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HOME > TAIPEI > DINING

TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE > May 2009
 

Beijing Roast Duck - Crispy Skin & Juicy Meat: Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant, Beiping Xi Lai Shun , Beiping Tao Ran Ting Restaurant, Celestial Restaurant

Written and translated by Diva Yang
Photos by Andy Lin (Beiping Tao Ran
Ting Restaurant & Celestial Restaurant)

Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant

 

 

 

 

Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant

39, Alley 25, Lane 113,
MinSheng E Rd, Sec 3; (02) 2718-5477
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
Credit cards accepted.
No service charge.

Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant is located in a back alley by Sherwood Hotel. For more than 20 years, it has provided top-notch, but inexpensive, northern Chinese cuisine. The decor may be simple but the food is so good that customers return again and again. Mr. and Mrs. Zhong are a perfect duo--he is the chef and she's in charge of the service. They are so hard-working that they only take five days off a year, during the lunar new year. In fact, they have to prepare more than 100 "Chinese New Year Roast Duck Set Menus" (NT$3,000 for 10 people) for take-out before taking their annual leave. Mrs. Zhong says proudly, "Our roast duck is still tasty even when it cools down. The aroma of the meat is just as good as when it's fresh out of oven. You can steam the take-out roast duck and it's delicious!" Ju Yuan is well-known for Chinese northern noodles and steamed breads. The "Handmade Flakey Pancake" (NT$50), Pancake with Scallions, and Beef & Scallion Pancake Roll (NT$88) are all-time customer favorites. Diners shouldn't miss the on-going lunch promotion, offering all noodle dishes and steamed breads for 20% off. Beef Noodles (NT$98) are now only NT$78 after this discount. "He Cai Dai Mao" (NT$158) can be served as is or wrapped into a roll with a pancake, while General Zuo Zong Tang Chicken (NT$168) is spicy and goes well with handmade flakey pancakes. Roast Duck (NT$800) can serve four to five, and NT$100 is added for each additional cooking style. If you order the roast duck served in three ways, there is a special NT$980 price. In addition to wrapping the roast duck skin and meat with Yilan scallions or cucumbers in a piece of pancake, the second suggested method is to stir-fry the duck meat with cabbage or Chinese broccoli. The third way is to make a soup with choices of ginger, white cabbage, Taiwanese picked vegetables, sour cabbage or preserved mustard greens. If you're not very good at ordering for group dinners, you can always consider the Roast Duck Set Menu (10-12 courses, ranging from NT$2,000 to NT$4,000), which serve eight to 10 at an average of NT$400 per person--a real bargain!

Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant Beiping Ju Yuan Restaurant

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Beiping Xi Lai Shun

Beiping Xi Lai Shun

(02) 2391-9904
5, JinShan S Rd, Sec 2
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 4:30-9 pm
Credit cards not accepted.
10% service charge.
Chinese/English menu.

Beiping Xi Lai Shun was founded in 1970 and, during its most flourishing years, had six branches. Located on JinShan South Road, the original restaurant is still a popular eatery. During lunchtime, the 9-to-5 office crowd in the neighborhood flocks into Beiping Xi Lai Shun for a quick bite. Chef Ying Xiong Tsai has over 40 years of experience making roast ducks. "People nowadays are concerned about health and prefer less salt and less oil in their diet," he says. "Southern-style duck is marinated first and, therefore, it tends to be salty. As for northern-style duck, it is broiled first before roasting and the taste is rather light." Chef Tsai roasts ducks using traditional methods learned from his teacher. However, he respects customers' wishes when it comes to how to slice the ducks and is happy as long as they are. For example, some diners ask that duck skin be sliced so that some meat is attached. Roast duck served in one or two ways is NT$800, and adding a third way is NT$900. The most requested combination is "Roast Duck with a small serving of Signature Northeast China Style Sour Cabbage Pot" (NT$980). That means a half roast duck is carved into pieces, with the other half saved for cooking in the sour cabbage pot. This dish is economical to make and delicious! BBQ Chicken and Bean Thread Sheets (NT$258) is an appetizing cold salad. Pair it with Sticky Rice & Corn Congee (NT$35) for a tasty, healthy and nutritious meal. Baked Sesame Sauce Cake with Beef (NT$35), Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (NT$80) and Steamed Pork Dumplings (NT$80) were voted as the must-order specialties on the menu, making them perfect for sharing with a group.

