It is Springtime in Beijing and fragrant roses are in bloom throughout the city. Wee Scotch and I arrived on Wednesday after a five hour flight delay in Dubai and were greeted by my sister at the Beijing airport who whisked us her apartment in Sanlitun – a popular shopping, restaurant and bar neighborhood – to quickly freshen up and then we were off to our first dining experience, appropriately Peking duck.
Arriving at a trendy-looking restaurant called Duck de Chine, we were shown to our table in a dimly lit but well-appointed restaurant. My sister Diana had pre-ordered a whole roast duck and although I didn’t think we could finish it between the two of us, we nearly did thanks to Wee Scotch who had a very healthy appetite that night. The duck was carved at our table and served with the usual thin pancakes and also with these small sesame buns which we should have eaten right away because after a while they became hard as rock and not palatable at all. We also ordered jelly fish (bottom left) which was sooooo good – crunchy, vinegary with hints of cilantro and a bit of spice.
The duck is best eaten right away while still warm. The skin was nice and crispy though not the crispiest I’ve ever had and the meat was tender and subtly but well-flavored. The sauce for the duck was also prepared in front of us and was a mixture of hoisin sauce swirled with sesame paste and sprinkled with fried garlic. In addition to the usual julienne cucumbers and scallions, there were also red daikon which didn’t have much flavor but added a nice crunchy texture when added to the duck and pancake roll.
Duck de Chine: 1949 Club, No.98 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100027, China. Tel: +86 10 6501 8881.
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Early the next morning, I had a huge craving for dumplings for breakfast so we took a walk around Diana’s neighborhood and found this corner dumpling shop. The dumplings weren’t very good but I do love the experience of eating out at street vendors.
We ordered a basket of 10 steamed glutinous rice dumplings and a basket of 10 steamed pork dumplings before we realized that we could have ordered half baskets of 5 each. They were very filling and the dumpling skins were too thick for my liking. I ended up eating just the pork filling.
Each basket of 10 was less than $2 – bargain!
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*All photos take with iPhone 4S.