|Wai Tan Beijing Roast Duck
|80 West Dashi Rd. |
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
We think Beijing Roast Duck is best enjoyed while the weather is still on the cool side, so we went to check out Wai Tan over on Da Shi Xi Road, which has long been one of Chengdu's most popular places to indulge in this Northern specialty. We arrived to find a large dining room with round tables, gold cloths and red chair covers, and duck-themed light fixtures that have probably been around for a few decades.
Our roast duck was crisp skinned and delicious dipped in the sweet sauce, garnished with shredded cucumber and spring onions, and wrapped in the pancakes. In many roast duck restaurants, customers will ask for the duck carcass to carry home and make soup, but here the appeal of a good soup starter is outweighed by the appeal of the Dry-Fried Duck Skeleton (干煸鸭架), which can be ordered in several different flavours and which was on almost every table. It comes as a pile of crispy fried bone and meat fragments and makes for addictive nibbling. We asked for the salt and pepper flavour (椒盐味). They can also do ma la or a soy sauce version.
We tried to order the mixed potato, eggplant and green pepper dish known as di san xian, thinking a Beijing roast duck restaurant would also have some northern dishes on the menu. However we were out of luck as the majority of the menu puts the restaurant squarely in Chengdu. We asked if they would do their Shredded Potatoes dry-fried style (干煸土豆丝) and got a pile of unexpectedly spicy shredded fried potatoes. An order of Pea Shoots fried qiang chao style and some Soy Sauce Ribs rounded out our order. The service is a little on the relaxed side, and we would probably choose a different setting to impress a business or romantic interest, but the food is great, the place has plenty of character, and the price is right for roast duck at this Chengdu institution. Our bill was less than 35RMB per person.