Beijing's restaurant scene has exploded in recent years, with any number of regional Chinese restaurants and Western restaurants from around the world often making if difficult to choose a place to eat.
Why not look to the past for inspiration for your next meal instead? Without a doubt, Beijing has an incredible culinary heritage. As the seat of imperial power for several hundred years, Beijing attracted chefs and masters of taste from around China, to create a distinctive culinary scene that melded the best of regional cuisines with local tastes and ingredients.
Luckily for us, many of these cuisines and the restaurants that serve them are still around today.
Bianyifang: 600-year-old roast duck
No catalogue of Beijing restaurants would be complete without Peking duck. Bianyifang is the oldest surviving restaurant serving traditional Peking duck in Beijing. It was founded in 1416 as a small workshop serving duck and chicken products and established as a more formal restaurant in the Qianmen area in the late Qing dynasty.
Today, they have a number of branches around Beijing, but the original branch on Xianyukou Hutong remains the most atmospheric.
Bian Yi Fang Peking Roast Duck Restaurant was established in 1885, during the fifth year under the rule of Emperor Xian Feng in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There are two methods to make Peking Duck: with a closed oven and with a half-open oven. At Bian Yi Fang the duck is made with a closed oven which offers a flavor a bit different than many other duck restaurants.
Although not one of the most famous duck restaurants in Beijing, Bian Yi Fang is a delicious choice and cheaper than many other places. This restaurant has successfully received former American President Bush and various foreign heads of state and government from a variety of countries. There are 1,000 seats including 23 private dining rooms in Bian Yi Fang Roast Duck Restaurant Chongwenmen Branch.
Bianyifang roast their ducks using the "men lu" (焖炉) method, in which the ducks are roasted inside the oven rather than above it. They claim this method gives juicier meat and crispier skin and we can vouch that their duck is as good as any other we have had in Beijing.
Bianyifang (Qianmen branch)
Add: 4-6 Xianyukou Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
地址：北京市东城区鲜鱼口大街4-6号, 便宜坊Tel: 010 67132535
Details of other branches are available on the website