Results 1-10of 10 Reviews
New York, New York
October 29, 2007
From journal Five Roasted Ducks in Beijing
New Delhi, India
September 8, 2007
We arrived at the massive restaurant just around 6pm, arriving at the Hepingmen subway station (exit C from the station is labeled `Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant). The restaurant’s right behind the station, a sprawling edifice that spreads over four stories and seats 2,000. They say the location of the Hepingmen Quanjude was picked by Zhou Enlai; the list of patrons runs the gamut from Zhou Enlai himself to Henry Kissinger. Quanjude, by the way, has been around since 1864: long enough to know what they’re about.
The ground floor waiting area was crammed with waiting guests when we arrived, and four hostesses were trying to maintain some semblance of order. We were told we’d need to wait about fifteen minutes, and at the end of that time were directed to the fourth floor, where a table had just got free. We were escorted past a show kitchen with crispy golden-brown ducks on display, and into a large dining area crowded with tables. The hall was clean, but with the somewhat tacky decor one associates with budget banquet halls in countries like India: plaster scrolls along the windows, an abundance of red and yellow upholstery, not much aesthetic sense used. But we were here for Beijing kaoya – Peking duck – so the decor was really rather incidental.
We were swiftly seated and handed our menus (fortunately bilingual). A soft-spoken and sweet waitress, who understood basic English, soon came over to take our order. Duck, of course (though the menu offers much more); jasmine tea; a refreshing and cool kiwifruit juice for me, and a light Yanjing beer for Tarun.
About fifteen minutes later, our duck was wheeled in on a trolley, and the chef expertly carved it up even as our waitress placed a bamboo steamer full of pancakes on our table, along with bowls of spring onions and plum sauce. When the duck, neatly sliced, was served, she showed me how to 'do’ a pancake: pick up a piece of duck, dip it in the sauce and use it to liberally brush sauce across a pancake. Pile pieces of duck and spring onion onto the pancake, roll it up, and – heaven! It was very basic and delicious. The duck was crisp, gloriously juicy (though obviously oozing with calories!), and was perfectly complemented by the sweet-sour flavour of the sauce and the crisp pungency of the spring onions. The pieces of skin, thick and crisp, were pure melt-in-the-mouth. The only disappointment was the soup: it was a weak, insipid broth that we left after a couple of sips.
Overall, though, it is very enjoyable despite the fact that it’s pretty touristy. The 302 RMB bill was well worth it, in our opinion.
From journal Beijing: The Usual Suspects
August 4, 2005
The duck is brought to your table and carved in front of you, and then you are given instructions on how to mix the succulent crispy-skinned duck meat with scallions and a little plum sauce onto your pancake and roll it up. (It must be admitted that my roll-up was not nearly as lovely as that of the waitress who was doing the explanation, but it was just as delicious.)
After you've made your way through the duck pancakes, there's a Marx Brothers moment: "Duck Soup". I have to say this wasn't as thrilling to me, but it is tradition.
I had lemon juice along with the duck, but it was a bit too frothy and sweet. The water I also drank was far better for the purpose.
From journal Solo but Not Alone: China in Three Weeks
London, United Kingdom
March 16, 2005
We made our way to the place. I was surprised to see a small line of people who hadn't made it inside yet--wow! This place must be popular! The Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, established in 1864, is nationally famous for its roast duck, reputed to be China's No. 1 delicacy. Ever since its establishment, the restaurant has kept the traditional method of roasting duck: the duck is hung on a pole over a wood fire until the skin turns golden-brown and crisp. Customers can enjoy the special taste of Quanjude duck by covering the slices with sweet paste and green-onion shreds on a soft flatbread. The Qianmen Quanjude Restaurant also offers duck-shaped pastries and a variety of tempting dishes featuring different parts of the duck, including abalone and duck breast with chili sauce, eel with duck breast in casserole, and stewed mullet egg with duck tongue. It doesn't just sound great; the food really was exceptional. When our duck arrived, it was so moist, and it just melted in our mouths!! We were so full when we left. This entire meal for both of us cost only 28 RMB (US$5.32). I still dream about this meal from time to time!! A spacious, relaxed setting and superb service will add to your pleasant dining experience at this restaurant. Truly good.
