I’m no foodie and won’t pretend to understand the art of cooking BUT I like to eat and I truly appreciate the atmosphere restaurants are creating to complement their food. So, from that perspective, I’ll tell you about my personal experience at the Top 3 Peking Duck Restaurants in Beijing – simply known here as Roast Duck Restaurants 😉
Depending on whom you ask, you’ll get a different answer on which is Number 1. Having said that…
My personal favorite is Duck de Chine.
Strangely enough, it is a relatively newer restaurant. Located in the trendy refurbished factory space of 1949 along with other cool establishments. Duck de Chine embodies the trendy yet traditional imperial atmosphere with its dim lights and shades of red. The restaurant is truly beautiful in a classy and elegant way. The duck? The duck is exquisite! Maybe it is due to the “secret sauce”, the crispy skin or the fact that it is roasted longer than usual making it the leanest roast duck of all three… Whatever it is, it is amazing!!! To complete the experience, it is served with the classic garnish with a modern twist. The traditional chocolaty sauce is swirled with peanut sauce and topped with a pinch of graded garlic. Of course, accompanied by chopped cucumbers, radish and onion along with thin pancakes to wrap all that goodness in. The experience and the taste are simply amazing!
#2 on my list is DaDong.
It is the oldest and most famous Roast Duck restaurant of Beijing which nowadays has numerous locations. We visited the flagship one for the most authentic taste and feel. It is an immense place, decorated in the flashy fancy Chinese way with many neon lights, white feathers hanging from the ceiling, crystals and so on. High-end classy but in a very distinct way… Before I get to the duck however, I have to mention something important and very impressive – The Menu! The menu is HUGE! I would venture a guess and say maybe 200 pages… All well illustrated with a tremendous variety of mouthwatering meal pictures. It is quite intimidating but even before you see it, you should know what you are going to order – The Roasted Duck, duh! And that duck, I have to admit, is absolutely delicious! It did not disappoint! The golden skin is crispy and the duck us cooked to perfection. The only reason it is #2 for me is the fact that it is a bit fattier than Duck de Chine. It is served with a side of the dark chocolaty sauce, sliced cucumbers, radish, onion, graded garlic and diced olives, of course, along with the thin pancakes. Delicious!
Now off to #3… Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant.
It is also one of the oldest and most well-known roast duck restaurants in Beijing with multiple locations but we decided to go again to the flagship one. It is a huge place and the atmosphere is the most traditional Chinese out of the three. As they don’t accept reservations, there is always a lot of people waiting for their number to come up on the screen. Once it does, you are quickly seated and get to order the long awaited reward – Roasted Duck. The Quanjude duck appears to be a favorite among Chinese people – I assume this is due to the fact that it is the fattiest of all. It is greasy and juicy… a bit too fatty for my taste but nevertheless delicious. The assortment of garnishes is more modest than the others – it only comes with the classic chocolaty sauce, sliced spring onion and the thin pancakes. What’s more is that you can see how the duck is prepared. The restaurant showcases the brick ovens where the ducks are hung to be roasted and you can see how the cooks are moving them and ensuring the ducks are roasted to perfection. Another bonus? Location, location, location! It is right in the middle of an amazing renovated and updated hutong district – one of the best in Beijing. But more on that next time 😉