After our Forbidden City tour, we returned to our coach and proceeded to the famous Quanjude Restaurant for lunch. Established in 1864 during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, the restaurant is known for its trademark Quanjude Peking Roast Duck and its longstanding culinary heritage. .This recipe was originally reserved for the imperial families but the first Quanjude manager, Yang Renquan, who started out selling chicken and ducks, paid a retired chef from the palace for the imperial recipe.
Peking Duck, at the Quanjude in particular, has been a favorite dish for various political leaders ranging from U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. Now we were going to savor it plus other delectable dishes. Peking Duck, one of China’s national foods, .is cooked using open hung ovens (designed to roast up to 20 ducks at the same time) and non-smoky hardwood fuel such Chinese dates, peaches or pears to add a subtle fruity flavor with a golden crisp to the thin skin.
The cooked Peking Duck was traditionally carved in front of us and served in 3 stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes, spring onionsand sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber sticks. We then spread the over the pancake which is then wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and then eaten by hand.
In 1958, the restaurant was ranked first in “Chinese Famous Dishes,” compiled by all-China famous chefs under the Ministry of Commerce. In 1982, it was also ranked first in “Elite of Chinese Famous Dishes,” published by Japan and China. The Quanjude restaurant chain enjoys a high reputation among domestic and overseas consumers for its peculiar roast technique and outstanding quality, selling over 2 million roast ducks served in 400 different styles to over 5 million customers annually. Quanjude has 8 direct branches and several other franchises in Beijing, 2 in Hong Kong and 1 in Melbourne (Australia).
The Original Quanjude Restaurant: No. 14, Qianmen West St., Beijing, People’s Republic of China.