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adrianlondon

Peking Duck in Beijing

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adrianlondon

My parents are coming to visit me in a couple of days, and I want to take them out for Peking Duck (北京烤鸭).

They're staying near Wangfujing and for this night I want to eat somewhere locally. I know there's a Quanjude on or just off Wangfujing Dajie itself, but that's quite touristy. Not as bad as the one on Qianmen Dajie though.

Are there any alternatives? I can search guidebooks myself, so I'm really after personal recommendations (or friends-of-friends etc). If anyone has eaten in the Quanjude in Wangfujing, is it popular for good reason?

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adrianlondon

Thanks for that - the summary seems to be that quanjude is OK.

I've had Beijing duck (it's still called Peking duck in London; I'll have to break this habit) a few times in places near me (near BNU) but they're just cheap, simple affairs. The duck is ok; nothing special.

I've been to a proper duck restaurant once; Duck King (押往) which was very good, but not central.

I'll probably take them to Quanjude off Wanfujing Dajie and then report back. I'll stick to the thread you linked to so that all the recommendations stay in one place, with the idea that people able to use the search facility will find it :oops:

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Kiwijes

While it's probably too late for you now (sorry!) there is a place not too far off that does a pretty good duck. It's in the Quanmen Jianguo hotel. This hotel also houses the Liyuan Chinese Opera theatre so could make for a good touristy night out for your olds?

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adrianlondon

Thanks for the tip! In the end, we didn't eat out anywhere near Wangfujing.

We ended up having duck in a simple place near my University. To be fair, all places near BNU are simple :) The duck was around 50y all in; and the quality was ok.

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thph2006

Wow, I'm extremely disappointed now. I'm traveling to Beijing soon and was planning to visit several supposedly "great" restaurants described in an old book I have about Chinese Master Chefs. According to the book one of the featured chefs, Chen Shoubin, ran what was described as the original and definitive Peking Duck restaurant called Quanjude (全聚德烤鸭店). It even said hotels all over China sent chefs to Quanjude to learn their roasting technique.

Well, the book was written over 25 years ago so I guess somewhere along the way Quanjude turned into a chain and now isn't so good. Is the original 全聚德烤鸭店 still around? Is it better than the other locations or should I just resign myself to the fact that it's no longer the best? (or maybe never was).

If anyone has updated (2007) suggestions for the best 北京烤鸭 I'd love to hear them.

Thanks, Tom

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elina

A related thread:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/5899-where-to-eat-in-beijing

If you can read Chinese, some updated info on 北京烤鸭 can be found here:

http://www.dianping.com/search_k/2/10_%e7%83%a4%e9%b8%ad/p1o2

In the above link, I chose the selection of “口味”,you can also choose either of them:

排序: 默认 综合 口味 环境 服务 人气 人均 会员商户

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adrianlondon

Quanjude is just a chain now. The original one is on Qianmen Dajie. Apparently the duck is still good, but as they are now more used to dealing with coach loads of tourists than discerning diners, I've been told the service is very swift and that their main priority is in taking your money and turfing you back on the street.

When in Beijing and wanting something "posher" than the standard duck and pancake offerings in the cheaper places, we went to Dadong (there are two; the newer one is at Nanxincang). It was very good, although they doubled the price a few months ago, claiming that the original price (a very reasonable 90y) was a special offer.

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gougou

After hearing everybody recommend them, I checked out Li Qun (利群烤鸭店), which really had supremely tasting peking duck. Or maybe I was just hungry from the time we spent getting there and looking for it amidst the rubble of hutongs in various stages of demolition.

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cdn_in_bj

I can suggest 鸭王 on Jianguomenwai Ave. It's pretty good and also reasonably priced.

I used to go quite often but I haven't been there in a while as I no longer live in the area. Also I've been cutting back on the fatty meats as the doctors told me to watch my cholesterol levels. But peking duck is still one of my favourites here. :)

I've also been to the Quanjude on Wangfujing, but only once. We had to wait a long time to get a table, and the duck didn't seem that special to me. It was also quite expensive too.

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shanghaikai

This is definitely an conundrum for my company, adex360. For many tourists to Beijing, Beijing Duck is a common "must-experience" and some of them have heard or read about Quanjude being "definitive." For those of us who have had Beijing duck many times, we pretty much conclude that Quanjude is a bit of a tourist trap rather than good duck for your buck. Nonetheless, were we to take them somewhere else that is either better or just better value, people might complain about not going to Quanjude. It is an incredibly annoying problem when the food is so-so, the service is awful, and the pricing inflated but its reputation forces you to go there. Damned if you do and often damned if you don't. :cry:

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adrianlondon

It's an easy problem to sovle though; you just point out that the whole "Peking Duck" experience is a bit touristy anywhere and that if they don't mind, Quanjude is acceptable.

If they do mind, and want something more in line with a typical Chinese Banquet, then do a guanxi deal with a decent 5-star hotel that has a good rep for their food.

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thph2006

For me it's about two things, first the taste, second the show. I've had Peking Duck and the simpler roasted duck offshoots many times in the US (San Francisco Bay area) and in Hong Kong. In my experience even the best US places couldn't compare to what I had in Hong Kong. The duck was much more flavorful, the textures really stood out and the way it was served in Hong Kong was more like a revered ceremony than just hacking up a duck, as was often the case in the states.

