Recently I visited the home of the Peking duck, Beijing. I mean, where else should one eat the oh-so-famous-duck?

When you don't have much time to try out every Peking Duck restaurant in town, you make an attempt to try it at one that is recommended as "the best in town".

In Beijing, the Quan Ju De Restaurant comes highly recommended. Established 130 years ago and, if you count from the time the founder, Yang Renquan actually began his duck business, then it is 160 years old.

What's so special about the duck? Well, after being immersed in unique condiments, the ducks are roasted over flames stoked by fruit-tree wood which is supposed to impart a special flavour to the meat.

Quan Ju De Restaurant has a few branches all over Beijing but the one we tried was at Wanfujing (it's also where the shopping is!). Famous people have graced the restaurants (we can tell by their photos on the wall, including Henry Kissenger and numerous heads of state, etc)

We (5 of us) ordered the Peking Duck (of course!) and also a few other dishes like black pepper beef, tofu and vegetables. Looking through the menu, they also offer "Hump" meat (which after I got someone to translate from the Chinese characters) was actually camel hump meat. There were camel paws as well (the Chinese have a thing about eating feet and paws, I must say ....) ...

The duck didn't make me go WOW! The chef came and carved it in front of us, firstly just the thin slices of the skin only. The duck was very fat and it was really greasy. The skin was also not very crisp.

Second part was the skin with meat, which we would have wrapepd up in the pancakes. The pancakes were really thick and doughy, unlike the translucent thin ones I have normally had when having Peking Duck. The sauce also wasn't like the normal hoisin type sauce we're used to. After our first bites, we all looked at each other and it was like "is this it?" "Is this the BEST Peking Duck Beijing has to offer??? "

Part Three was supposed to be duck soup, using the bones of "our" duck. The soup wasn't like anything we had seen before. It looked like almond soup, as it was white and watery and empty i.e. nothing inside, no veges, no duck bones, etc. After eyeing the waitress suspiciously, we each diligently took sips of our soup. It was tasteless!! No duck taste, not salty nor peppery nor anything except maybe a little oily, if anything.

The other dishes we ordered isn't really worth a mention, similar to other Beijing food. All rather bland and starchy and that would be about right.

One duck costs 187 yuan, which was about RM90.

Would I go again?
Well .. maybe this will be start of Peking Duck quest to hunt for the "best" not the most "famous" Peking Duck in Beijing!!

Beijing Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
13, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Dongcheng District
Hours: 10:30-13:30 16:30-21:00
Tel: 86-10-6525 3310

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