Monday, May 21, 2012

Beijing: Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant (大董烤鸭店)

Peking Roast Duck is one of the most popular meals in Beijing, prepared since the imperial era, with the first established restaurant serving the dish going as far back as 1416. 

One of the things we really looked forward to in Beijing is the roast duck from Da Dong. After days of quick meals (fast food, instant noodles and Starbucks snacks), we finally got the chance to enjoy a decent meal. Da Dong was our only choice for roast duck, known for its leaner cuts and value for money. 

Good thing, a Da Dong branch was located just across Jinbao Street from our hotel at Wangfujing. We got to the restaurant a little past 1pm, which automatically assured us seating.

Restaurant Interior:
The restaurant looked very modern, far from how I imagined for it to be. Going in, you will see ducks hanging from hooks ready to be roasted in apple and pear wood ovens . The restaurant made me feel like they really are "duck experts", with a main hall where the chefs seemed to convene, waiting for the next customers to arrive.

Be wary in ordering items though, because if you fail to convert currencies before ordering, you will end up getting a glass of tea for PhP 500. This served its purpose to wash down all the oil consumed in the end. 

The Food:
We tried out the braised eggplant first (a house specialty), which was just heavenly. Rich and tarty, perfect to start the meal. This is the best form of eggplant I have tried in my life, extremely worth it at RMB 58.

Next served was the "extra order" prawn and basil. Nothing can go wrong with fresh seafood and basil. This dish is rated 4/5.

For this wild card order (we had the waitress choose for us), we tried the beef with green lemon and sea salt. Be careful in choosing the quantity (S, M, L), because this wild card meal doubled our total bill!

The meal was prepared by a chef beside our table, who didn't bother to ask us how we we'd like the meat done. As I observed the preparation, the chef didn't put any oil or seasoning but fried it using the meat's fat. The trick to this meal is to dip the meat on the lemon zest and sea salt garnish. We found this meal very good. 5/5

The set of condiments laid out was a variety of scallions, hoisin sauce, cucumber, pickles, radish, and of course, sugar.

Alas, the duck.

We had no problem getting the hang of the stages for preparing and eating the roast duck. This waitress guided us to first, dip the skin in sugar, and just eat it. The second way is to add spring onions and sweet bean sauce, then wrap it using the crepe. The "steamed pancake / crepe" is far from the lumpia-wrapper we have here. They are way thinner, very soft and stretchy. Perfect compliment to the crunchy skin and vegetables.


Testing its stretch-ability
The third and best way is to sandwich the duck meat in toasted sesame seed-topped buns, filled with radish, cucumber and hoisin sauce.

Complimentary hot black sesame congee was served as dessert.

Another complimentary dessert, mandarin oranges served with dry ice. Nice effect, juiciest and most plump mandarin oranges I have tried. 

The Awards:
Da Dong has been garnering awards consistently, "Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year" for Beijinger's annual Reader Restaurant Awards. 

I would definitely recommend this restaurant to friends and family who will be visiting Beijing. If you're on a tight budget, at least try the duck. (RMB 198).

Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant
5/F, Jinbao Dasha, Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng District

Dongsishitiao 东四十条
1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng District

Tuanjiehu 团结湖
3 Tuanjiehu Beikou, Dongsanhuan Lu (southeast corner of Changhong Qiao), Chaoyang District


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