Thursday, July 12, 2007
Arguably the Best Duck in Town
On the recommendation of a friend in Hong Kong, a girlfriend and I tried out Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant in Dongsishitiao, near Swissotel.
It's a swish-looking restaurant. When you walk in, there's a giant open kitchen where you can see blanched whole ducks hanging on hooks waiting to be roasted in fiery ovens that chefs carefully tend to. Once they're cooked golden brown, the ducks are quickly taken out and another chef tips them over to release the extra oil and discreetly wring their necks.
The dining area is also sophisticated-looking, with dark-stained Chinese furniture, uniformed staff talking into headsets, and carved wooden window frames.
A chef came, donned a face mask and proceeded to precisely cut the bird delicately into consistent slices. The skin was practically translucent with hardly any fat on it. He presented them perfectly on a bed of lettuce.
We were given a bamboo steamer with thin pancakes as well as two small bread pockets covered in sesame seeds for us to stuff the duck in. There was also as an array of condiments, from finely sliced cucumbers and onion, to mashed garlic, radish, sugar and plum sauce.
The duck was so good. The skin was crunchy and the meat tender and moist. There were no bits of fat in between. It was one lean duck. It definitely is a close contender to the Peking Duck I had at Man Wah, the Chinese restaurant in the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong.
We also ordered stir-fried Mandarin fish in rice wine sauce. Slices of poached fish were swimming in a pool of sauce that had too much cornstarch in it. While the fish was perfectly cooked, the taste was half sweet and half sour.
But the stir-fried pea shoots with garlic were perfect. The fine shoots looked delicate and had a sweet taste. Next time just duck and a vegetable dish are enough for two people.
So if you come to Beijing, I will take you to Da Dong!
Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant
1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza
22A Dongsishitiao, Dong Cheng District