Beijing: Da Dong Roast Duck 大董烤鸭

27 Aug

Finding the best Peking duck in Beijing is kind of elusive and akin to finding the best Dim Sum in Hong Kong (does really good Dim Sum even exist in HK?). I’ve watched many travel shows featuring Quanjude and Li Qun but Chowhounders – my most trusted source – slammed them, and raved about Da Dong, Made in China, Duck de Chine, Peking Duck Private Kitchen instead. Da Dong is probably the most popular, most awarded, and also recommended by the husband’s colleagues who brought us there for lunch on a Saturday.

The contemporary style dining room was well-lit by natural light in the day.

We left the ordering to his colleagues who have have eaten here many times. This was Hong Shao Rou (braised pork belly), a Shanghainese specialty and a favourite of Chairman Mao.

These were duck hearts – not for the faint-hearted – and I reluctantly tried one. Texture was quite mushy and not much of a distinct flavour, thankfully.

The husband loves pork neck, and while it is quite delicious because of its higher fat content compared to normal pork lean meat, I shudder to think how much cholesterol I’m consuming :p

This was my first time trying Shan Yao (mountain yam). It was served as a cold dish, with candied orange. Light, slightly sweet and refreshing.

We were also served very elaborate sets of accompanying condiments for our Peking duck – the more unique ones include mashed garlic and pickled ginger

A chef personally comes to our table to carve the Peking duck- can’t hardly wait!

The Peking duck looks awesome with its glistening skin, and tastes great too. As what Da Dong claims, their duck is very lean. Skin was very crispy with a tinge of sweetness too.

We were given instructions to enjoy it in 3 ways: with the usual crepe wrappers, dip it in sugar (which brings out the sweetness) and last but not least with a crispy shao bing 烧饼 (kind of like a hollowed crispy bun).

We were also served a complimentary duck bone soup which was very flavourful! It was boiled so long till it became milky.

And we finished with a silky beancurd soup.

Complimentary dessert one came in the form of a mung bean sorbet – which sounded gross, but actually turned out quite tasty! Mung bean is a cooling food too so it was perfect for the summery weather.

Complimentary dessert two were longans served on a bed of ice. I thought the thoughtful complimentary desserts (not just watermelon slices) were a nice touch.

Da Dong’s wall of accolades near the entrance.

While it was pretty good, I wasn’t exactly too blown away by Da Dong since my expectations were sky high as it’s supposed to be Beijing’s best Peking duck. That said, I have come to accept that even the best Peking duck from its city of its origin can only taste that good. Coming from Singapore, I have eaten some pretty good Peking ducks (i.e. the one at Imperial Treasure MBS), and hence I wasn’t overly impressed. Da Dong’s definitely still worth a go though, and its huge menu also means that you could try other popular Chinese dishes in addition to its signature Peking duck.

Price: $$-$$$ | Location: 22A Dongsishitiao, Nanxincang Tower, Chaoyang | Tel: (+86)1051 69 0328 | Reservations a must.

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