I’ve previously written about how yummy Chinese food is in my What Rebecca Eats: Beijing Food Guide, but in this post I want to focus in on the star of the show, Peking duck at Duck de Chine.
Did you know that Peking duck has been prepared since the Imperial Era and in 1416 the first restaurant specialising in Peking duck, Bianyifang, was established in Qianmen, Beijing? With 600 years of history, Peking duck is a must eat in Beijing.
Visiting my friend in Beijing, meant I was lucky enough to have an insider who was a walking Beijing food guide booking our restaurants, and Duck de Chine did not disappoint.
Located in Sanlitun, Duck de Chine is Chinese and French fusion with an industrial decor and serious mood lighting. You will need to go into the restaurant and pre-order the Peking duck. You can try calling, but I cannot underestimate how little (if any!) English is spoken in Beijing; and unless you’re Mandarin is up to scratch, you’re better off having a face-to-face conversation where you can point at things.
So what makes Duck de Chine special? According to their menu it’s that the Beijing Roast Duck is their speciality:
Chefs at Duck de Chine will prepare a sublime bird, between 28 to 42 days old and weighing about two kilograms. Tender and low in fat, the ducks are roasted over 40 year old jujube wood for longer than the standard 65 minutes to achieve a tenderness that will bring a tear to the eyes of the most jaded gourmet.
The hoisin sauce is made from a unique recipe with a secret ingredient and several special herbs, achieving a flavour that words cannot describe. Even the method of cutting is unique to Duck de Chine will add to the aesthetic delight as it banishes fat for a healthier, less oily and tastier dish.
According to my friend, it’s the decor—Duck de Chine has far more atmosphere that most Chinese restaurants—and it’s the hoisin sauce. While I can’t tell you all the secrets to their unique recipes, I can say that there is a drizzled swirl of peanut satay sauce added and crushed nuts, which most definitely was incredibly delicious.
And according to me, what made Duck de Chine special was definitely the method of cutting.
Oh and the incredible flavours. The duck was the lightest and leanest I have ever eaten. The skin was so incredibly crispy and yet all the fat had all dripped away and you were left with moist lean duck meat.
We had one Peking duck between the two of us, with the pancakes and sides and added on green beans—which came with pan-fried nibbles of pork, vegetarian is not a thing in China, sweat and sour pork and rice for two.
Again the flavours were incredible. The beans were the best I had the entire time I was in China and even after polishing off half a duck I demolished all the sides.
Washing it down was a bottle of red that didn’t disappoint.
The whole meal was absolutely incredible. The food delicious. The restaurant was 4 star plus with a Bollinger bar and our bottle of wine taken away from the table and topped up as regularly as needed by the waitstaff. The atmosphere was beautiful, industrial chic, warm and inviting.
I cannot recommend Duck de Chine enough if you’re in Beijing and looking for a delicious Peking duck.
Rating: 5/5 What can I fault? It was perfection and totally made my Beijing foodie experience.
Price: Top end for Beijing. After spending £0.70 on a street chicken drumstick and £2.30 on the best finger dumplings in the world, I was so accustomed to amazingly cheap food. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that for a whole Peking duck with sides, two other main meals, rice for two and a bottle of imported wine this meal was not cheap. But at £40 each, it was still incredibly affordable.
I hope you enjoyed my Beijing food guide focusing on Duck de Chine. You can read about my all encompassing Beijing Food Guide here on What Rebecca Eats.
If you’ve had Peking duck in China, leave me a comment below! China is definitely on my repeat travel list and I’m always happy to try somewhere new.