Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant

12 Jan

I’d been in Beijing almost three months and not gone to a proper roast duck (Beijing kaoya) restaurant in that time, but was very fortunate to be invited to dinner with some Chinese friends to Quanjude Restaurant near Wudaokou train station. It’s meant to be a newer version of the famous roast duck chain, in the university district.  Our friend did our ordering for us, and also requested the waitresses to tell us the history of the roast duck, which we heard was roasted only over wood from fruit trees, and blown up prior to cooking so it cooked just right.

Waiters brought our whole duck to the table to show us before it was carved into thin thin slivers back in the kitchen. The best duck skin was brought out first. Ten divine pieces of crisp and fat which we dipped in sugar and ate. So moist and tasty. The slivers of meat and skin were then brought to us, arranged beautifully in criss-cross. I’ve heard to slice the meat is an art, with skilled chefs able to cut between 100 and 120 slices in four or five minutes, and also with equal portions of skin and meat. At the end of the meat the duck head (beak intact) was sliced in half. We dipped the thinly-sliced duck into the sweet plum sauce and spread it onto an ever-so thin pancake, topping it with thinly chopped shallots and cucumber, then rolling it up. The kitchen had left the right amount of fat on the duck, so despite the thinness of the cut, every bite had a delicious mouthful of tender, succulent duck, sweet sauce, crunchy fresh cucumber, zesty spring onion and ultra-light pancake. We also had lettuce leaves to make the pancake from, and little hamburger-style sesame seed buns to make duck burgers in.

It was quite a treat, and dining with a local meant we were treated as locals and not as tourists would have been. I also suspect the price was cheaper because of that! Lastly a duck soup was brought out – a thin, milky-looking soup with cabbage, which had a faint taste of duck in it and left my lips feeling a little greasy. Other dishes we had included yummy tofu rounds with lotus root and pork inside, a prawn, mushroom and “jelly” type gelatinous dish, tender pepper beef and eggplant with pork. An amazing mushroom soup with almost every type of mushroom inside started the meal off perfectly. But it’s the duck people come here for, and it was the duck I was also impressed by. I don’t eat much duck at home, but to eat duck like this in Beijing was quite special. Our friends also got to take the duck carcass home, which would have made for a tasty soup the next day. I’ve read a bit about Quanjude – very mixed reviews about the price and the atmosphere, but I think being at the Wudaokou branch and ordering with locals made our dining experience exciting and new rather than touristy, over-done or over-priced.

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2 Responses to “Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jing Zun Kao Ya « thehungrytravellers - March 15, 2011

    […] Peking duck can come with a high price tag. Da Dong, Duck de Chine, Quanjude…they all have pretty pricey ducks, particularly for a volunteer to be dining out on. So luckily […]

  2. Da Dong « thehungrytravellers - July 9, 2011

    […] not the, top restaurant for duck in Beijing. Many guidebooks recommend a meal in either Da Dong or Quanjude for traditional Beijing kao ya (Peking duck). The awards and plaques on the walls are there on show, […]

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