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Peking duck in Beijing

By: Mark on October 18, 2005 - 8:24pm
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Before China's capital was called Beijing, it was known as Peking... which is where that famous duck comes from.  Just like going to New York for infamous thin crust pizza, there are just as many places to get Peking Duck in Beijing.  When I was there in March, we went to a restaurant chain called, Quanjude Roast Duck RestaurantThis place has been in existence since 1864 and since has opened 5 additional restaurants with similar names.  Unlike the peking duck you get in the states, the serving and preparation comes from 13th century China, when only the upper classes could afford it.  

When they bring the duck out, a carver (wearing a surgeon's mask) rolls out a cart and cuts the duck in front of you.  We were told that expert carvers can consistently cut a duck into 120 pieces, with each piece having a section of meat and a section of crispy skin.  Amazing.  I can barely cut a turkey into 10 pieces without the whole thing falling apart.  Throw in those thin pancakes, some scallions and a little hoisin sauce and you're in HEAVEN!!! 

If you're in Beijing, don't settle for the inferior ducks.... go to the original.  One caveat though.... it is rumored that there are 2 menus.  One in Mandarin and one in English.  The dishes listed on the English menu may not be as "adventerous" (read: sea cucumbers and pigs feet) and are probably not as cheap.  Why do they discriminate and charge non-chinese more for the same dishes???  Because they can.  But it's still so cheap (probably $10 per person) that you won't care.   Wo Bao La = "i'm full"

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