Last night a friend took me to another restaurant known for its roast duck.
It's called Xiang Man Lou, and near the Ding Tai Fung restaurant in Dongzhimen District. The best thing is to tell the taxi driver to take you to Yu Yang Hotel which is across the street from the eatery.
We tried to make a late reservation, but they wouldn't take anymore and we'd have to get there and wait.
Luckily we didn't have to wait too long as the wonderful smells emanating from the tables were getting our appetites going.
My friend felt the ducks here are better than Da Dong, with hardly any fat between the skin and the meat. "They're cheaper too," she added. "This place does traditional duck and that's the way I like it." I had to try for myself.
While the restaurant is relatively clean and service is pretty attentive, it's no where near the standard of Da Dong. But the duck and some of the other dishes we ordered were pretty lip-smacking good.
We started off with some vegetable appetizers, from chopped lettuce with sesame sauce, and some pickled cucumbers. We also ate a stringy salad called Tiger's grass. The duck was then rolled on a steel cart to our table and the chef deftly sliced the duck meat and skin onto two plates. And yes the meat was very tender and the skin crispy. The pancakes weren't on par with Li Qun, but held our delicious duck well.
Another very good dish was pork gristle that was minced and then braised for a long time that literally melted in your mouth. The only fall back was that it was a big portion and after having lots of duck there wasn't enough room to eat more of the pork. We also had sweet and sour pork which does sound kind of funny eating in China, but it was pretty good, deep-fried big chunks of pork in that signature orangey-red sauce complete with chopped peppers and pineapple.
The duck soup was presented with Napa cabbage and vermicelli.
We washed all that down with Harbin Beer, a very clean tasting drink that was very refreshing.
In the end the bill came to 266RMB (US$35.44) for four with leftovers. We had to roll out and take a short walk to digest our feast.
Xiang Man Lou
19 Xinyuan Xili Zhongjie