So initially when I was heading into Beijing, the thought of Peking Duck did not even cross my mind. Really; what was I thinking. Coming to Beijing and not having duck?
Luckily, classmates did remember, and organized a classier dinner for all of us at Da Dong. Apparently a very well renown restaurant to eat this particular dish at.
(Translated: Big Dong. I will say no more. Please laugh, snicker, roll eyes, or scowl accordingly.)
I've noticed a lot of the more expensive restaurants around here are ridiculously large. I've rarely seen them even half full. I feel that it's quite a waste, but perhaps for the prestige. Who knows. Or it was a slow night, what do I know.
The place was gorgeous, and full of businessmen and suits. Our large, multicultural student group in t-shirts and summer clothing stood out like sore thumbs I'm thinking.
In fact, it's so "high-class" that they charge you for the duck condiments. 8yuan each. And it's mandatory if you order the duck. And each individual needs to order one.
At any rate, I can't tell you what all of the condiments were, but there was green onion, hoisin, sugar, ground garlic and cucumber.
Shortly after ordering, they come out to present us with the whole roast duck before proceeding to cut it into shareable pieces.
And yes, it was absolutely wonderful. Crispy skin, and I know some people enjoy very fatty duck, but I prefer mine lean, so this was perfect. There wasn't much in the way of seasoning, and I'm not sure if it's even supposed to be prepared that way, but with the condiments, I enjoyed it.
The wraps were very well done. Moist and fresh, they came apart easily, not like the older ones that may stick together, and are ultimately not as tasty.
They also served another type of 'vessel' to hold the duck in. This was airy, light and crispy. The sesame seeds made it very interesting, although I think I would still prefer the traditional wrap.
And the optional other puff vessel... Although I really did enjoy the textural contrast from the wrap, this was mainly the reason why I did not enjoy it as much. It was harder to disperse the ingredients throughout the puff...
Okay. Maybe my inadequate ability, but if that's the case, I'll just stick the wraps. : P
We also ordered a number of smaller dishes including chicken with almonds (sweet and great to use with the wraps once we ran out of duck)..
Dragon bean! This would be the first time I've ever seen this type of vegetable. It had a texture similar to a bell pepper, save for the outer skin which was less elastic in bite than a bell pepper. Mild flavour and very interesting to eat.
Braised tofu and broccoli. I was overjoyed to see broccoli. It's as if it doesn't exist here. Unfortunately it was rather plain. The tofu however was served with xo sauce (holding a good amount of scallop), and was plated in such a way that it was fun to eat... Fun to eat. Heh. Such a kid : )
They finished us off with complimentary lychee, which was plated beautifully, and tasted sweet and fresh. The fog you see under the dish rose up onto the table as we went for the fruits.
And a complimentary strawberry sherbet as well. Although nothing special, and maybe a little overly artificially sweet, it was appreciated and devoured.
There were eleven of us in total, and none of us were full. Bill in Canadian would be about $126. So $12 each. Although this would be considered a good deal back home, this was completely overpriced here. You definitely pay for the ambiance. Quality-wise, there was no slip, but at the same time, I could find an equally (if not better) good duck at another restaurant. Case and point, restaurant number 2:
My second trip for kaoya was at a restaurant very near to the school, eaten with my language tutor partner.
Was started off with glutinous rice filled sweet lotus root. Definitely.. Interesting; Do you see the coloured sprinkles on top? This was not my cup of tea. The syrup wasn't overly sweet, but there was something about it that clashed with the lotus root. And other than a water down sickly sweetness, there wasn't much to this dish. Interesting though.
This however, I liked very much. Egg yolk battered, fried pumpkin. This was both a sweet, salty, crispy and soft treat, all at the same time. Think yam fries.. But better. And with a softer centre, and more dimensions of flavour. I truly wish you could all try this. I have not seen this back home in Vancouver. I mourn. Hah.hah....eh;
Finally, the main course, peking duck. They gave us two plates of this for 68rmb. Compare that to the 198rmb from the previous restaurant, and this one is a steal. In fact, I'm thinking from anywhere, this would be a steal. And did I mention it was wonderful? I actually believe this one was of better quality than the more expensive restaurant. More tender, crispier skin...
And although the wrap quality itself wasn't a fresh or moist as the wrap from the more expensive restaurant, I am by no means complaining.
If you haven't tried Kaoya/Peking Duck back in Vancouver, I urge you to give it a try. Not only is it a fun get-together, it's also delicious.As a side-note, these two restaurants both served delicious duck, however, I believe I could get very similar in Vancouver. If memory serves me correctly, I've had just as good duck back home at some point in my life..
But do not quote me on this; Perhaps I'll try some more duck when I get back to Vancouver.
Yus. Felt guilty about not touching my blog for so long. I hope this makes up for a little bit!