Beijing’s most famous duck dish is of course Peking Duck which has been prepared since the imperial era. The meat is prized for its thin, crisp skin. When you have visitors in town, you will no doubt spend at least one evening dining out on duck. Most duck restaurants will have the chef slicing the duck at your table, and their carving skills will certainly impress your guests. With a proliferation of duck choices across Beijing, choosing which one is the biggest challenge. I’ve tended to opt for the bigger names when we’ve had visitors to entertain, Duck de Chine, Quanjude, and Da Dong. One name that I hadn’t yet tried, but kept hearing great things about, was Jing Zun Peking Duck Restaurant.
Jing Zun was voted “Outstanding” Best Beijing Duck – Casual, in the Beijinger’s 2015 Reader Restaurant Awards. This clean, reliable and affordable duck brand serves plump and succulent ducks. We dined at their Sanlitun restaurant, the other venues being Guanghua Lu and Shuangjing. The reasonably priced duck (RMB 128) is skillfully carved and juicy, its skin very crisp, the portion generous with a good meat-skin ratio. The pancakes are a little softer than you find elsewhere, but were still very good. The accompaniments were fresh, clean, and complemented the duck perfectly.
In addition to the duck, we feasted on sweet and sour prawns, spicy sizzling beef, chicken in black bean, steamed rice, and several beers. The prawns were plentiful, large and plump, and served with the right amount of chili heat in the sweet and sticky sauce. The chicken dish included diced potato, although the sauce could have had a bit more heat. The beef was beautiful in both taste and texture. Presentation was good and portion sizes generous. Jing Zun serves great northern family-style cuisine, with all the classics such as dry fried green beans, stir-fried eggplant with soy sauce, and Kung Pao Chicken.
Wait staff were efficient, friendly, and spoke very good English. With a large terrace out front and two floors of seating inside, it’s no wonder the Sanlitun branch is popular with both expats and locals. The entire meal came in at under RMB 400, making Jing Zun not only a great duck restaurant, but an incredibly good value restaurant too. We will definitely be coming back, with or without visitors.
Jing Zun Peking Duck Restaurant 京尊烤鸭
Bldg 6, Taipingzhuang Nanli, Chunxiu Lu (north of Xingfucun Zhonglu), Chaoyang District (6417 4075)
beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent Sally Wilson moved to Beijing in 2010 from the UK with her husband and son. Her daughter was born here in 2011 and both her kids keep her happily busy. In her spare time, Sally loves to stroll through Beijing’s hutongs and parks. She is a (most of the time) keen runner and loves reading: books, magazines, news, and celeb websites – anything really. Sally is also a bit of a foodie and loves trying out new restaurants.
Photos: Sally Wilson