Part 4 - Dinner at Duck de Chine
When in Beijing (f/k/a to Westerners as Peking), make sure to try a good Peking Duck. (Also make sure to order it in advance!)
The first night my client arrived, I took him his son (who was traveling with him) to Duck de Chine. I'd heard of the restaurant a few times, but had never been there myself. A proper Peking Duck would be an appropriate first meal for new visitors to Beijing.
The restaurant had been described to me by local colleagues as Beijing's version of New York's Tao. Indeed, that was a fair description.
Certainly a somewhat westernized restaurant, DdeC was filled with at least a partial scene and had a lively vibe. It was full on the Thursday night that we ate here. We were some of the few caucasions in the establishment; the vast majority of customers appeared to be of Asian ethnicities.
I knew enough to pre-order the duck, which I arranged for us all to share. The ducks are slow cooked in an open-flame brick oven for many hours. They are quite delicious. Duck being the specialty (and name!) of the house, you'd think the would cook them based on the number of bookings they have - but that is not the case. So, if you consider going, make sure to pre-arrange a duck. One was enough for three of us (along with the other dishes we ordered). Had there been four or more, I would recommend a second duck.
We had a number of other dishes, including donkey meat. This was my first time having donkey meat; it was sort of a cross between duck and pork and was tasty enough. (It was far better than the calf's tongue I had the following week in San Francisco!)
Located just a couple of blocks from the Peninsula, we were able to walk to and from the restaurant. Entering the restaurant's walled compound (which is signed "1949" in illuminated red numbers on the outside), the parking area was a sea of dozens of nearly exclusively Porsche and BMW vehicles. It put the valet area at Greenwich, CT's Valbella to shame.
The price was very reasonable for the quality and ambience, with dinner for three (including plenty of beer) coming to RMB900 in total, about $140.
While I might choose to adventure to different restaurants on future Beijing visits, I will definitely keep this place in mind as an ace in the hole if I need to entertain non-Chinese clients in Beijing in the future.
Duck de Chine
1949 The Hidden City
Gongti Beilu, Courtyard 4 (behind Pacific Century Pl.)
Beijing PRC 100027