This is part 3 of the China Series detailing my recent trip to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. Other posts in this series include part 1: Wander the Streets of Beijing, part 2: Xian'r Lao Man and some other preview posts: China: Lost in Translation, and Happy Birthday Bryan: an Ode to Noodles and Ducks.
Welcome to one of the most beautiful dining rooms I visited while in Beijing.
Even before we left for China, we had already heard about "Made In China," the elegant Chinese restaurant inside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Beijing. People raved about the Peking duck, conceding that while the prices were high, the quality of the duck was definitely worth it.
After first having a minor taxi snafu where we ended up at the wrong Hyatt and had to pay our driver more than twice [grrrr - he reset the meter], we finally arrived at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Hotel (backpack, sneakers, and all) to get a taste of what the imperial palace would have enjoyed over a century ago.
Just a tiny bit of background first - Peking duck was something that only those in the imperial palace enjoyed. It was not until the late 1800's during the Qing Dynasty that Yang Renquan brought Peking duck to the masses by opening the first Quanjude (now a popular chain in China).
Made In China is a beautiful venue in which to enjoy this Beijing specialty. There are multiple open kitchens, many of which are surrounded by glass. It's fascinating just to watch the chefs expertly prepare handmade buns, dumplings, hot wok dishes, and (of course) duck.
I took the liberty to wander around the restaurant with my big fat camera. 🙂
In one corner you'll see huge steamers cooking dim sum dishes.
It's fascinating to watch the chefs prepare the ducks, roast them, and then carve them.
In Beijing, the ritual seems to always be the same. First, they cut off slices of the crispy skin, which you're supposed to eat on its own dipped in sugar. Though it sounds a bit strange, it's surprisingly good.
Then you get slices that have both meat and skin. This is typically the leg meat, and maybe some other parts of the duck. Finally, you get leaner meat without skin, which is usually the breast meat. Of course, they also provide these wonderfully fresh, moist pancakes which you use to make your duck wraps!
Using chopsticks, pick up a few cucumbers / scallions and dip them in the sweet brown sauce (like Hoisin sauce). Add some duck meat and then wrap it up.
Enjoy! Smile while savoring the perfect, heavenly bite. Repeat until the duck is all gone.
At a traditional Peking duck place, they typically saute any remaining meat into a stir fry dish and/or bring out a huge pot of soup. We saw this in Taiwan at (what I still think is) one of the best Peking duck places in the world. Here at this fancier restaurant, they merely brought out a little bamboo cup of soup.
Though tiny, this soup was mind-blowingly good. It had an intense, fragrant "ducky" flavor (for lack of a better word). It had tons of umami, yet was not overbearingly salty at all. I slowly sipped it, deliberately savoring each satisfying taste. I silently wished for more, wondering why they gave me such a puny little cup when most restaurants give you a huge bowl.
As a side note, we actually went back to this restaurant our last day in Beijing (since Bryan decided it was his favorite one). Sadly, the soup the second time around was not as transcendent as the first one. It was still good, but more on par with other places.
Made In China serves a lot of other food aside from Peking duck. Between our two visits there, we tried several. All noodles are homemade (yay!). The za jiang mian (noodles with meat sauce) was very good, as was the tomato and egg noodles. I thought the dry fried green beans were only average (a bit too oily for my tastes), but the tong hao salad was refreshingly interesting. Tong hao is a vegetable that I associate with Chinese hot pots, so it was novel for me to eat it raw.
This spicy stir fried cabbage had the perfect crunchy texture. It was quite spicy, though, and I needed to take breaks from it!
These beautiful "snowflake" pan-fried dumplings had a delicate, intricate "crust" that resembled snowflakes.
This black sesame pancake was interesting, though I think at the end of the day I still prefer scallion pancakes!
Overall, the duck here is one of the best in Beijing. We tried three very reputable duck places in Beijing, and this one was definitely the best. On top of the excellent duck, you have unbeatable ambiance, excellent service, and solid dishes in general. Prices are considered high - a duck costs 198 RMB (close to $30 US). Compare that to a typical duck at a normal place, around 60 RMB ($9 US).
You have to call ahead to reserve a duck (or half duck - $140 RMB). I believe they accept reservations but only up to 6PM. Credit cards are accepted, and they have English menus and English speaking staff.
Made in China
Grant Hyatt Hotel
1 East Chang An Avenue
Tel: +86 10 8518 1234 ext. 3608
Within China: 010-8518-1234 ext. 3608
All Rights Reserved