Restaurant: Dadong Roast Duck (Nanxincang)
Location: 1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100007, China. +86 10 5169 0329
Date: July 29, 2018
Cuisine: Beijing Chinese, specializing in roast duck
Rating: Superior (and lean) duck
Our 15 day trip to China begins auspiciously (in Beijing) with a trip to a branch of the granddaddy of serious Beijing Roast Duck places, Dadong.
This is the Nanxicang branch. I was at Dadong in 2008, but it was definitely a different (less modern) branch. Or they redid considerably.
The decor is very contemporary and everything is “fancy.”
Down to the duck chopstick holders!
Salad. Not sure I’ve ever had a salad in China before, and this one was some kind of dandelion leaf and radishes. No dressing really too. Sort of bracing.
Asparagus. Pretty much what it looks like.
Then comes the duck, along with the professional duck carver. He even had an assistant in tow.
Close up on the lovely bird which was puffed with air, lovingly basted, and fire roasted.
The guy knows how to carve.
Beijing duck. We got 2 platter of meat and skin.
And heads and legs (not pictured).
At Dadong, everyone gets their own condiment tray.
Plus there are pancakes.
And sesame buns. They showed us how to dip the skin in sugar and which condiments to put in which carbohydrate. Although the bun is good, I prefer the pancake, as it distracts less from the duck/hoison awesomeness. Dadong’s duck is crispy and ultra lean. Really perfectly cooked and delicious, but not fatty.
Duck soup. Not the biggest thrill. It never is. Just a bone broth.
Bean sprouts. Looks boring, but these were actually excellent. Must have been the perfect amount of oil.
This trip included A LOT of dumplings, so we had to get started right away with some steamed vegetable dumplings.
And cabbage and egg fried rice.
Plus a fresh whole fish in brown sauce with garlic and mushrooms. I’ve never had this exact sauce before and it was a little like a tangy gravy. Quite good actually but unexpected.
Now-a-days in Beijing and Shanghai there are a lot of restaurants that have modernized their look and feel while staying fundamentally Chinese. This is certainly the case with Dadong and its lavish plating and epic sized picture menu. But the execution was also very good — particularly on the standout item, the Beijing Duck. This and Country Kitchen set my new standard for Peking/Beijing duck. If these are now a 10, the best places in the SGV are mere 7s. I wish I’d had a few more days in Beijing just so I could try 1949, Duck de Chine and a few other top duck places. We managed 2 in 3 days.