From journal Crazy in Beijing
Port Jefferson Station, New York
December 24, 2004
From journal 35th Anniversary in the Peoples Republic of China
November 15, 2004
Qianjude Restaurant is to Peking duck what Peking duck is to Beijing; that is, it is probably the single most famous Peking duck restaurant, having been in business since 1964. The restaurant has a number of branches, and even the Beijing markets where we went in search of snacks carried Qianjude roast duck in to-go pouches. Dignitaries from around the world had all consumed duck from this restaurant, which dispenses thousands of ducks a day. However, just because it is the most famous does not mean it is the best. We should have listened to Frommer’s. It really is overrated.
At 8pm, when we arrived, there was still a line of diners waiting to be seated. We thought that this was a good omen. Ten minutes after we arrived, we were seated. The waiter appeared quickly to take our tea order. He reappeared shortly with tea to take the order; we ordered half a duck, which also comes with a soup, along with condiments and a braised vegetable dish. As service was efficient, we thought that we were finally, after a long day, able to settle back for a good and relaxing meal.
Imagine our surprise when the duck appeared just a mere four minutes later. A chef came out with half a duck on his cart and proceeded to expertly carve it out in front of our table. But, I thought, it could not be; I know that, for a restaurant this big to specialize in Peking duck, they must be mass-producing these things, but I am not ordering fast food. Maybe this was for the next table. No such luck. As the chef was carving the duck, another attendant appeared with all of the fixings for Peking duck. Then the duck was set on our table, and we were invited to dig in. I was disappointed. The skin was very crunchy; however, there was too much fat and not much flavor. This was definitely not the best, not even one of the five best, Peking ducks I have had. It was a disappointment. To compound the matter, when the duck soup arrived, it was gamey.
But we were both very happy with our braised vegetable dish. It was Chinese cabbage and gingko nuts, braised in duck broth. While the duck soup that came with our order of ½ duck was gamey, the duck broth that came with the cabbage was delicate but extremely flavorful. So we drank the broth instead of the soup. Yum. If I ever come back to this restaurant, it would be to try their other offerings, instead of the one dish for which they are famous.
From journal Return to Beijing
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
March 15, 2002
We arrived at the restaurant about 15-20 minutes later; there was no sign of the others. Aidong was thrown into somewhat of a panic because the restaurant would stop serving at 8pm - in about 20 minutes time (in Beijing everything closes really early...). We were hastily seated at a table for 4 and set about ordering. The menu was more expensive than what we had so far spent on dinner and prices were similar to those in a moderately expensive restaurant in Australia. There was a lot of 'weird stuff' on the menu like eel, turtle and other exotic fish. Perhaps it was here that the western tourist came to get their culinary thrills - there were quite a lot of them there too. We ordered the obligatory duck, choosing the (cheaper) regular duck rather than extra-crispy-just-out-of-the-oven one. We reasoned that, as we were not yet duck connoisseurs, we would not notice the difference. We also chose a few other dishes including an exotic sounding white fungus with mushrooms (this was a bit of a let down being rather bland and tasteless). Tea was really expensive and definitely of the gourmet variety so we 'settled' for beer instead and our choice was rewarded when we were served a huge tankard each.
The others finally arrived about 10-15 minutes after us and were seated at a big round table halfway across the room. I guess there wouldn't be much networking between the two groups after all. However we were quite happy to make our own fun and had a lively conversation touching on, among other things, haggis and Robert Burns. Although serving finished at 8 pm, we stayed in the restaurant until about 10:30 pm or so and were one of the last tables to leave. Enjoying the quiet, we walked up through Tiananmen Square to Chang'an Jie to catch a bus back to the hotel. We were a bit unsure whether the buses were still running at this time of night. Fortunately, we made it there in time to catch the final bus on that route for the day.
From journal Bumbling Through Beijing
September 27, 2001
From journal The Trip to China in 2001
Victoria, British Columbia
February 6, 2001
From journal Beijing Beer
San Jose, California
July 14, 2000
From journal Beijing and Environs