Beijing Food

Peking Duck

Peking duck dinnerWhat is Peking Duck
A delicious, lightly-smoked, rich meal complimented by pancakes, dipping sauce, vegetable filling and irresistible slivers of juicy meat, fat and crispy skin. Peking Duck is said to originate from Inner Mongolia and was first served in a Peking restaurant in 1855. The original recipe for Peking Duck includes a description of how to build and fire the oven for smoking the bird!

The Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant leads the popular duck front, and you'll find many of them in Beijing. Bianyifang Restaurant features another way of roasting duck, that is also delicious.

Old Name, New Experience

Peking roast duck is a signature dish in China's capital city, but there's more than one way to roast a duck, and that has opened a door to competition in a field that is hotly contested by some of Beijing's most famous Time Honoured Brands (laozihao).

One of these is 600-year-old Bianyifang, a Peking roast duck restaurant with a difference, located on Chongwenmen Dajie near the Hademen Hotel in Chongwen District.

What is the difference of Peking Duck?

The Peking roast duck tradition is divided into two schools, roast duck made using a "closed" oven (where the heat radiates from inner-oven walls) and roast duck made using "half-open" ovens (where the duck is hung over a heating source such as a wood fire). Unlike some of its famous competitors, Bianyifang's product is representative of the closed-oven type; its taste is easily recognizable by experienced Beijingers. It is made without using an open fire, and involves a specially made soup that fills the duck while it's cooking. That is, the duck roasts outside and boils inside during the cooking process. Tan outside and tender inside, fat, but not greasy, closed-oven roast ducks enjoy a reputation as a green food. That is the major reason why Bianyifang is considered irreplaceable and has survived during its long history in China.

Where is the best restaurant to have Peking Duck Dinner
Beijing's laozihao restaurants, whatever their products or methods, seem to transcend the marketing chaos of modern food service chains. Their names are instantly recognizable, durable, and epitomize quality. These are super brands, and when one thinks kaoya (Peking roast duck), names like Bianyifang are the ones that come to mind.

It is said that eating roast duck in Beijing is like attending a fine symphony. Peking roast duck symbolizes the ancient capital city much in the same way that Coca-Cola evokes an identity with the United States wherever it is served.

For kaoya lovers, an evening at Bianyifang is a treasured experience, where people engage in fine dining, instead of stuffing themselves with microwaved fast foods. You have to be patient to savour a famous Peking roast duck, and it eating should be regarded as a grand occasion.

A proper presentation of the duck is an important part of the evening. You will never see Beijingers digging into a fine roast duck, tearing the leg or wings off with abandon, which is an injustice to the duck and the roast duck tradition.

Instead, a skilled chef clad in a pure white gown, smiling, will elegantly and swiftly slice the duck into bite-sized pieces, featuring just the right amount of skin and meat. Like snowflakes, they are piled on a clean porcelain plate and readied for you.

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