Best Places to Eat Beijing Duck, in Beijing in 2020
When you travel to Beijing there are somethings you just have to do – see the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, explore Beijing hutongs and, of course, try Beijing Duck in Beijing!
TIP – Beijing Roast Duck in Chinese is 北京烤鸭 (Běi jīng kǎo yā).
The dish is one of Beijing’s best and most famous dishes, if not the best and the most famous.
Not only tourists, but also high-ranking government leaders make it a point to eat this dish.
Beijing Duck in Beijing – #1 Quanjude
Beijing Duck in Beijing – #2 Bianyifang
Beijing Duck in Beijing – #3 Dadong
DID YOU KNOW – Duck meat is traditionally eaten in China; it was once called “shāo yāzi” (燒鴨子).
It was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages (飲膳正要 yǐn shàn zhèng yào) manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui (忽思慧) who was an inspector for the imperial kitchen.
During the Ming Dynasty it was one of the main dishes on the menu and the dish as such was first mentioned during the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).
In the 15th century the first restaurant to specialize in roast duck opened in Beijing. This was the Bianyifang (便宜坊 piányí fāng), which opened near Qianmen in 1416.
Quanjude (全聚德 quánjùdé) then followed in 1864.
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Beijing Duck in Beijing – Eating Tips
The way the roasted duck is unique, but also the way it is served and eaten.
The chef comes in front of your table, presents the whole duck to you and then takes it away to be sliced.
In some restaurants the chef slices it in front of you – the slices are thin and contain both the meat and the skin.
The slices are then brought to the table alongside some thin pancakes, green onion or shallots, plum sauce, garlic paste and sugar.
Some restaurants even ask you what to do with the rest of the duck – they can roast it or make it into a soup and you take it home to consume later.
The usual condiments are sweet plum sauce (梅酱 méi jiàng), cucumber and sugar (糖和黄瓜 táng hé huáng guā), mashed garlic (大蒜 dà suàn) and scallions (葱 cōng), sesame biscuits (芝麻饼 zhīmabǐng) and thin pancakes (春饼 chūn bǐng) .
Beijing Duck in Beijing – How to Eat Duck?
Take the pancake in one hand, take the duck slice with your chopsticks, dip it in plum sauce (yummm).
Then put the duck on the pancake, spread the sauce on the pancake using the duck meat, put all the other condiments you want, roll the pancake and voila!
Job done, and one of the most satisfying things you can eat not just in Beijing, but in China.
Beijing Duck in Beijing – When to Eat Duck?
This is when the humidity is optimal for roasting the duck meat.
During the summer the duck meat, which is rather greasy, is too greasy and heavy on the stomach – especially during the Beijing heat.
Where to Eat the Best Beijing Duck in Beijing?
Of course, there are thousands of Beijing restaurants where you can eat Beijing Duck.
I had really good duck in my local restaurant. So you don’t have to go really fancy to eat good Beijing Duck.
Of course, sometimes it’s about the whole experience, so you can chose one of the more famous or well-known restaurants to get the whole experience.
Below are three choices that you absolutely cannot go wrong with.
Beijing Duck in Beijing – #1 Quánjùdé 全聚德
Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant (全聚德 quánjùdé) is one of the most famous, if not the most famous of Beijing Duck restaurants.
It has a long tradition since it was established in 1864.
Its original location was in Qianmen, but it has eight branches all over Beijing and as Wikipedia states, the restaurant chain sells over 2 million roast ducks served in 400 different styles to over 5 million customers annually.
Some of the branches can seat over 1,000 people, so it can get very busy, as you can imagine.
Wikipedia writes about the origin of the restaurant’s name.
We don’t know if it’s true, but we like the story.
Once, when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was hosting important foreign guests at Quanjude, one of the guests asked, “What does Quanjude mean?”. Premier Zhou answered, “Quan (全) means perfection without a flaw, Ju (聚) means gathering without departing, and De (德) means virtues to be supreme.” Therefore, Quanjude together implies perfection, union, and benevolence.
Check out the restaurant’s rating on TripAdvisor for prices, reviews and address.
NOTE – If you wish to visit one of Beijing’s Quanjude restaurants we highly recommend booking before hand. They get incredibly busy, especially during weekends and peak restaurants hours.
If you don’t book, expect to have to wait as long as a piece of string (i.e. any time imaginable)
GETTING THERE – To get to the the Wangfujing Quanjude from LTL Beijing is pretty simple. DAWANGLU > WANGFUJING is on the same line (#1). From there walk north and you are there, super simple.
Beijing Duck in Beijing – #2 Biànyífānɡ 便宜坊
Bianyifang is the oldest Beijing Duck restaurant in Beijing.
As Wikipedia states, “Established in 1416, the original Bianyifang used to be a small workshop, which produced duck and chicken food in Mishihutong (米市胡同), Caishikou, Beijing. In 1827, its owner Sun Zijiu (孙子久) began to extend its business and established a bigger restaurant, where Peking Duck and panish and French Style Duck Liver (西法鸭肝 xīfǎ yā gān) became its “signature dishes”. “
Check out Bianyifang’s TripAdvisor page for prices, address and reviews.
GETTING THERE – To get to one of the central branches of Bianyifang is also easy from LTL Beijing. Take Line 1 of the Beijing Metro DAWANGLU > DONGDAN, then change to Line 5 and take a single stop south to CHONGWENMEN. Walk south and you will arrive.
Beijing Duck in Beijing #3 – Dàdǒng 大董
Dadong is a gem for Beijing Duck in Beijing.
Impeccable service, carved in front of you so delicately, and flavours to die for.
Dadong provides a more up-market experience, yet is priced similarly.
There are actually a number of “Little Dadongs” also dotted around Beijing so you are never far from one!
Take note of the Duck skin – served with sugar, you are supposed to dip the wonderfully fried skin in the sugar. The sugar sticks to the skin giving it a delightfully sweet, melting flavour (think popping candy, but without the pop, and with better flavour).
Enjoy a “melt in the mouth” experience like no other.
100% worth a visit as these TripAdvisor reviews probably confirm.
GETTING THERE – Again, there are many options throughout Beijing but we like the big branch in Gongti (the Beijing Workers Stadium). It’s big, grand and boasts top class service. From DAWANGLU > GUOMAO on Line 1, change to Line 10 and head north to TUANJIEHU, and walk west around 15 minutes before entering the stadium from the east gate, before coming across Dadong Gongti.
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Beijing Duck in Beijing – Other Worthy Mentions
We have a couple of other recommendations.
Jingzun (京尊烤鸭店) is good for big groups and are accustomed to dealing with foreigners and the duck is top drawer.
You should also head to Siji Minfu (四季民福烤鸭店) if you alongside duck meat crave that “old Beijing” feel.
As we said, there are actually hundreds of small, local places to enjoy Beijing duck in Beijing at every single point of the city. Just look out for the characters 北京烤鸭 or just 烤鸭, and you are likely in luck.
What’s left to say, but enjoy?
Did we miss any of your favourites out? Want us to review any other duck restaurants in Beijing? Comment below
Beijing Duck in Beijing – FAQ’s
Bianyifang is the eldest of all the Duck restaurants in Beijing. Established in 1416, the original Bianyifang actually used to be a small workshop.
Beijing Roast Duck in Chinese is 北京烤鸭 (běi jīng kǎo yā).
Yes there are hundreds. There is a wide range of choices from upmarket, expensive options to local, much cheaper options.
Yes you will see 北京烤鸭 restaurants all over China and even filtering into other countries in Asia, such is it’s popularity.
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