It has been rated within the top ten best Peking Duck restaurants for many times by various food critics, was named the best Chinese cooking style restaurant in Beijing in 2014 by The Beijinger and is also listed in Patricia Schultz´s well-known bestseller “1,000 Places to See before you die“. In other words, a place that I definitely needed to pay visit to.
How convenient, that this Beijing hotspot lies only a short walking distance from our hotel in the Dongcheng district in China´s capital. And it is quite impressive! The moment that you´ll pass through the glass sliding doors into the elegant and wide interiors make you realize one thing instantly: It´s going to be an expensive evening, lol.
The fitting and decor are well-appointed and the blue mood lighting from the ceiling creates a sophisticated and exclusive ambience for a restaurant of this size. If you have been to traditional Chinese restaurants before, you might remember that some of them might be more reminiscent to departure lounges of train stations. But Da Dong is different.
Even though it lacks none of the hustle and bustle mentioned above, as soon as you settle at your table you will feel like you are seated underneath a glass dome. It is easy to carry on a good conversation without having to scream and you can still glimpse around to participate in the lively atmosphere.
Da Dong is particularly popular for its Beijing Duck and you will notice many other Western tourists that have come to enjoy the house delicacy. But don´t be afraid: There is at least the same amount of locals to visit here for the gourmet experience.
And the duck is outstanding! The chefs of the restaurant enjoy a very high reputation in having contributed towards innovative cooking methods of the bird. At Da Dong, the duck is prepared inside a spherical wood fired oven instead of inside a squared one. That leaves the skin extremely crispy and the meat underneath soft and juicy. It also appears to be a little bit less fatty.
Beijing duck is not eaten like the typical Thanksgiving turkey. Each bird is meticulously filleted by the chef right at the table which is quite a performance to watch. The thin slices are then combined with sauce, spices and garnishing inside a soft pancake or a kebab style baked bread. Here is a (pretty old but well done) video that gives you a great insight in how to eat this delicious treat!
We feasted like royalty during our visit to Da Dong restaurant. In China, all food (no matter if appetizer or entrée) is served onto a round turntable in the center. That means that everything is shared with everyone seated at the table. Don´t be surprised if there is no rice served along with the dishes in better restaurants. Rice is widely consumed within China, yet it rather stands for being the food of the poor.
Conclude your meal with the so-called Chinese Date served on crushed ice. This particular fruit has the consistency of a fresh apple and combines the taste of a date and a lychee. Very interesting!
Da Dong is quite an experience that you should not miss when visiting the Northern Capital (the translation of Beijing into English). Compared to the general cost of living in China, the prices are horrendous though (plan at least 40 EUR p.p. and up). This might not sound much to many of you, but some people in the city can live a whole week off this amount.
So savour every bite! It´s pure Beijing luxury 🙂 And worth every cent…
Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant
1-2/F Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao
Dongcheng District, Beijing