The top of the four, the best of them all. If you're looking for the best Peking duck in Beijing - this is it. With duck so fine and oh so divine, this is food for the gods. While I definitely would want to return to Beijing, it wouldn't be for the Great Wall or for the Forbidden City, it would really be for this. Without further ado, here's presenting to you - Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant.
The accolades on the walls at the entrance speak for themselves. As though these aren't enough, you have various endorsements from Heads of States, Ambassadors and celebrities. In fact, we've even got an autograph from our very own - Singapore President S. R Nathan.
Reservations are a must, else the waiting time can be quite long. I thought having complimentary soft drinks and hot beverages at the waiting area was a nice gesture, though I could tell that everyone just wanted to have their duck as soon as possible. With such anticipation building inside each and every one of us, even the ceremonial presentation and slicing of the ducks was seen as coming between us and that taste of sheer heaven. And when I say heaven, I mean it's like hearing the angels sing.
Da Dong Super Lean Duck
The signature Da Dong Super Lean Duck was fabulous; I would even say it was flawless. When me and my friend had our first bite we were actually silent for quite a while, slowly relishing each second of the delicate duck skin as it melted in our mouths. There wasn't a need for words to describe what we were going through that very minute; that knowing smile said it all.
If you're thinking that a "super lean" duck means a "meat-less" duck, you're wrong. The duck meat, though lean, was sliced in such a meticulous manner that it balanced the delicious crispy skin perfectly. The tender meat was also surprisingly juicier than I would have expected from such lean slices, and was really such a joy to indulge so guiltlessly in. This is unbelievably good Peking duck, pure and simple.
The Pancake was equally light and went very well with the roast duck. It was so smooth and moist that it made some of the other pancakes we had look like sandpaper.
Toasted Sesame Buns
I especially liked the thoughtful addition of Toasted Sesame Buns because they brought another welcomed layer of crispiness to the duck feast. With a generous amount of sublime roasted duck packed in between the buns, it was like having the ultimate duck burger, Chinese-style.
Sauteed Duck Liver with Black Pepper
Not exactly your exquisite French foie gras, but the Sauteed Duck Liver with Black Pepper was nevertheless another stellar dish and it stood its own ground as another highlight of the night. Fork-tender and has the tendency to erupt in emphatic flavour with each bite. Perhaps most importantly of all, the black pepper helped to mask the strong hint of iron in the duck liver, and instead went on to create an addictive spiciness that kept me going back for more, and more, and more. Yums.
Grilled Beef Steak
The Grilled Beef Steak was equally praise-worthy. Though the serving portion was small, it was good enough as an "ad-hoc" appetiser. I especially liked how the herbs and black pepper matched so well with the sweet (and slightly sour) lemon peels. Lovely.
Encore - Da Dong Super Lean Duck
I've certainly not tried them all, but I'm certain that Da Dong serves up one of the best Peking Ducks in Beijing, if not the world. This is my favourite Peking duck and I honestly think it would be difficult to find anything remotely close, much less similar. Perfect score on all measures, a gastronomic dream come true.
198RMB for the Da Dong Super Lean Duck
8RMB per person for the Condiments
68RMB for the Sauteed Duck Liver with Black Pepper
66RMB for the Grilled Beef Steak
* Prices subject to 10% service charge.
No. 3 Tuanjiehu Beikou
(Opposite side of the road from Exit A of the Tuanjiehu train station)
Chaoyang District, Beijing.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.