Sunday, October 19, 2008

Arrival @ Beijing, Duck of your Life: Day 17

One last breakfast in Shanghai.

Then it's off to Beijing. Here at the smaller of the two Shanghai airports. Checking out photos on the digital camera.

This was how they had it set up at the airport bookstore. No joke. Very funny and cool.

In flight snack. I really like how the Chinese airlines still serve you food. Of course they know if they don't there will be an epidemic problem of CCMs (cheap Chinese men) hording food onto the plane. It would not be a pretty site.

Here at our hotel in Beijing. Talk about bad Feng Shui. A shower with a window?!? And should I also mention (I will!) that when you drive in through the "front" door, you arrive on the ass side of the hotel? You have to drive around to get to the real front entrance. Oh and because this hotel isn't special enough, by State mandate, air conditioning must be turned off starting in the month of October till probably April or so. And unlike the Shanghai trip, we are at this hotel for a whole week. And it's on the 4th ring far away from fun stuff but apparently closer so of the sites we're going to. Sigh. Can only hope for the best.

Our not so spectacular view of "the front," that is the actual front looking out to God knows what. It's becoming painfully obvious this hotel was quickly thrown together just for the Olympics. Apparently it had just only opened in July.

Exterior "actual front" at night.

Leaving for better things.


So Aunt Polly's son David booked us this special restaurant for Beijing roast duck. Apparently big wig communist party members come here and David says hands down this place has better duck than Bianyi Fang (the original restaurant to serve roast duck).

Here in the kitchen, we see our 5 roast ducks looking so good but not very camera friendly inside the dark ovens. These are being cooked with traditional apple wood. I think that's what they said it was. Whatever the traditional wood they use for duck is.

Various duck roasting instruments.

Duck hooks.

Let the duck start! Before this day, the most duck dishes I have ever seen served with roast duck was THREE. Granted these dishes don't all come from the oven cooked ducks, they are served as part of the duck meal and regardless, THREE has been the maximum number of ducks dishes previously seen. Above is.. umm... magic duck meat. In traditional Chinese multi-course meal fashion, a cold meat is served first.

Duck liver. Mind you, I don't eat liver normally but with the endorsement, I will try just about anything tonight.

Duck feet. This is like Chicken's feet (aka Phoenix Claws) that you might see in Chinese restaurants, especially in Dim Sum but these have the bones removed so there is nothing to get in the way of enjoying it. I don't normally eat Chicken's feet, mainly because there are bones in the way and it's a bit excessive eating that much skin, especially with all that sauce that's usually on it but all barriers have been cleared here.

The chef brought us a special bottle of Huang Jio (Orange Wine). He only has two bottles of this vintage and we get one? VIP! Hooray!

Not sure but, well first I believe it is another cold meat. Tasty tasty meat... but it kind of looks like duck head cheese but probably more like the duck was tied up tightly so we are seeing a cross-section of various parts.

Duck salad? How many dishes is that so far? MORE THAN THREE!

This one is a bit strange but I tell you it's freakin good! Well at least here. I'll tell you that it's like eating a hot wing but with a little less meat and a lot more flavor. These are...

duck tongues! Something I was wary of eating but because of the endorsement, I went for it with all my teeth a'blazin. That and the fact that every person who tried it was like "oh my God this is so good!"

Not duck. Well maybe a little? I dunno. David showed up late and ordered this extra dish.

Not the head chef but still a master of duck cut-manship.

More duck

And Beijing roast duck classic. This is how you are most likely to see it served because all those previous dishes were just extra duck dishes. I think normally you get like cold cuts, this roast duck type of wrap, and a soup. By the way, best #%$#^ing duck ever.

Check this out. Normally you get skin, fat, and meat. Here the fat has been cooked so masterfully that it has bubble into this layer of... it's like duck chichirones or fresh cooked duck-pork rinds. But unlike chichirones, this is cooked so evenly or whatever... I can't pretend like I know what's going on but it MELTS in your mouth. It's like melted and crystallized fat that melts. So it's crunchy AND it melts. Mind blowing.

More duck.

I never got the name of this crazy looking plant but it was not just another vegetable dish. This was special and especially good.

"Roast duck in bun" style.

These are two special pieces of the duck. There are only these two pieces in the whole duck. They are served on top of a halved duck head, the only thing I didn't try. I'll pass on the brains. The meat I tried. It was different but not necessarily superior. That was my impression at least. But afterall, I can't see naked meat competeing with crack skin!

Duck soup.

Obviously, I'm more impressed with the chef than he is with me.

At KTV with David. It was his friend's birthday.
If only I could sing as good as this picture.

Did you know that Green Tea and Whisky make a pretty nice and easy to drink drink? Here we are playing Dice. aka Bluff.

Not pictured but I got to meet a pretty famous Hong Kong director at the party. I didn't recognize his name (Maria did) but check out that list. I've seen a LOT of those movies. :-O

So David is my distant cousin. He is my cousins Brian and Patra's cousin. Brian's friends Jodi and Axel were also visiting Beijing.

Birthday of Libras.

I'm losing my voice and I've had 10 drinks!

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