quanjude vs bianyifang, beijing. birds?
So, now that we've covered the difference in the ovens used pretty much only in beijing to roast ducks,
if we can only go to one of these two iconic restaurants in beijing for the roast duck - what's the difference in taste between the two? Is one bird moister, fattier, does the other have crispier skin? are the spices used a bigger difference than the cooking method?
Which restaurant has a better roast whole duck?
I know that both have nearly a hundred other duck dishes besides the raison d'etre, i.e. beijing roast whole duck... but that's what I would like as a recommendation.
Thanks in advance.
Both those places are overrated. Bianyifang has possibly the worst duck I have ever tasted in Beijing; skin too dry and meat too fatty at the same time.
I would suggest Huajia Yiyuan on Ghost Street (Guijie) as the best duck in town without spending a fortune. Da Dong is delicious, but worth it if you don't mind spending a lot. I have heard that the new Duck de Chine in Sanlitun in good too.
I remember there was a muslim restaurant in beijing that was also famous for duck - albeit a quarter century ago - hongbinlou, hongxinglou? can't remember.
Acdg to Trentyzan's post on the beijing duck discussion on general topics, the 焖炉 method they use at Bianyifang has them place soup in the duck cavity while the ducks rest on special grills in the braising oven. I would think that the liquid tempers the heat and prevents the fat from melting and dripping off in the hanging method traditionally used at quanjude. Which would explain why the skin woudl be dry (direct exposure to flames on the grill) and the interior would still have fat (liquid moderating the heat to render the fat within the bird).
So the textures while appalling apparently are very much intentional with the contrast being intentional. Since the beijing duck method originally came up from Nanjing in the 19th century, (with meijing /shandong ifluenced flavorings transforming the bird) I would think that a fattier bird would be closer to the original dish - the way the nanjing salt duck and pressed duck are relatively fatty.
Texture aside, are the flavorings at bianyifang also simply awful (the menu has over 100 duck dishes besides the roast duck) or was it compounded by the bad value of the place (quanjude as well)?
Curious. It's been a long time since i"ve been to beijing.
I recently tried both Quanjude and Da Dong. Granted, perhaps different branches may vary in quality, but to my mind Da Dong's was clearly superior. Where Quanjude's was almost tasteless and not terribly crispy, the skin on Da Dong's version was beautifully caramelized and crispy, and the fat just barely perceptible but providing a wonderful texture and creaminess (especially when dipped in the sugar that they provide just for this :)
I haven't tried Bianyifang so I can't comment on it, but I've heard that the "kao ya" at Made in China at the Grand Hyatt is absolutely delicious (albeit pricey!).
I guess the point of the original post was more about the difference in taste between restaurants who use the open hanging duck fruitwood-fire oven method and those that use the closed "braising" straw-fired oven method. My guess is that Da Dong, Quanjude, Lichun (spelling), and HongXingLou all use the hanging open hearth method.
It's not that old a dish - mid 19th century beijing (shuntian) adaptation of a huaiyang nanjing (yingtian) roast duck.- kongxinbing, tianmianjiang, the cucumbers, the scallions, all adaptations.