Earlier this year, I was in Beijing as part of another trip I went on to do wedding rounds across the globe. While there, the groom of one wedding was an amazing host, and took us out to all of the best restaurants to eat. One of them was the Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, where we went particularly for their Beijing (Peking) duck.
My friend Jack had said that he had a contest once with a friend of his, and they tried several places throughout Beijing, and at the end of it, they both agreed that Da Dong was the best for this particular meal. With this sort of praise, I was of course extremely excited! I’d never tried Beijing duck in Vancouver, and would really be afraid to after experiencing the real thing.
Da Dong is quite popular, and is quite a high end restaurant in China. We had to make reservations in advance, and ended up going after one of several traditional massages we had while there. So at this point we were relaxed, and ready to chow down!
The menu at this restaurant was massive, and we let Jack do the honours of ordering for the table (although I did throw in one of my strange favourites as well, as you’ll see later). We ordered some tea and water, and settled in for a feast and a great eating experience.
This started with the selection of the duck that we would be eating, and one staff member brought it over on display to get our approval. It looked absolutely perfect to me, and just needed to be carved!
Once chosen, someone worked tirelessly at preparing the duck for us, and here he is in action:
The results? We had a nice couple of plates of Sliced Beijing Duck, complete with crispy skin, a thin layer of fat underneath, and lots of juicy meat. One thing that our server showed me was to dip a piece of skin in the sugar that they provided, and eat it just like that. I was shocked at how amazing that was on its own. (Sorry for the blurry pics, I was in a rush and getting lots of looks.)
We were given several Condiments, including thin slices of cucumber and radish, white onion slivers, sugar, garlic butter, oyster sauce, and a couple of other items that I had trouble identifying. One almost tasted like a paste of olive, but I couldn’t be sure, and some things got lost a bit in translation.
After getting a quick tutorial of how to put everything together – Voila! My Wrapped Beijing Duck was ready to eat. And eat I did. We had a couple of options – crisp sesame seed buns that tasted delicious, and soft, thin wraps seen in the picture below.
We ordered a few other dishes (although none could really compare to our main reason for being at Da Dong). The one item that I selected was the Chicken Gizzards. Thinly sliced, and served cold with a light dipping sauce. I was really the only person at the table indulging in these, but sometimes I just crave the strange texture.
We also opted for some veggies – we had a Cucumber Salad, sliced up with a light sweet and acidic flavour.
Plus, the Chicken Rolls, with a sweet chili sauce on the side. These were quite good as well, but there was definitely a lot of meat in each piece, and not a whole lot else.
Once we had finished with our additional sets of Peking Duck and Sesame Buns, the staff brought us the bill, along with some cold Grapes, served over ice.
Since there were only three of us dining out that evening, and we had ordered quite a lot of food, we didn’t have any room and I sadly didn’t have the chance to try any dessert.
I am now thoroughly spoiled and don’t think I can get any Beijing Duck back in Vancouver that will come even close to that at Da Dong. If I ever go back, I will likely just order their specialty, and go from there.
If you have any recommendations and have had any spectacular Beijing / Peking Duck locally, please let me know in the comments!