Thursday, November 18, 2010

Da Dong Roast Duck 大董烤鸭店 (Beijing)

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I said it once and I will say it again, I never get tired of Peking Duck! During my 3 days stay in Bejing over the National Day long weekend, we had more than one meal of Peking Duck of course, it was only fair to try as many as possible, my dear stomach told me. So after my Made in China Peking duck meal, I told myself it was hard to find one to top that and I was right. The visit to Da Dong Roast Duck 大董烤鸭店 for its famous Peking duck was rather disappointing, not just the Duck for in general. It was quite tiring too and let me tell you why in a bit. When you enter this branch, the very first thing you will see is a huge empty space in the middle of the lobby, like a stage with ovens on each 4 corners and raw ducks hanging in the center. Chefs walking back and forth holding a trident looking thing with the duck at the tip, in and out the ovens they shove the duck in to roast it. It was like a show ... but I did not recall coming here for a show, I came for the food the last I remembered. With is contemporary decor, I was quite sure they should put chairs around the stage so interested diners can sit and watch.  


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After being seated, I started to check the menu. For those who frequent China you should notice how many of the recent up and coming restaurants like to use big colorful pictures and huge menus, Da Dong is no exception and it went 10 levels beyond that! How so? Check the picture I took below, I focused on the page number because I was on PAGE 64 and I was still reading on cold dishes! I feel like I am studying this menu! 

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If you forgot to bring your post-it tab to mark down which page you like to go back for a particular dish, no worries, you can flip to the Table of Contents of the dictionary menu.

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When the first dish arrived, I knew I was right when I said it was more of a show that I signed up for. The presentation was ... refreshing especially when you have a huge bowl of ice in front of you. The chilled / Icy Asparagus was crisp and sweet but the presentation so what took me away from enjoying the simple asparagus for some reasons. That was a huge bowl of ice! Do they reuse them? I hope not. Such a waste!

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Next was a more normal dish, Chili Fish Filet. A bit too spicy for my taste but it looked like a normal dish.

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Ohhh ... should I eat it or not? Overly cute that I really wanted to just leave it as it was! It was Sauteed Duck Breast in Crispy Yam Basket. The little ducks were cute and they were filled with minced duck meat as well. Would you start with its head or its rear first? :)

Cute!!

Two Flavors Bean Curd was another simple yet nicely presented dish. Nothing to complain about beside the fact that I may be able to do that at home as well!

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It was called the Magical Shrimps in Chinese but it was basically seared prawns in thousand island salad dressing. The name was lame in Chinese but it was good! I have a thing for thousand island dressing so I was tempted to order an extra order of rice to go along!

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Sauteed Ginkgo Nuts with Lily Bulbs. Interesting dish and name as well. Yet again the presentation was ... a bit over the top I have to say. Simple and refreshing ingredients cooked in a simple way. Sweet to the taste bud and crisp to the tongue.

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Apparently on the menu you have the option of picking your own duck to roast for an extra RMB50? or was it RMB100? I forgot the exact cost but you get the picture. None of us want to walk up to the stage to pick our duck so we got the normal one. So how special was it? Nothing ... the skin was crisp but the meat was slightly dry. I was comparing it with the one from Made in China of course.

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One thing quite interesting was the huge plate of condiments and sauces. I felt like I was there to wrap something for a group dinner with that many items on a special plate. (note: the dough was rather thick)

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So what's for dessert? We ordered the deep fried banana coated with caramel. It was presented brilliantly that I wasn't sure how to start with it. The waitress soon came over and help us deep each one into iced water to cool it down immediately to let the caramel solidify into a crunchy coating.

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Closer to the end of the meal, we were served this big plate of "something" new to me. It was crunchy like apples and tasted like pear. I swear I was sort of addicted to this fruit. I am really surprised I have never come across this before or perhaps I never really questioned about it before. In any case, I love this fruit! It was Jujube (枣) or commonly known as Red Dates (枣乾) after it has been dried.

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Likes: 
  • Sauteed Duck Breast in Crispy Yam Basket - mainly for its cute little ducks on the plate. 
  • Jujube fruits! Love the crunchy texture and refreshing flavors! 

Dislikes: 
  • Food presentation a little over the top in my opinion. 
  • Peking duck slightly on the dry side (meat wise)
  • Rather pricey in my opinion, but perhaps for the contemporary decor and presentation most diners would be fine with it. 

Avg Spending: RMB 200 per head 

Da Dong Roast Duck 大董烤鸭店 (Beijing)
5/F, Jinbao Dasha, Jinbao Jie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
北京东城区金宝街金宝汇购物中心5层
Tel: 8522 1234


5 comments:

wai+ said...

wow. they have improved a lot!!! the presentation looks awesome! too nice to eat them up!

Jason said...

@Wai+: I think it is just this branch that provide this sort of presentation ...

chopstixfix said...

Love those ducks!! =)

HK Epicurus said...

Presentation of the food certainly looks good, especially for a Chinese/Peking restaurant!

Apparently - Dai Dong has changed a lot during the past few years, as after Heston Blumenthal's visit to their shop, something clicked with the boss as he started to realise we are greatly lacking behind the rest of the culinary world. So he's already been updating his cooking methods, even getting his feet wet exploring molecular food science! Pity the food taste isn't as good as it looks isn't it :P

Gillion said...

Have you tried dumplings and roast ducks? They are the famous and traditional Beijing dieshes. And also bird's nest soup? Its a delicacy in China.

Enjoy your days~~~

Gillion
www.geocities.jp/hongkong_bird_nest/index_e.htm

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