Oh wow! Beijing has changed A LOT since the last time I visited about 7 years ago. Fortunately, for the better.
These are some of the appalling things I won't miss from the old pre-Olympic preparation Beijing:
- The beyond hideous public toilets (Hello pristine, air conditioned, fully equipped public toilets!)
- Countless beggars harrassing you non stop. Get rid of one, here comes 1000 more
- "Persistent" i.e. the pushiest souvenir hawkers EVER. Yes, they do follow you to the toilet and no, language barrier does not deter them
Despite all of the above changes, there are some things which remained authentic. Such as the public toilets at the rows of restaurants beyond famous tourist destinations...and.....this famous roast duck restaurant.
I found it difficult to believe that it was so hard to locate this famous Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant which was recommended by most travel books (this is probably why we should not follow what travel books say?). When our taxi driver finally found it (after asking about the whole population of the district), I was shocked to see this unexpected (although kinda cute) signage leading to the restaurant:
Just follow the ducks...quack quack quack...
..and the ducks led us here:
Am I really at the right place? This corridor doesn't really scream out "famous and always frequented by celebrities"
But do I love the oldness of it...the old floor tiles...the old Chinese furniture...
the cracked wood frames, cracked mirrors...oh yeah, does dirty also mean authentic?
...here's the award posted on the wall:
Lovely sunlight coming through the roof...
...waiting for my food with my RMB7 instant coffee coming straight out of nescafe packet. The waitress asked me "black or white coffee?" I said white. I didn't know that "white" means "black" in China?? LOL
We were the only customers as it was late afternoon after lunch before dinner time...and the service was...ehm ehm...almost non existent
My "white" coffee was served in one of these Tsing Tao beer glass ^_*
Hot and Spicy Beef and lettuce. This dish was actually pretty damn good. The sauce was hot and spicy, the meat was tender
A line of Chinese wine (I was worried what I'd get if I ordered "house wine")
Various famous people who dined there (or were conned into dining there? LOL)
The skillful young chef, carved the duck in no time (at least it was faster than I could pronounce "Bei Jing Roast Duck with a gorgeous chef on the side" accurately in Mandarin)
The Roast Duck Set RMB190. It comes with a duck, a plate of pancakes, sliced cucumber, chives and the sauce
Soon you won't see this duck anymore...
Pancake, sliced cucumber, chives, duck meat, sauce and roll
...and take a bite...
Bite after bite after bite... (this explains the rapid weight gain LOL)
and I ended up with empty plates...and a thumb up (FYR: the Peking roast duck in Hong Kong's American Peking Restaurant in Wan Chai deserves 2 thumbs up). So, I am sorry to say that the taste of the duck did not justify the much too authentic attitude towards hygiene (i.e. things aren't hygienic there) and good service (i.e . the service sucked).
Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant
11 Bei Xiang Feng Alley, Zheng Yi Road, off Qian Men Avenue
+86 0 10 6702 5681 / +86 0 10 6705 5578
Opens 12:00 - 22:00 pm
More food from Beijing coming up, stay tuned! ;)