When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Well, the next saying shall be: When in Beijing, eat as the local do! Peking duck it shall be!!! Hehe... that's what I mean by one track mind ;-)
Eating Peking Duck is an art. Firstly, this is one of China's national dish. It's been served since the imperial era, eaten by many emperors and now, served by many peking roast duck restaurants in the world; the famous of which is Quanjude (全聚德饭店) in Peking and other parts of China. Quanjude has a minimal of 10 outlets in Beijing alone!
Secondly, the eating of Peking Duck has dated back to more than 5 centuries. The oldest Peking Duck restaurant still in operation today Bianyifang (便宜坊) was established back in 1416! That's almost 6 centuries ago! Bianyifang has more than 15 outlets in Beijing alone. Hence, no reason to miss trying Peking Duck at all ;-)
Quanjude (全聚德) is the most famous restaurants in Beijing if you wish to go for this famous Chinese dish.
The 3 course meal 1) The Skin
After it's been roasted, the chef will present the roast duck and sliced the roasted crispy skin in front of his guests. It's quite a show for the first timers and an impressive one for a host who's treating his guests to a sumptuous meal. Hence, many Chinese love to treat their foreign guests to this meal. Aside from the roast duck, you will also see condiments and chinese pancakes on your table. The skins and meat of the duck is to be wrapped with the pancake as in a spring roll or summer roll. Add the black sweet sauce, spring onions and some sugar accordingly and then have a whole mouthful of the filling to your heart's content. I'd advise those who are not proficient with the chopsticks to simply eat with your hand. There is no need to make a fool of yourself in this case ;-) Trust me on this, if you're not used to the chopsticks, do not try it with this!!! I mean the eating part, not the part about picking up the fillings though! Never use your hands to pick up anything from the center of the table! ;-) (Follow the lead of your host and you'll be fine.)
2) The Meat
Some of the meat will be left on the table. These can be eaten simply but dipping them in some of the black sauce and there is no need to wrap them with the pancakes.
3) The Soup / The Broth Sometimes, they are packed and taken home. But it's great to have them made into soup/broth by the restaurant itself. This will complete the meal itself and if you're still not full by then, there are still more duck dishes for you to sample!
Other offals available are: Duck heart, liver, gizzard & webs as pictured below.
Last but not least, I've recently acquired a passion for duck tongue! Boy, it's an awesome hors-d'œuvre and you can find it in many places in China!
Peking Duck in Hong Kong
Interestingly, Peking duck is equally good in Hong Kong if not even better than China. The best I've had was from Peking Garden (北京楼) at both Pacific Place (Tel: 2845 8452) & Alexandra House (Tel: 2526 6456).
If you're anywhere around Hong Kong, do make sure you grab the opportunity to try out Peking Duck! You won't regret it!
The best Peking Duck, as the name implies, has to be in Peking, right? The answer, yes and no! There is only a handful of restaurant serving excellent Peking Duck in Beijing even unless the same flagship of restaurants (namely 全聚德) as you'll have to know which outlet is the best of the lot. On the safer side, Peking Garden in HK is surprisingly good. In fact, the best I've had although that was quite a long time ago. I was informed by friends that the one in … more
The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is often eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names. A variant of the dish known as crispy aromatic duck has been created by the Chinese community in the United Kingdom.