Peking Duck: Reservations Needed?
I'm planning on going to Beijing in a couple of weeks.
To have Peking duck at a restaurant, do people generally make a reservation at least a day in advance, call a few hours ahead, or just show up? Does it vary by restaurant? (I'm probably going to one of the popular ones like Quanjude, Da Dong, or Li Qun.) Also, does it depend on the size of your party?
I know that to eat Peking Duck in the US you need to make a reservation a day in advance since preparation is so intensive, but I heard that because of the volume in Beijing it's not really necessary.
It's usually better to make reservations, but depends on how big your party is. If you've got quite a few people and prefer a room (often with a minimum charge, but it's easily met), definitely book ahead. Da Dong absolutely rocks, Li Qun is very good too, although the seating isn't as comfortable.
Don't bother with Quanjude - none of the original/well-trained cooks are there any more, all it's got left is its name - it used to be excellent before China went communist, which is too long ago...
Also, keep in mind that BJers eat quite early, so if you walk in at 8, you may be disappointed (unless you book and make sure a duck is reserved for you, of course)
Please don't bother with Quanjude. A lot of Beijing restaurants serve Peking duck, with various styles. However I would recommend calling ahead rather than just walking in. It has more to do with the availability of a table rather than availability of a duck.