First, this was my first ever visit to China and I was travelling solo on business to Beijing. I arrived on a Saturday around 13:00 for lunch. This restaurant is very convenient to Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, etc., which was a plus. I was assigned a number and directed upstairs to wait. I ended up waiting only about 10 minutes for a table in a side room.
My first impression of the place was not the best. The staff were rather rude compared to other restaurants in Beijing. Maybe it was because I was alone or because of the language barrier (I don't speak any Chinese); I really don't know. But in addition to the staff, the air in the restaurant was warm and heavy with the overwhelming smell of duck fat. For me, it was unpleasant. The smell could have been tolerable if there had been more air circulating through the building.
Given that it was a warm day and that I didn't want to eat nor waste a lot of food, I only ordered the duck, a couple of the sides, and a Coke. Ordering wasn't a problem, and the food arrived quickly. For me, this was another sign of the volume of duck being roasted every day. While not exactly table-side given where I was sitting, the duck was carved close by. The skin was set down first. It was crispy and oily. The rest of the meat was then provided. It tasted good, and was not dry or tough but had a lot of fat. The amount provided was more than enough for one. I wish I could have ordered just a half-duck, but was unable to communicate that to any of the servers (YMMV). I was even given a lesson on how to eat the duck (dip, fold in wrap, etc.). I was a bit put off by this because I didn't need nor ask for the assistance - I already knew in advance but was choosing at times to eat just the meat in the non-traditional way. I was clearly singled out for being a foreigner. Oh well...it's a part of travelling to foreign countries.
I would say that for first timers like myself, this was a good choice for roast duck. Despite the cons, the food was good and this location is convenient to major attractions. However, I ended up eating duck at two other restaurants while in Beijing where the duck was much better (less oily or fatty). Having tried the other places (Xiaowang's Family Restaurant and Huaji Yiyuan), I would probably not eat at this particular restaurant again unless I was a part of a group that chose to eat here.
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