During the entire China trip, the only real food venue I researched was the famous Peking duck. Naturally its home is in Beijing and so I read a few online articles before settling upon a place. What struck me about Li Qun was that the setting is more discreet, amongst the hutongs of Beijing away from the crowds, and it had been recommended by a few people online including Kylie Kwong (who was probably the only Chinese-style celebrity chef I knew of back then).
On a freezing January evening, I braved the cold and dark to find this place. Armed with my Lonely Planet map and a whole lot of clothing, I eventually found the wall inscriptions showing me the way.
This quiet night had me and one other small table as guests. The host attempted in vain to communicate in Mandarin. Eventually she spoke a simple English phrase - "1 person, 1 duck". I nodded my agreement for the approximately $30 course. The ducks were hanging in a brick oven with woodfire licking their skins. One came to my table and was carved and set down alongside wraps, spring onion and hoisin sauce.
I had previously read the traditional Peking way was to eat almost exclusively skin, but this was nicely balanced between skin and tender flesh. In the end I struggled my way heroically through an entire duck before waddling out. In hindsight it was a nice experience, although I can't put any duck in front of the glorious samples from HKK in London (http://eatlikeushi.posthaven.com/hkk-london-04-2013).
In any case if I ever make it back to Beijing, I'll come here and try another place, to see how my tastes may have changed.