The Peking Roast Duck (北京烤鸭) from Quanjude (全聚德) is our very first meal when we arrived in Beijing, and it is OH. MY. GOD. With the taste so heavenly, it is the ultimate duck that anyone visiting Beijing should give it a try.
The duck arrived our table flaming hot I thought I could still hear the sizzling sounds of residual heat cooking the duck. The chef sliced off the meat dexterously, starting with the best part of the duck, the skin on the breast.
The skin pieces are absolutely decadent as if all the duck essence has concentrated into the few pieces of skin, unparalleled with any other parts of the duck. The skin pieces are crunchy, crispy and locking in all the flavorful duck awesomeness. I always thought a good Peking roast duck should have paper-thin skin now I have changed my mind. While the skin from other parts of the duck is delicate and thin, the breast skin is THICK. THICK, THICK, THICK. Thicker than any KFC fried chicken you can get.
The skin has an interesting texture – porous, cookie-like and it bursts into a mouthful of buttery oily goodness that you will always remember. Try the skin alone, without dipping into any sauce, the original flavor will tantalize you taste buds and make you crave for more.
After a few pieces of the duck skin, the first plate of sliced duck meat is ready.
The sheer skin shines with a beautiful gloss while the meat as succulent as it can get.
Here is the complete ensemble of the duck – two plates of sliced meat, one plate of breast skin, the duck head and the duck carcass which the chef has taken away to make duck soup.
While I am raving so much about the duck, the white duck soup is rather plain and simple, not too much taste really.
The waiter will show you a demo of how to wrap the meat with the pancakes. The waiter wrapped it up so fast by the time I took a shot, he already finished wrapping! Don’t know how to eat Peking duck like an expert? Check out my other post on Melbourne Peking Duck in Kl, where I have simple diagrams that show you how to wrap step by step:)
The duck comes with a dozen of pancakes and simple condiments.
The roast is superb with beer.
At the end of the meal, we got a postcard cum certificate. The certificate says my duck’s serial number is 641051. Once you flip it over, it becomes a post card, and stamp-ready too! That’s kind of a cool way to let you friends and family know that you ate
the Beijing delicacy!
Since there was only two of us, we couldn’t order too much. We thought of ordering half a duck and try something else, but all the other things didn’t interest me too much – duck tongue, duck feet, duck heads, duck hearts, duck innards…. anything duck. So we decided to order one duck to share. It is cheaper that way too. If you order half a duck, everything else, even the condiments and pancakes come as a la carte which you have to order separately. If you order a whole duck, the condiments and pancakes are inclusive. Price wise I would say it’s reasonable for something so delicious though it is quite high-end considering that at some other restaurants, you can get a Peking duck as low as RMB 95 per duck.
The dining environment is brightly lit with a very Chinese atmosphere and that’s the way it should be, eating a classic Beijing dish that has been passed on for many generations. We were there early, around 4.30pm and by the time we finished at 6 pm, the restaurant was full-house (from the looks of it, 50% were probably tourists)!
The very grand lobby with receptionists welcoming you.
At the lobby, there is a golden duck that’s crowned as duck king. Quanjude rightfully deserves that name and even Chairman Mao endorsed Quanjude. The golden words behind the duck are quotes from Chairman Mao and they say “Quanjude Must Be Preserved Forever” (全聚德要永远保存下去).
The Hepingmen branch (和平门) was the one we went to. It’s the biggest duck restaurant in Asia and possible the biggest one in the world too with an area of 161,458 square feet (15,000 square meter). Crazy right? All that space just for serving duck, duck, duck and more duck. There’s about 8 branches of Quanjude in Beijing, including one popular one at the Wangfujing station. Be there early to avoid disappointment!
Here is more of Quanjude’s menu 🙂
More Info on Quanjude
Quanjude Official Website
Hepingmen Branch Address: 14 Qianmen West Street, Beijing, 100051 China
Getting there: Subway Line 2, Hepingmen Station, Exit C.