Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hutong Mania and the Great Duck Quest

Something must be said of the distinctive hutongs or courtyard complexes that fill Beijing. A whole lot of them are being demolished to give way to new, more dazzling complexes.

A roaring greeting to you!

There's a whole lot of them north of the Forbidden City, just nearby HouHai Park and Drum and Bell Towers. The area has been developed to a commercial area where you can have dinner some drinks, while nestled in the hutong district. Though this may effort may sound contrived, let me point you to a more authentic hutong district that's a bit harder to find.

The hutong and my shoulder

Searching for the best Peking Duck in town may be in the famed Quanjude Restaurant south of the Arrow Tower but there were three signs that made me veer away from the store:

1. A Lonely Planet un-recommendation for being overly hyped and frantically busy
2. It's ridiculously poncy facade
3. A McDonald's delivering food to the store - through the front entrance nonetheless

We followed hutong lanes not found in the map, but eventually found Li Qun Duck Restaurant. Why we didn't hesitate entering the restaurant despite its rather homely surroundings:

Homely facade

1. Well it was homely and most probably authentic.
2. In typical asian fashion, your success is measured by the photos of important visitors hanging on your wall. I saw a former Philippine ambassador and Jet Li. I'm in!

Emergency ducks on standby


3. We were greeted by these duck drawings. Nothing says "top notch" other than having kids graffiti your neighbourhood with duck doodles.

Big duck drawing gets my approval. Thanks Abi for modeling the post-duck cholesterol high

Post duck review? It was excellent and oh-soo-hearty (dripping in fat and oil). Yaiks!

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