Liqun. No. 11. Beixiangfeng, Zhengyi Road, Qianmendong Beijing, Hebei 100051
Liqun is not a crepes-only restaurant but crepes are its main attraction. Liqun has been running for approximately 200 years and despite its very modest appearance has hosted leaders, artists and philosophers from all over the world.
The restaurant is a hutong residence with a number of rooms around a very small courtyard. The traffic in the restaurant can only be described as mad and if you haven't made a booking a wait of two hours or more is not uncommon.
The number of chefs working in a very small and dark kitchen is amazing, the noise is the energy I'm sure for firing the cooking :) As you enter the house from the small street the first thing you see is the open oven with many ducks roasting away vertically on poles. Attendants are there adding wood to the fire and scraping away the spent ashes, turning the ducks as they reach a golden amber perfection and then whisk them almost invisibly into the kitchen.
You have been drinking some Beijing beer or have braved the selection of Chinese wines in anticipation of a banquet and here it comes. The chef brings in a duck complete on a tray. He performs a last honing of a large knife and meticulously carves the smallest slices of meat from the bird. Each piece has an appropriate ratio of crispy skin attached. The plate piles with the delectable oily meat and soon an almost anorexic duck is sitting where the golden bird once was. The pile of meat is brought over to the table and we diners start assembling the most magnificent Beijing Duck crepes imaginable.
The crepes are of the famed Mandarin style, the straws of gherkin are perfectly sized and the scallions fit the width of the crepe to a Tee. The black shimmering sauce adds a finality to the added pieces of duck that can't be replicated with hoisin or huangjiang sauce. It is the secret of Beijing.