Peking Duck: How & Where to Eat Roast Duck in Beijing?
With a high reputation in the world, Beijing Roast Duck, aka Peking Duck, is a famous time-honored Beijing dish that is popular in the whole country.
For Chinese people, having a taste of Beijing Roast Duck during their visit to Beijing is one of their must-do things. Nowadays, an increasing number of foreigners traveling to Beijing fall in love with this palatable roast duck.
Why Is It Called Peking Duck?
- The first mention of roast duck can date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368) when it appeared in a text written by an inspector of the imperial kitchen.
- During the following Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), roast duck was regularly included on the imperial menu.
- The roast duck that came to be associated with Peking was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty.
- In 1416 the first known restaurant to specialize in roast duck opened in Beijing called Bianyifang.
- In 1864 another duck restaurant opened called Quanjude.
What Makes Beijing Roast Duck Special?
With carefully selected materials and top-quality Beijing force-fed fat duck weighing about 3 kilometers each, Beijing Roast Duck features crispy skins, delicate meat quality, and mellow taste, taking on a reddish bright color and tasting fat but not greasy.
Besides, it takes a lot of time and manpower to cook Peking ducks. Usually, a roast duck with a weight of 3 kilograms can be sliced up into over 100 thin slices composed of both meat and skin.
Eating Beijing Roast Duck must be in the appropriate seasons, otherwise, the taste will be affected. The best seasons to have Beijing Roast Duck are winter, spring and autumn, when the Beijing ducks are the fattest and plumpest and the temperature and humidity are suitable for making roast duck.
How to Eat Beijing Roast Duck?
To avoid the greasy taste of meat, a Beijing Roast Duck is usually served with sugar, condiments, and side dishes:
- Duck sauce – normally made of plum sauce and sweet bean sauce;
- Vegetables – usually carrots, cucumber, green onions, and garlic;
- Side dishes – thin pancakes (or hollow sesame biscuits).
The way to eat the roast duck is to pick up a piece of pancake, spread the sauce on it, then add vegetables and a slice of duck meat with skin. Finally, wrap the pancake and eat it with your hands!
Three Combinations of Eating Roast Duck
Different combinations of sauce and condiments create different flavors of roast duck. There are three recommendations:
1. Eat with white sugar: In the old times, ladies of rich families didn’t eat green onion or garlic. Thus, when they ate Beijing Roast Duck, they usually dipped the crispy duck skin in white sugar. This way of eating Beijing Roast Duck with white sugar lasted to the present.
2. Eat with sweet bean sauce and shredded green onion: Many people like to put a little sweet bean sauce on the lotus leaf-shaped pancake, and then put some slices of roast duck, some shredded green onion, cucumber sticks or radish strips on the pancake. At last, roll up the lotus leaf-shaped pancake and eat it.
3. Eat with sweet bean sauce and mashed garlic: Dipping slices of roast duck in mashed garlic and sweet bean sauce is a distinctive way of eating roast duck, which is preferred by many people.
Where to Get the Best Peking Duck in Beijing?
Beijing boasts a number of roast duck restaurants. Among them, the most famous ones are as follows:
- Quanjude – focuses on traditional manual techniques;
- Bianyifang – famous for its cold stoking technique and attaching importance to nutrition;
- Dadong – uses exotic and “top secret” ingredients and caters to high-end crowds;
- Siji Minfu – features traditional Beijing dishes and roast duck.
Click the 7 Best Roast Duck Restaurants in Beijing to know more.
Enjoy Authentic Peking Duck on Our Beijing Tours
If you want to have a taste of the authentic Beijing Roast Duck while traveling to Beijing, we can customize a private food tour for you, which can save your time and money and trouble-free. Please feel free to tell us your idea!
Below are the top 3 of our newly designed Beijing tours: