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Three famous old Beijing restaurants

http://www.chinese.cn 11:13, July 8, 2010 CE.CN

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As the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing is famous for its food. Here are a few suggestions on what to try when visiting the Chinese capital.

Above all, Beijing Roast Duck is the most famous. There is a saying that you could not have been to Beijing if you had not eaten the Quanjude roast duck.

Quanjude was established 134 years ago during Emperor Tongzhi's reign during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) by Yang Quanren. The businessman earned his living by providing ducks and chicken in the market before moving into selling roast ducks.

Different from other businessmen, Yang employed a cook who had served in the imperial kitchen before. The cook introduced many secretive recipes which soon helped popularize the restaurant with local officers of the emperor's court.

The reputation of Quanjude then grew by its good management, delicious dishes and colorful history.

What makes this specialty at a Quanjude restaurant exceptional is the particular care taken by the chefs to make the roast duck as lip-smacking as possible. The average weight of each bird used at the restaurant is approximately 2.5 kg.

In addition, efforts are made to ensure that only the best quality ducks are chosen and cooked for customers. These special efforts make the meat not only soft but also crisp.

Nearly every part of the duck can be used for food. Quanjude's major dishes includes Beijing roast duck, duck feet with mustard, brine duck liver, stewed duck liver and gizzard, duck slices in wine essence, duck tongue and fried duck hearts, among others.

The Quanjude headquarter is on Qianmen Avenue. It is currently under renovation and is expected to open before the August Olympiad. Its telephone is (8610) 67011379.

Donglaishun is a long-standing Muslim restaurant famous for its quick-boiled mutton. It is popular for its excellent quality of meat, in this case Inner Mongolian lamb. The mutton is cut into slices as thin as a piece of paper.

The establishment was opened in 1902 by two brothers surnamed Ding. It's predecessor was a porridge shop.

When you enter the restaurant you can find hot pots in the middle of the table, which indicates that eating the instant-boiled mutton is a cook-it-yourself affair. You put the thin slices into the boiled water and fish it out minutes later.

Waiters will provide a plate filled with seasoning, usually sesame sauce. Salt, sugar, chili, garlic, cilantro and other spices to dip with the mutton and other materials are also provided. Beef, noodles, vegetables, pork and seafood also can be eaten in this fashion.

Donglaishun is in Dong An Plaza, Wangfujing Dajie, Dongcheng District. Its telephone is (8610) 65280932.

Even older is the Duyichu, 250 years young and famous for its special shaomai, a kind of food made of rice, meat, vegetables and flour.

There is a very interesting story about the restaurant's name. One new year's eve, Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty was returning to the Forbidden City after visiting Tongzhou District. When passing by Qianmen Avenue he noticed there was only one light on.

He went into the restaurant and was satisfied with the food there very much. When he discovering the restaurant did not have a name, he found a brush pen and wrote three Chinese Characters "Duyichu" -- meaning "only the one restaurant on business."

Duyichu soon became popular. Its shaomai features a thin wrap, bright luster and delicious taste. The most tasty, to many, are the crab and leek and pork shaomai.


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