The next-best thing to eating Peking duck at the Forbidden Palace—where it was invented centuries ago by the emperor’s court chefs—is savoring it at Made in China, inside the Grand Hyatt Beijing. The five-year-old restaurant cannot claim the experience of Quanjude, a Beijing establishment that has served Peking duck since 1864, but it does have a 120-square-foot, walk-in wine cellar that holds more than 2,200 bottles. The 118-seat restaurant serves 40 of the 3-pound ducks per week. Each is roasted in one of two ovens fueled with the wood of apple, apricot, and peach trees, which flavors the birds with fruit-scented smoke.
The most critical step in the cooking process involves an air pump that separates the skin from the flesh; this technique allows the skin to gain its crispness. Prior to roasting it, the Made in China staff hangs and air-dries each bird for about 65 minutes. Servers carve the duck tableside, swiftly slicing it into 120 pieces that you eat with thin pancakes, cucumbers, and traditional sauces.
Made in China, Beijing, +86.10.8518.1234, ext. 3608, www.beijing.grand.hyatt.com
David Powell of Torbreck Vintners in Marananga, South Australia, recommends: “Any Grenache-based wine, particularly the Torbreck Steading. A wine of medium palate weight, with good sweet fruit, will match the savory saltiness of the Peking duck.”