Because we had yet to really grasp the scale of Beijing, we thought walking to a highly-recommended Peking Duck restaurant would be easy enough. It was just three big blocks away, and still considered in the same ‘district’ as our hotel.
Hah. How cute.
1.5 hours later we were ready to give up. Our book map stank and didn’t seem to be leading us to the right place. The only obvious restaurant had huge signs for Chef Dadong’s Braised Sea Cucumber, including an appropriately-
revoltingenticing picture of the cuke. Yeulch.
We looked at another place and were just about ready to give up on dinner when Duncan wandered to the end of the sea cucumber place and found a small sign above the door with the name of the roast duck resto we were looking for. Um hey, Chef Dadong? Wanna advertise your famous duck maybe?
By this point we were exhausted (again), grimy from the walk (again), and I was just about ready to melt into the floor. We watched the dudes roasting the duck in wood fire ovens while waiting for our table.
We ordered some duck, because obviously we had to, and a couple of veggie dishes. By this point we’d already figured out that you mostly seem to eat when things come out, and they come out when they’re ready. As far as we can tell, anyway. We had this totally dreamy braised eggplant and some greens, until our ‘guest selection’ came. Whoops. We were supposed to pick the duck ourselves but Dunc had declined the privilege. Whatever.
It was a somewhat fancy restaurant, so once our duck was carved up, our server came over with chopsticks and took a piece of skin, dipped it in one of the condiments, and lay it on my plate – all with excruciating elegance. If she hadn’t been so damn gracious about it, I probably wouldn’t have tried it.
That would have been my loss.
What I thought was salt was sugar. ZOMG duck skin + sugar = ZOMG. Like delicious fatty, tender candy.
She then daintly showed us the proper form for preparing your little duck in a pancake, and in a sesame pouch.
I thought I might suffer through a bite or two of duck but I ended up doing a pretty good chowing down on it. As usual, Duncan outdid me with food adventurism by trying the brain. We left the other half.
No matter. DELICIOUS DUCK = A++ 100%
Greens and duck condiments
We didn’t mean to buy a whole duck. Worse things have happened to us.