Review: Having Peking Duck at HuaJia Yiyuan in Beijing

beijing food gui jie ghost street
Huajia Yiyuan is a short 2 min walk from the start of Beijing’s popular food street, Gui Jie (Ghost Street)

Huajia Yiyuan was a recommendation by a German friend who I met while climbing the Great Wall. He said the roasted duck was very good and that the food was affordable. The restaurant also had a draft German beer Krombacher on the menu, and he seemed quite satisfied with it :). I decided to give Huajia Yiyuan a try as it was on Gui Jie, a five-minute walk away from my hotel – Qian Yuan International Business hotel. I was also famished from my hike around the Great Wall and I thought some Peking duck would do my stomach good. Here’s my experience having Peking Duck at HuaJia Yiyuan in Beijing.

The Service

It was a week day and I arrived at about 7.45pm, with the hope of avoiding the crowds. By them, the crowds had thinned and I had a large semi-private room to wait in. It was sufficient to hold 10 people and there was a nice plant at the centre of the table. I waited about 20 minutes before I was seated at one of the higher floors. The staff took a while to bring me the menu and to take my order. By then, I was starving! If I recalled correctly, the staff took a while to get the bill for payment as well.

花家怡园 huajia yiyuan restaurant
The waiting area is quite nice.
花家怡园 huajia yiyuan restaurant
I was wondering why were there streamers which adorn the ceiling.

From the signs and decorations, it appeared that there was a function held at the restaurant earlier. It was probably a tour association event, based on the sign. I was starving and was told that the Peking Duck would take another 20 minutes to prepare. So I ordered a Zha Jiang Mian to go with it. I wanted to try and determine if the Zha Jiang Mian was similar to what I had the night before – which was made up of thick starchy noodles and a rather salty paste of minced pork and fermented soya beans.

Peking Duck at HuaJia Yiyuan in Beijing
Turns out a banquet was held here before that.

The Food

Zha Jiang Mian

huajia yiyuan zha jiang mian minced meat noodles
Taste the same but this is more elegantly plated.

The Zha Jiang Mian tasted quite similar to the one I had the day before, at the barbecue restaurant along Gui Jie (which was filled with cigarette smoke – more on that in the next post). I thought the issue was with the restaurant, but it turns out that this level of saltiness seems to be quite the norm for a Zha Jiang Mian. I made a mental note to order food which is lightly flavoured, while in Beijing.

Peking Duck

Peking Duck at HuaJia Yiyuan in Beijing
Different ways to have Peking Duck

The minimum portion I could order was half a duck. I am not a big fan of eating animal fat, hence the many slices of duck skin were a little much for me. I couldn’t finish them, though I enjoyed the flavours and the work that went into making the skin crisp with tiny air pockets. I liked that Huajia Yiyuan was creative with serving Peking Duck, and matched it with different sauces, condiments and rice wrappers, similar to that of a popiah skin (a popular Chinese burrito-like roll with a turnip filling).

The Travelling Squid’s Take

The other restaurant which I had Peking Duck at was Quan Ju De and the service was impeccable. I arrived at about 11.30am on a weekday and perhaps due to fewer diners, the service staff was very attentive and thought me how to wrap the rice paper around the duck. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. As for the taste, I would say that Quan Ju De’s duck seems to be a little more authentic, and I like it a bit better. That said, I suppose if you’re looking for slightly higher than average restaurant food, Huajia Yiyuan makes a decent choice too. More to come on Quan Ju De in an upcoming post.

***

Having Peking Duck at HuaJia Yiyuan in Beijing

  • Address: 235 Dongzhimennei Dajie, Dongcheng District / 东城区, 东直门内大街235号
  • Tel: 6405 1908
  • Tripadvisor page

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