of TV reports and has appeared in different travel guides. This is probably why there are so many tourists and expatriates the restaurant.
At the entrance, we can see the ducks being roasted. As it is situated inside a hutong (it's pretty complicated to find it the first time !), I think it adds to the charm of this restaurant. If you can't find it, don't hesitate to ask locals living in the hutongs, they all know this restaurant !
Favorite Dish: Roast Duck of course !
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