Bianyifang Roast Duck

Peking Duck in Temple of Heaven Park & Dongcheng South

The grandaddy of duck roasting, Bianyifang has been dishing up waterfowl since the early Ming dynasty. The restaurant's antique roasting method – using closed ovens rather than hanging over a fruitwood flame a la rival Quanjude – results in juicier meat with softer skin, which eaters stuff into hollow sesame rolls called shaobing, though pancakes and hoisin sauce are available.

Now a citywide chain, a branch of Bianyifang has stood here on Xianyukou (Fresh Fish Crossroads) since 1855…until bulldozers razed the area in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics. In typical fashion, the neighbourhood was rebuilt from the ground up into a district of ersatz food streets, and Bianyifang received brand new digs.

Not content to rest on its Ming dynasty laurels, Bianyifang has patented a technique of flavour-infused duck (either 'flower' or 'vegetable'), which is more expensive that the standard fowl. Alternatively, the signature braised lamb breast (¥158) is a mighty tasty duck substitute.