From market stalls to chichi dining rooms, Beijing restaurants are all about Peking duck. Here's are two delicious examples of the specialty -- one at a high-end restaurant, the other as street food.
As for the name, it's actually no shocker. English speakers called China's capital Peking for 2-300 years, so naturally the name also grew to refer to the city's signature dish.
During my time in Beijing with an Adventures by Disney tour, I sampled the specialty prepared in the traditional way at a stylish restaurant called Duck de Chine. Then, exploring a market on my own, I tried a street-food version. Scroll down to see both.
Its said that every Peking duck should be cut in the same exact number of slices. I seem to recall 114 but can't confirm that.
Eating Peking Duck in Peking - Behind the Scenes at Duck de Chine
Duck de Chine keeps part of its kitchen open. Here's what I found when I ventured over to the chefs' station.
Eating Peking Duck in Peking -- Making the Sandwich
This video is a mess, but it shows you a diner expertly placing the ingredients into the pancake and rolling it up.
Eating Peking Duck in Peking: The Street Food Version
Before our tour began, two of us ventured out to a pedestrian mall filled with food vendors. I can't tell you the name; I don't know it. A tour guide wrote the name or address in Chinese for me and I handed the paper to a taxi driver.
But, among the exotic treats was the welcome sight of a Peking duck stand. A man and woman worked in tandem carving, rolling and packing quintets of Peking duck. The flavors weren't as intense as at Duck de Chine, but they were quite good. If I could get this for lunch here in Orlando, I'd be a regular.
This is good food. If you've enjoyed Peking duck at restaurants stateside, I'd urge you to try it in as many places as possible in Peking ... er, Beijing.