The Peking Experience

We had peking duck at Da Dong restaurant, which is recommended by Timeout Beijing and my friend Jodi (from as the quintessential Beijing Peking Duck experience.  When Jodi says, “Go here and eat this,” you listen.

The restaurant is beautiful.

We ordered sweet potato salad for Cole and they brought out this (Cole loved it):

After bringing us the appetizer and drinks, the duck is brought out to a cutting table in the back of the restaurant.  I’m not sure why they set it up under such harsh lighting, but it’s pretty dramatic.

Slice by slice your duck is carefully dismantled.

Each person gets their own condiment tray with cucumber, radish, soy bean paste, garlic paste, sugar and what I’m calling “some other stuff”.

The duck is brought out.  You get two of these:

There’s also some paper thin pancakes for the table.

You create your own duck-condiment-pancake design…

Fold it up, and eat it.  Yum.  The duck is leaner than other places (a good thing) and the duck fat and skin is rendered into this crispy counterpart to the soft duck flesh.

You can make it savory or sweet…

Garlicky or salty…




Afterwards, they bring you oranges kept chilled over ice with… of course… dry ice for effect.  The effect being, ‘oh god these oranges taste good’ and your almost two-year-old trying to catch dry ice smoke with a chopstick.

By the time we left, the place was nearly cleared out, but the place is huge.

I love all the little details.

Lovely.  I’m not really doing it justice, but here it is (there’s also an entire bar area with a chic lounge).

So good.  If you make it to Beijing, it’s such a cliche, but you have to get Peking duck, and if you want something exceptional, then it’s Da Dong (they also have a huge ala carte menu that looks absolutely amazing and terrifying — I have to go back for the braised sea cucumber).  It’s a little pricy, running in the $30-$40 pp range (or more if you order drinks) but well worth it.

Da Dong Roast Duck 北京大董烤鸭店

5th floor, Jinbao Dasha, Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng District


Daily 11am-10pm


  1. Wow, incredible photos. Now I want duck! Inevitably, whenever I have duck pancakes, I fill the pancake with far too much filling and the whole thing turns into a giant dripping tasty mess. You seem better at it than me 😉

  2. Awesome…my one experience with Peking duck in Beijing was a memorable one. I can still taste the crispy skin as I sit here and read this..

  3. I love the bits of red! And, the photographs are beautiful, as always.
    Although this wasn’t one of your posts that made me laugh out loud, I want you to know that many of them do. I recently wrote a post about my desire to recognize blogs that do this for me (actually it was about a condescending wench, but it got there eventually). As a result of my ramblings, I created an award called the LOL Award and am presenting it to five bloggers who crack me up. Now, I realize that you are big time (no sarcasm intended), so don’t need gratuitous badges and awards on your site. However, I didn’t want to have it be like the pretty girl who doesn’t get invites to the prom, so…here I am inviting you to the prom.
    Check out the original post and see what you think (
    Either way, know that I enjoy your blog and you make me laugh!

  4. It’s almost lunch time and I could really go some duck now. Well actually let’s face it; I could eat duck any time, hungry or not.
    Fantastic photos. What sort of camera do you use? I’m always a bit self-conscious about pulling out my bulky DSLR to take photos in a restaurant.

  5. mengmeng

    it’s indeed the One place where chinese food come in trendy and appreciated. i like dadong too, despite its being always overcrowded and pricy. much better than quanjude if you asked me… but you gotta try both to give the final judgement.
    glad you start to enjoy a little bit about beijing…
    the picture looks terrific by the way, it makes me want to stop by some time soon…

  6. 20 years ago I found a great restaurant for Peking Duck in Hong Kong. It was way back in the city, down a dark alley and I was one of the few non-Chinese in the place. It was a great experience. I wish I had known of this restaurant before I had gone to Beijing a few years ago.

  7. If you want a more local kao ya experience, try Li Qun. It’s hidden deep in the hutongs, and looks more run-down than a famous duck restaurant should be — but it’s just as delicious and the walls are covered with photos of the celebrities that have been there!

  8. Wow, I love me some duck! You said the pictures don’t do the place justice but I’d say you did a great job. Awesome photos as always. The attention to detail is amazing. I once heard someone say, “the best way to entice the viewer/reader is to keep the focus small”. Have you found a great place for dim-sum yet?

  9. Found your blog when I was looking for some travel inspiration for me and my toddler and baby (to be). So many exciting ideas – can’t wait to get back out into the big wide world and share it all with them! Wish I was back in Beijing right now – China really is the best and the food is incredible! If you fancy some more duck I can definitely recommend Liqun in the hutong – just follow the painted duck symbols and might be good to take a torch if it’s late at night! Loads of delicious street food round the hutong though and perfect with toddlers as there’s no trying to pin them down if they’ve got a road to run in! Really wish I could remember the name of another amazing restaurant there too – the owner is a portrait photographer and it’s just round the corner from the qian men hostel (great place to stay) but the food is truly delicious. Anyway thanks for keeping me inspired until I’ve got the pennies in my pockets to get away again.

  10. I just ate, but those gorgeous pics made my mouth water! Also adding to list. If I write about it, I’ll probably link to you AND Jodi.

  11. It’s already been said, but Wow! Those are beautiful photos!