Then there is Siji Minfu Restaurant Peking Roast Duck四季民福烤鸭店 at Deng Shi Kou Street 灯市口店, the award-winning Chinese restaurant which probably comes in between.
Each dish is prepared with an assortment of spices to retain its authenticity. It is anchored on ingredient seasonality and says no to MSG. WOW for a Chinese restaurant.
The décor at this restaurant is very authentic and follows a very Chinese-like architecture, complete with lanterns and traditional wood carvings.
Compared to the ultra-modern atmosphere of Da Dong, Siji Minfu is more classic, with a vibe that is satisfyingly local.
Turnover is quite fast – this isn’t an eat-then-hangout type place.
The menu is thick with too many dishes that it gets kind of overwhelming. For travellers, thankfully there is English translation.
On Page 1 alone, you get sections from “The Famous Beijing Cuisine”, “The Unforgettable Beijing Cuisine” and “The Famous Beijing Appetisers”, with a whole list of food items below.
This chain is popular for its authentic Peking duck, carved tableside. Locals and tourists alike line up out the door for the famed duck, expertly roasted so that the skin shatters while the flesh remains tender.
The duck is priced at RMB108 for half (SGD21.56, USD15.83), RMB198 (SGD39.53, USD29) for whole. A whole duck is easily enough of a meal for three to four people.
Take note there is additional RMB6 for the pancakes, and RMB5 per person for condiments.
Once the duck is ready, it is wheeled out into the dining room on a large platter by a knife-wielding chef.
Within seconds, the skin is removed from the breast of the duck in 3 wide strips. The meat underneath is completely undisturbed.
The tender duck breasts are cut out and sliced thinly on a bias. The meaty sections of the ducks thighs are sliced in half-moon shaped slivers.
The skin from the breast is sliced similarly, at an even sharper bias. Both thinly sliced duck meat is placed on a platter, topped off with the sliced skin from the back.
The rest of meat are carved off from the wings, drumsticks, neck, split head and the coveted “pope’s nose”.
Go ahead and dip the crispy duck skin slivers into sugar. As you bite, it almost instantly melts on your tongue along with some smoky duck fat.
You are given a basketful of paper-thin wheat-based pancakes to wrap the duck. The server will demonstrate how to do it if you are a foreigner.
Dip the meat (maybe 2-3 pieces) into the fermented bean sauce before laying onto the pancake. Add some pickles, scallion, and cucumber batons and then wrap.
Your meal ends with a bowl of creamy white Duck Bone Soup (additional RMB20) with choy sum, tofu and vermicelli.
It is intentionally bland to cleanse your palate of the rich flavour of duck.
Some of the other popular dishes to go along include Deep-Fried Meat Balls (RMB49), Deep-Fried Shrimp with Honey Sauce (RMB79), Kung Pao Shelled Shrimp (RMB138), and Mixed Bean Sprouts (RMB29).
While the price is not exactly very cheap and service seemed rushed, this is probably where you can get the Top 5 Peking Duck in Beijing, along with a variety of other dishes. Good for a sit-down dinner meal.
Located near Qianmen Street Main Station, prior booking is recommended as the place is almost always full.
Otherwise, I would recommend to go before typical dinner time such as 5pm. Take a number and wait for your number to be called. Expect to wait for about 30 – 120 minutes, depending on what time you arrive.
Siji Minfu (Deng Shi Kou)
32 Dengshikou W St, DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
Tel: +86 10 6513 5141
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm
Google Maps – Siji Minfu