北平西來順 北平西來順

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Beiping Tao Ran Ting Restaurant

Beiping Tao Ran Ting Restaurant

 

 

Beiping Tao Ran Ting Restaurant

(02) 2778-7805
86, FuXing N Rd, 2F
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Chinese/English/Japanese menu.

Fifty years into its existence, Beiping Tao Ran Ting Restaurant is managed by its third generation and still sees a full house daily. Young and old alike, including Westerners, love the roast duck here. Manager Tien Lin Yang started learning all there was to know about Beiping duck when he was a sixth grader. Now he still works in the kitchen, roasting ducks all day long, and taking turns with his apprentices to slice ducks by the dining table. When it comes to this delicacy, he insists on certain standards, teaming up with a duck farm in Yilan that exclusively provides live ducks to him. While most farms slaughter ducks after raising them for 60 days, Yang believes that good duck meat requires at least 90 days. Each duck weights 3.3 kilograms and only charcoal is used for roasting. The sweet bean sauce is stir-fried for eight hours and the thin pancake wrappings are made in-house. The fresh scallions are also from Yilan because they are the finest in Taiwan. Roast ducks are always sliced by the table for customers to see. The original eating style is "Crispy Skin & Duck Meat in Pancake" (NT$900) and there is a NT$100 surcharge for each additional style. The basics are "Fried Shredded Duck with Bean Sprouts" and "Pickled Vegetables Duck Bone Soup", while alternatives are "Deep-Fried Duck Bones" and "Fried Eggs with Duck Fat", which are an acquired taste for diehard duck lovers. The most raved-about item is "Minced Duck in Lettuce" (NT$200 surcharge)--at least a half-duck is stir-fried with a Chinese fried doughnut and then wrapped in a big piece of leafy lettuce. If you're keen on giving each of the above eating methods a try, you'll need to order at least two whole ducks! While the first order of Cold Shredded White Chinese Cabbage (NT$150/small) is on the house, you'll end up ordering another because it is everyone's favorite appetizer. Shredded Radish Cake (NT$30/each) is covered in white sesame, and when you take the first bite you'll be surprised at how juicy it is, much like a Chinese soup dumpling!

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Celestial Restaurant

Celestial Restaurant

Celestial Restaurant

(02) 2563-2171
1, NanJing W Rd, 3F
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.

Established in 1971, Celestial Restaurant has been a favorite among gourmet food lovers and is also a designated dining spot for Japanese tourists. Each of its ducks weighs at least 3.6 kilograms and only ducks raised in Yilan are used to make the famous roast duck here (whole roast duck NT$900; with duck soup NT$1,050). Each duck requires 50 minutes of roasting in the oven and the last order is at 8:40 p.m. Only whole roasted ducks are sold here, because it tastes the best when it's fresh out of the oven--juicy, tender and crispy on the outside. Celestial Restaurant can sell up to 100 ducks per day. Roasted ducks are first presented tableside before the chef carves it into thin slices in the kitchen. The proper way of eating them the first time around is to wrap the crispy skin and scallions together with the sweet bean sauce into a roll. With one bite, you'll be wanting more! For the last four decades, Celestial Restaurant has maintained its high quality cuisine and flavors, and there are countless signature dishes on the menu that keep diners returning over and over again. Restaurant vice president Mr. Cun Xiong Wen has a few personal recommendations: Green Beans with Shredded Chicken (NT$330/small) is a simple dish that requires the entire staff to peel snow pea pods every morning. VP Wen notes, "It is time-consuming and labor-intensive and everyone raves about it". Baked Bean Curd (NT$160/small) is incredibly light, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. An unusual dish called "Ni Han Ning Mo Ha Ku Ta" originated from the famous Manchu Han Imperial Feast, and consists of braised fish maw and beef tripe. Last but not least, you definitely should taste the pan-fried leek dumplings and scallion pancakes, which are truly authentic flavors from northern China!

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