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Peking Duck

Beijing duck? What's it really called? The city was called Beiping at the start of the Ming Dynasty in 1403 and was at that time changed to Beijing. In 1928 the new Nanjing National government changed it to Peking. When the current republic was formed in 1949 they changed the name back to Beijing.

So is it Peking duck? Yeah, I think so. Theres no Wikipedia page for Beijing Duck. It just will redirect you back to Peking Duck.

After being exhausted from our hike around the forbidden city our guide recommended several places to enjoy Peking Duck. We hit our hotel and took a nap. I slept for two solid hours. That's a rarity in the daytime. We hopped on a subway to make our way and I discovered a new level of the sardine syndrome. My friend Jeremy described the subways in Beijing as being so packed you always know what the person next to you had for breakfast. He wasn't wrong.

Before we headed to the restaurant we opted to check out the Hutongs. These are crowded tight alleys with little shops on both sides. For an introvert, these crowds are a bit of a struggle for me, but I'm glad I was able to press on.

During Imperial times these hutongs were housing for the government officials and dignitaries that were "forbidden" from being in the city at night because they weren't allowed to be around all the emporer's pretty young wives after dark. We ended up cutting down a side alley after having a skewer of tanghulu (sugar coated strawberries) to try and get out of the mass of people and make our way to a location where we could grab a taxi.

We randomly bumped into a sign detailing some hutong history where the last emperor Pu Yi's brother Pu Ren lived.

We found our way to a taxi and headed to our restaurant. Ivy had arranged for us to have a private room. This restaurant was huge. We ended up walking through an alley behind the the restaurant. There was certainly a "where are we going?" feeling, but it ended up being very nice.

The meal started with a small tower of items to get us started. The tower disassembled to reveal food. The sweet yogurt on the left had dry ice under it with vapors pumping out that looked cool. That's the second time in China I've seen that affect.

Peking Duck felt like eating tacos. You take a thin flour tortilla and slather some sweet soy mix on it. Add some cucumber, green onion, fruit, sprinkle of sugar, and finally crispy duck. Wrap it up and enjoy. The duck itself is traditionally hung in an open oven and slowly smoked.

It was great, like, I could eat a lot of this. I was shocked that this fancy schmancy spread only ran us about $50USD total. The plan tomorrow night is to find a Texas BBQ place here in Beijing. My friends Tia and Jeremy lived here for two years before coming to Hangzhou and both endorsed it. It's been a while since I've had some good brisket.

Day one in the books. I'm exhausted. After a dessert in the hotel lobby and a glass of red wine I crashed hard. Off to the Great Wall tomorrow.

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