When in Rome, one must do as the Romans do. When in Beijing, one must eat Peking roast duck :).
There are dozens of restaurants that serve this famous dish throughout Beijing and a few well-known ones such as Bianyifang Roast Duck (便宜坊烤鸭店), Quanjude (全聚德烤鸭店), Made in China (长安壹号) and Da Dong Roast Duck (大董烤鸭店).
For the well-known ones, it’s advisable to make reservation. We couldn’t get a table at our first attempt, so our guide helped us book a table for the next day at Da Dong Roast Duck. We almost had to give up our table as we were late leaving Ming Tombs and caught in rush hour traffic. Luckily my guide managed to extend our table reservation time and we made it in the nick of time. Phew!!
The restaurant occupies the whole floor in a shopping mall, Jinbao Building (金宝大厦). The décor is modern and clean but a little dim. They have spotlights shining on each table though.
For the four of us, we ordered a fried chicken dish, a simple stir-fry vegetables and of course the duck.
Each of us was served a plate of condiments consisting sweet sauce, cucumber, radish, spring onion, grated garlic, sugar and pickled vegetables which cost an extra RMB8 per person.
Our duck was brought to the table side and being carved skillfully right before our very eyes.
Finally after waiting for what seemed like ages, the duck was served. Da Dong’s claim to fame is their leaner, less oily duck and crisp thin skin. I must say the skin was really thin and crisp with not an iota of fat. One only needs to dip the skin in sugar and its absolutely delicious.
Thin pancakes and crisp buns are to be eaten with the duck meat.
Each table is assigned a waiter/waitress and they demonstrate the right way to prepare the pancakes with slices of meat and the condiment. She also assembled a duck-filled bun for us before leaving us to enjoy our meal. Though the duck meat was lean, it was still succulent and tasty.
To round up the meal, we were served a plate of fresh dates, on the house :). The dates were really sweet and crunchy. It was my first time eating fresh dates.
We made reservation – for those who did not, waiting for 45 mins to 1 hour for a table is quite normal. Fret not though, there are bar tables and seats near the koi pond for patrons. Best of all, free drinks are provided. Patrons can choose between soft drink or wine.
Overall, it was a great meal and service was good and the bill came up to RMB573 (about RM305). The duck itself cost RMB238 but it was well worth the price. However the pot of tea we ordered was rather expensive – RMB120 if I remember correctly. So don’t order tea if you plan to dine in Da Dong.