Our apologies to the China Forum posters/readers for posting something that doesn’t quite make sense, but these two posts were originally posted on the Outerboros Forum in NYC, and deleted due to being too off topic, hence we are posting the two deleted posts here at the China Forum for possible Outerboros readers who may have an interest in seeing the street vendor pictures.
Brian S replied 2 Oct 2006 in Outerboros Forum to designerboy01 - **deleted in Outerboros due to being off topic**
I had Peking Duck in Peking's most famous duck place just after the Cultural Revolution. The place was so crowded that a line of hopeful diners formed behind each seat. Many of the people had never had it before, they were poor and it was a big treat. I had to show the family at my table how to eat it! They were eating the duck, the pancakes and the sauce all separately and I thought the risk of offending them was less than the risk that their big night out would be spoiled. But the duck wasn't as good as Peking Duck House in NY, and they left the skin on the meat.
2 Oct 2006, Outerboros Forum, “lwong” In response to Brian S - **deleted due to the post being very off topic.**
Was that at the Quanjude restaurant in the Qianmen area that you ate in? When we were in Beijing in the 90’s, we went to the branch of Quanjude called the “Sick Duck” near Wangfujing Street, due to it being near the famous Peking Union Medical College hospital started by the Rockefeller Foundation. During that trip, we happened to go twice to the “Sick Duck” branch and enjoyed the Peking Duck there both times. In the 90’s, Quanjude started a branch in Rosemead, California, and we have tried that one also. The Rosemead branch that we went to on a weeknight was virtually empty and served a Peking Duck that was very oily, but reasonably tasty. Unfortunately, the Rosemead branch did not have enough customers and closed down. We have tried the Peking Duck House restaurant on Mott Street in NYC a number of times over the years, including earlier this year, but felt that on the last occasion there, while the Peking Duck was okay, the skin could have been more flavorful and crispier. In our last trip to Beijing earlier this year, we wanted to try the DaDong Roast Duck restaurant which is known for good Peking Duck near the end of our stay, but local friends told us that we would need to make a reservation otherwise it would be at least a 1 hour wait and that the Duck was overpriced and subsequently we went to another restaurant, since it was too late to make a reservation.
That was a very interesting story about the poorer local Beijing people not having any understanding about how to eat Peking Duck right after the cultural revolution in the 70’s. The item about people waiting behind each diner is very accurate. One member of our household grew up in Beijing and indicated that if a person wanted to go out to dinner at a restaurant, they had to develop a skill in determining which diner would finish dinner earlier and stand behind their seat in order to get the table. For some reason, the government management at the restaurants did not establish any organized procedures for seating people. This is probably a good reason for having private ownership and management of restaurants.
In present day Beijing, restaurants are opening left and right, from high end to low end. Labor rates are low enough that restaurants can afford to overstaff. At one restaurant that our family was invited to by our friends, there were four young girls in fancy costume waiting at the front door to greet the guests, and one of them took the heavy bag that we were carrying down to the private room that our friends had reserved for the occasion. Our family ate at many excellent Beijing high-end restaurants at only moderate U.S. prices.
We realize that we are going way off topic now, but thought you might be interested in seeing a picture of some street food in Beijing that we enjoyed while playing tourist in the area south of Tiananmen Square known for it’s art galleries and art supplies. The two pictures are self-explanatory:
Do the pictures bring back any memories of Beijing street food? The Chinese Hamburger only costs 3 Yuan (approx. Y8 = $1). We had one with pork and it was quite good. Too bad Flushing Chinatown does not have one of these vendors.