1. Food

The Famous Peking Duck

Peking Duck at Beijing's Quan Ju De Restaurant

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by Guest Author Ronghe Yu
Edited by Rhonda Parkinson

Along with the grand view of the Great Wall, travelers to Peking shouldn't miss trying the Peking Roasted Duck. To enjoy the famous duck, the restaurant Quan Ju De is the best choice for you. It has multiple outlets in Peking (Beijing). The old restaurant first opened in 1860. The duck here is said to be the best in Peking, and the service is very good as well.

Before you take up the menu, you might want to know more about how Peking Roasted Duck is made and how it is served. The ducks are raised for the sole purpose of making the food. Force-fed, they are kept in cages which restrain them from moving about, so as to fatten them up and make the meat comparably tender. Peking Roasted Duck is processed in several steps: first the ducks are rubbed with spices, salt and sugar, and then kept hung in the air for some time. Then the ducks are roasted in an oven, or hung over the fire till they become brown with rich grease perspiring outside and have a nice odor.

Peking Duck is always served in well-cut slices. The whole duck must be sliced into 120 pieces and every piece has to be perfect with the complete layers of the meat. Normally there are many dishes served with the duck, including a dish of fine-cut shallot bars, a dish of cucumber bars and finally a dish of paste-like soy of fermented wheat flour. Without these the dainty duck is surely in the shade.

When first served Peking Duck I hesitated to take up my chopsticks, not knowing what to begin with. There is a knack to it: first, pick up a slice of duck with the help of a pair of chopsticks and dip it into the soy paste. Next, lay it on the top of a thin cake and add some bars of cucumber and shallot. Finally, wrap the stuff into a bundle with the sheet cake (a thin pancake). The real secret of Peking duck's flavor lies in your carefully nibbling away at the mixture. You will find all the different ingredients very compatible. Of course, beer is the popular drink for the dinner. It helps to fade away the greasiness of the duck. But it is not necessary to order extra soup, for the duck-bone soup is always included in your order. It will be served as the rear dish for the dinner.

In my four visits to the different duck restaurants of Quan Ju De, I found the services there were always quite good. And the price of the duck there was quite moderate----400 RMB Yuan for a duck feast. Furthermore, the clean and well-decorated rooms and the character of the waiters and waitresses impressed me quite deeply. "Where's my next restaurant to enjoy the Peking Roasted Duck?" you may ask. Quan Ju De would surely be my answer.

I hope you will enjoy the delicacy of the Roasted Duck on your next visit to Peking. But don't forget to practice dealing with chopsticks before you enter Quan Ju De. However, tips for the service are not necessary in Chinese restaurants, although a pair of chopsticks are.

About the Author:
Ronghe Yu graduated from the Shandong Teacher's University, China, and lives in Shandong province. As a bilingual writer and cameraman, he devotes himself to promoting the exchange of cultures between China and the English world.

Related Links:

Planning a trip to Beijing? Check here for restaurant listings from the Travelchinaguide Web site.
Pictures from the new Quan Ju De restaurant in Shanghai.
The Competition - a Review of Beijing's Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant

Recipes
Peking Duck - a good basic recipe
Mandarin Pancakes
(to accompany Peking Duck or Mu Shu Pork)
How to Make Green Onion Brushes - to brush hoisin sauce on your pancakes
Related Video
How to Butcher a Duck

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