You can't go very far in Beijing without seeing the signs for Beijing Duck – something you might know better by the name of Peking Duck. This crispy skinned duck dish has been a favorite for both locals and travelers passing through for centuries, but it is warned that one should only have it at the right places to get the best taste.
Beijing Duck is a process that had been cultivated at least as early as the 1300s. Nowadays, a specific breed of duck (Pekin Duck) is free-range raised for 45 days, and then fed 4 times a day for the next 20 days in order to be fattened up. A duck is then killed, plucked, cleaned and prepared for cooking. Part of the process involves pumping the duck full of air at the neck to release the skin from the fat/meat. The first cooking is done in boiling water then hung to air dry. The skin is glazed before being cooked in an oven, which is when the skin becomes extra crispy.
When served, the predominant section on the platter is the skin, a bit of fat and very little meat. A duck pancake is often concocted by taking a thin pancake, coating it with plum sauce, spring onions, cucumber, and the crispy Beijing Duck before being folded and eaten.
I do enjoy a good Beijing Duck when done well, but as the locals say, there are select places in the city where it is best.
A couple of the oldest and most popular places to get Beijing Duck in Beijing are Quanjude and Bianyifang. Quanjude, for example, has 8 different branches across Beijing alone, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one in your area. Bianyifang on the other hand, has been serving up Peking Duck since the 1400s, and is said to have a steady and reliable menu if you're looking to get more authentic.
Other restaurants in Beijing known for Beijing Duck:
Made in China
1 East Chang'an Avenue, Grand Hyatt Beijing 1/F, Dongcheng District
King Roast Duck
1 Minzuyuan Road, Chaoyang District
Da Dong Roast Duck
Southeast corner of Changhong Bridge on East 3rd Ring Road, Bldg 3 Tuanjiehu Beikou, Chaoyang District
Dayali Roast Duck Restaurant
North Side of Shucun Dongkou, Nongda South Road, Shangdi, Haidian District
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