I think it’s fair to say the world’s best Beijing duck is found in Beijing and for duck in Beijing it is hard to look past Da Dong Beijing Duck Restaurant. Not the cheapest but with little more than one opportunity for duck in Beijing I’m sure as hell not going to pass on it. At the time it was a flip up between both Da Dong Beijing Duck and Quan Ju De in the central Wangfujing area of Beijing with both restaurant locations a stone’s throw from one another. While Quan Ju De is the big name in Beijing Duck it does lose hands down to Da Dong in reviews; an easy decision in the end.
I personally eat and love any food put in front of me so on this occasion I rely on Fanfan’s critique for Da Dong’s Beijing Duck. Not only is she completely new to Beijing Duck / Peking Duck but she has always refused to eat them in Bangkok (expensive). In Beijing she can’t refuse and on January 1st at 11:30 we call to Da Dong Beijing Duck Restaurant for our New Year’s lunch. Not a great start. Having walked out on a restaurant the previous night; things were now shaping up to be the same. After confusion with the wine we wait close to 30 minutes for the duck to arrive. When it does it’s small. The waiter earlier convinced us half a duck was enough for two and we reluctantly followed his judgement. “Is that it?”….. “Is that it?” Fanfan was not happy… I was a little scared. “Is that it?”. She grudgingly rolls a pancake, fits it in her mouth. “It’s amazing,”… “It’s amazing.” Fanfan never says anything is amazing; maybe a ‘Yeah it’s okay’ but never an “amazing”. I thought she’d maybe had too much wine but no it was me who’d nearly finished the bottle.
I’m no expert on ‘how to cook duck’ but I’m guessing this was ‘to perfection’. I’ve tasted few things better. The crunch of cucumber, bite of spring onion and hoisin sauce rich like chocolate. Despite the jittery start our only regret was not ordering a full duck. While the complimentary Tanghulu Candy Haws and Mandarin Oranges do fill us I would much rather have filled on duck, a full duck, maybe two, I’d happily eat it until explosion. I don’t care how much it costs…
Da Dong is a mix of tourists and fancy pants locals. The tourists generally order duck while the locals explore other dishes from Da Dong’s extensive and impressive menu of specialties. Chef Dong’s ‘Artistic Conception Food’ hosts dishes I’d sooner put on my mantle than my mouth (I’m a tad squeamish). The braised spiny sea cucumber, turtle stews, seahorse soups.
Da Dong ‘Superlean’ Roast Duck costs 268 Yuan per duck and necessary condiments (pancakes, sauce, nibbles) cost 8 Yuan. The Da Dong duck is one of the cheaper items on the menu (Full duck prices shown in image above).