Li Qun Roast Duck
Eating at the Li Qun Roast Duck restaurant is the closest you’re going to come to be invited over by a Chinese friend for dinner – unless, of course, you are lucky enough to be invited over by a Chinese friend for dinner. Li Qun is cleverly hidden to elude all but the most intrepid visitor amidst the dilapidated hútong about ten minutes’ walk from Chongwenmen Xi Dajie near the newly revitalized Qianmen pedestrian street. Locals are used to lost laowài, so don’t hesitate to ask for directions but be prepared for a pantomime if you don’t speak Mandarin. When you finally arrive, besides the feeling of achievement, you will be overwhelmed by the aroma of ducks roasting in the brick oven. (Do make sure to call ahead to order the required number of ducks for your party.) The dining area in this old sìhéyuàn is quite cozy (re: cramped) but that’s all part of its charm – you will have noticed that Chinese and Western sense of personal space is totally different. So get friendly with your neighbors as you lather the hoisin sauce onto your delicate pancake before adding shredded onion, cucumber and duck. Roll it up and dig in.