Beijing is famous for Peking Duck, so of course that was our obligatory first meal. We went to a restaurant recommended to use by Tyler, our translator friend we met in Pingyao, since he lives close to our hostel in Beijing. There are a number of more famous places for Peking Duck which we might try, but we wanted to give a local down-home restaurant a shot.
The restaurant is called Old Beijing, and is on the corner of Guozijian hutong and Andingmen Street. It’s quite unassuming from the outside, but was busy, so we took that for a good sign. We asked for dish recommendations other than Peking Duck, and our waiter suggested ma dou fu. This is what came out:
I know what you’re thinking! That looks like a big pile of…something. But believe me, it was amazing! He explained it’s made of tofu skins and then blended with spicy oils, and then there are pinenuts or lotus seeds in it. Such great flavor. We ate almost the whole thing but had the save room for the Peking Duck. And here it is:
We ordered the whole duck, since it was such a better deal than half the duck. We didn’t quite finish, since we also had a vegetable dish on the side. The owner also sent us a duck soup, made up of the bones from our duck on the house, so we had an absurd amount of food. The duck was really good! There’s two plates in that photo above, but it came with three plates of duck. The wrappers in China are different too: instead of the fluffy white buns, you use thin wrappers more similar to what you would use in spring rolls or mushu pork. It’s nice since you don’t fill up on the bun and can eat more of the duck. We’ll probably try one of the fancier ones in a couple of days (fancier and probably double the price) so we’ll compare!