~ Today’s Mandarin Lesson ~
character: 七 | pinyin: qī | definition: seven | pronunciation: chee
character: 北京 | pinyin: běijīng | definition: Beijing (China’s capital city) | pronunciation: bayjing
character: 吃 | pinyin: chī | definition: to eat | pronunciation: chee
On Saturday night, Kyle and I decided to check off one of the items from our “must do while in Beijing” list. In this instance, the goal was to try Peking duck.
In case you are unaware, Peking (‘Peking’ is an older spelling of ‘Beijing’) duck is a famous dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era (aka a very long time). The meat is known for its thin and crispy skin and if you go to the right spot, the cook slices it for you next to the table.
I am a very research oriented individual and came to Beijing with a laundry list of things to do and places to see (mostly food or drink related). There were a few places on my list known for exceptional Peking duck, so I took my data and cross-referenced it with some locally sourced reviews. We landed on Beijing Da Dong, a highly regarded restaurant that had the benefit of being an easy subway commute from our place.
Let me tell you, this place was fancy! They fitted our coats with seat covers for optimum comfort and gave us warm hand towels upon sitting down. As I mentioned in a previous post, the food in Beijing is absurdly affordable, so despite dining at a “$$$$, Michelin star quality” restaurant and ordering a few dishes plus a bottle of wine, we paid a total of $120. Crazy, right?! You won’t see me complaining.
Now, the duck. I very rarely eat it; partially because my family used to have two pet ducks – one of which I hatched in biology class – which makes me a little queasy and partially because it’s always been too rich and fatty for my tastes. This Peking duck, though, was phenomenal. The skin was reminiscent of crispy candy that gives bacon a serious run for its money. It was also a unique experience seeing it carved table-side.
The way to eat Peking duck is also unique: you wrap the slices of meat and skin up in a thin crepe with varying sides, such as spring onions, cucumbers, cantaloupe, mushrooms, hoisin sauce, and sugar crystals. It was a very cool and tasty experience that I would recommend to anyone visiting the area! We plan on going at least once more before we head home; it was that good.
Until next time. xx