So what I'd like to find is the best Beijing has to offer in taste and presentation. If it turns out it's a really expensive experience I suppose I'll accept it for the experience. If it turns out to be the cheapest meal in Beijing at some little hideaway restaurant, all the better! I just don't want to leave the place feeling ripped off because I was suckered into a bad tourist experience.

I think with all the good feedback I won't be too worried now.

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adrianlondon

Go to the newer Dadong branch. They blanch the duck (I think that's the technical term for what they do - dip it into boiling water then cool it) before roasting it. It removes some of the fat and makes the fat that's left, and the skin, extra tasty imo.

It's probably not cheap any more, but it's a good venue and you can get a private room if you book one for 4 or more people. You get dedicated-ish staff too if you do that (they're shared with another room).

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shanghaikai

I've had Peking duck around the world as well and I would definitely put my bets on Hong Kong. The Cantonese, aside from eating just about anything, really do it for me with their cooking. Women, not so much. :mrgreen: But yes, I would NEVER starve in Hong Kong and insofar as my taste buds are indoctrinated by past experiences, I'm not afraid to claim that the Hong Kongers have it better than Beijing. Others may differ, and that's fine, but I know what I like in this regard. I honestly don't care about the presentation either, so I'd say the Peking duck in the states (LA, SF, etc.) can be fantastic too (and more plentiful too...maybe bigger ducks or something). :mrgreen:

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cdn_in_bj
I can suggest 鸭王 on Jianguomenwai Ave. It's pretty good and also reasonably priced.

I just thought I'd follow up on this. I went back to 鸭王 a few days ago with a friend who was visiting and the duck was superb. We had the "traditional roast duck" which was 128 RMB for the whole duck. I originally was going to order the "duck made 3 ways" (一鸭三吃) for 198 RMB, but my friend was only interested in the 烤鸭.

Getting there can be a bit tricky. If you're coming from the west on Chang An Ave, have your driver get onto the side road right before you reach the East 2nd Ring Road (Jianguomen bridge). You'll hit some traffic lights under the bridge, but keep going in the same direction. Once you pass under the bridge, there will be a lane to back onto the main road - DON'T follow that. Just stay on the side road until it ends, at which point you will be forced to make a right turn. You can get off after making the turn. There will be a McDonalds on the corner, followed by a very elaborate looking foot massage place*, and I believe 鸭王 is right beside that. However, it's easy to miss - look for the characters "鸭王" on a wooden sign above the door.

*If anyone's been to Liangxi Foot Massage, I wouldn't mind seeing a review.

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Long Zhiren

Great thread.

My impression is that the authentic local variety is heavy on fat, oil and skin; and the tourist variation is a little meatier and healthier. Is this not true or did I get suckered?

Do all of the places reviewed here qualify towards the unhealthy or the healthy quality?

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Long Zhiren

bump. anyone? thanks.

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cdn_in_bj

At the insistence of my friend, we visited Dadong, the one near west 3rd ring road. It wasn't bad but we both preferred 鸭王. At 158 RMB it was the 2nd most expensive roast duck I've had here, after Quanjude. The appetizers and other main dishes were very expensive at Dadong. Our meal there ended up being about twice as expensive as at 鸭王. We also had to wait over 1hr wait to get a table, however the complimentary wine did make it a bit more bearable.

We also tried the duck when we went to Xiao Wang's. It was just under 130 RMB however they don't cut the meat at your table so it's no longer hot and not as satisfying as the other roast duck places. However, they were quite generous with the serving size.

As for your question about fattiness, I actually have not compared. But generally the duck at the places I mentioned don't seem to be that heavy on the fat. After being here for a while, I've come to learn that whatever tastes good is usually bad for you, so I don't think about these things anymore. :)

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bianfuxia

I recently ate PK/BJ duck in Wudaokou at Guolin which we have found to be the best of the places we've tried, which include Quanjude at Qianmen and Liqun.

At Guolin, it's about 70 kuai for the duck and pancakes and other stuff, they cut it in front of you (fun for visitors) and it is nice. The restuarant is nothing amazing but the food is good and the bathrooms clean. Yummier than Quanjude and Liqun, much cleaner than Liqun, and alot cheaper. The service is terrible at Quanjude. At Guolin it is slightly better than the average Chinese place.

Where is it?

Corner of Xueyuanlu and QingHuaDongLu (if I remember correctly). Basically head north up Xueyuanlu from the front gate of BLCU and at the huge set of traffic lights you'll see Guolin lit up like a xmas tree.

OK, Wudaokou is a hike from anywhere other than Wudaokou, but if you team it up with a visit to the Summer Palace or the Olympics, it ties in nicely.

Another good place is, or was, out at Dashanzi. I can't recall the name, but if you cross the road from Dashanzi by means of the footbridge, and then go round behind the main street to the alley behind, there'sa kaoya place there (seems to be the only one nearby so you can just ask). We went there a few times, it was about 60-ish I think, they cut it in front of you, and it was yummy no nonsense duck. Small, clean resturant.

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