We have just returned from a whirlwind three days in Beijing, and I feel like we barely scratched the surface of this impressive city. While not as glitzy and charming (or as pretty and clean) as Shanghai, the capital does boast multiple World Heritage sites and a slew of important historical relics. It also has roast duck. I did some research online before we left and settled on Peking Duck, Private Kitchen for our first roast duck experience.
As soon as we walked in, we were happy with our choice. We loved the dark woods, cozy seating arrangements and the whimsical birdcage light fixtures. When we noticed the napkins were folded into the shape of a duck, we smiled like children on Christmas morning, eagerly anticipating the culinary gifts to come.
The first course arrived immediately and consisted of several pieces of crispy duck skin that were as light as air and practically melted on your tongue. From the online reviews we knew to coat it in the sugar on the plate. It sounds a little strange but was delicious!
While the rest of the duck was being carved, we were served a delectable beef dish that we couldn’t stop eating. The tender meat was cooked in oolong tea and sesame seeds, and then tossed with sauteed peppers and fried basil. After getting used to Sichuan food, we were able to eat the peppers like they were pickles and greedily ate every morsel.
The rest of our duck was brought over next, along with a steaming basket of dumpling wrappers. We made little spring rolls using the succulent duck meat and skin and assorted vegetables and dipped them into the plum sauce (which the waitress refilled without prompting). This dish was so amazing that we seriously considered ordering a second duck.
To round out the meal, we had the “Chinese style cabbage,” which was cooked in a wonderful butter sauce with some unidentifiable but tasty bits. We also sampled the sweet and sour pork with pineapple. It was a better-than-average rendition, especially with the fresh pineapple, but we were getting full by this point and couldn’t finish the plate.
The last course was a soothing consomme made from the duck carcass. We were given a small vat of it and the waitress spooned out our first servings. I found a dried date in mine, which was a pleasant surprise. Apparently dried dates are considered beneficial to women’s reproductive health in traditional Chinese medicine. Once finished, we waddled out of the restaurant and dreamed about the roast ducks we would eat on our next trip to Beijing.
Have you ever tried Peking Duck?