Not all Chinese weddings are alike! The history of Quanjude Peking Duck

I have been to quite a number of weddings and some blog entries on my other site show pictures.
A wedding is a big thing in China and normally also complicated and very expensive. Especially the bride has to change the dress several times during the banquet. Red envelopes and other presents are brought by the guests. Most of the banquets are held in hotels with intrinsicate decorations, large wedding posters, video showing the young couple, a tower of glasses to pour the champagne, etc. The crowd can be … huge.

Well, not always. This wedding of a close friend was simple but very genuine. The couple is in the first picture: the bride had a nice dress but covered it as she felt cold. No fancy decorations. No flood of presents and “hong bao”.
The location was also unusual: the famous Peking Duck Restaurant at Hepingmen, “Quanjude”. I remember that building from the eighties, it seemed a bit “far” from my Beijing Hotel. The restaurant is huge, see below. The corridors are decorated with historical pictures of famous guests. There are many floors with private rooms. The large public restaurant is usually packed and people wait patiently to get a table.
The Peking Duck is of course, delicious. I still love the dish and always eat too much.

Some history of Beijing Quanjude:

Established in 1864, with a history of 150 years, Quanjude has survived the ordeal of time. Quanjude has eight direct branches in Beijing. The original location operates in Qianmen with several other branches in other locations in Beijing.
There is a seven story restaurant on Hepingmen Ave., a location that was hand-picked by former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Serving up to 5,000 meals a day, this restaurant covers a floor area of 15,000 sqm with over forty private dining rooms and can simultaneously seat 2,000 guests.
Having established a history and affiliation with the Chinese government at the municipal and central state level, Quanjude has often been used to hold state banquets and to receive celebrities, dignitaries, and important government figures from over 200 countries as distinguished VIP guests.
Per year the restaurant chain (50 affiliates across China) sells over 2 million roast ducks served in 400 different styles to over 5 million customers. Annual sales reach 500 million yuan (US$81.5 m).
With its long history, Quanjude roast duck enjoys a high reputation among domestic and overseas consumers for the peculiar roast technique and outstanding quality. It ranks the first not only in Chinese Famous Dishes, compiled by all-China famous chefs under the organization of Ministry of Commerce in 1958, but also in Elite of Chinese Famous Dishes, published by China and Japan in 1982.
In China, the well-known All-Duck Banquet is headed by Quanjude roast duck and supported by over 400 dishes with Quanjude characteristic flavor. Government leaders, officials and VIPs from nearly 200 countries and regions had dinner here.
About Quanren Yang, the establisher and the first manager of Quanjude:
Quanren Yang (1822-1890), the first manager came to Beijing from a famine-stricken area of Hebei Province. After arriving in Beijing, he was firstly engaged in buying and selling raw chicken and duck. In 1864, he rolled the dice with a grocery on the verge of bankruptcy. He renamed the firm QUANJUDE. Due to his extreme smartness and painstaking management, QUANJUDE developed from an ordinary roast duck shop front to a real restaurant characterized by roast duck done by hanging in the oven. This laid a sound foundation for the roast duck to become well known throughout Beijing.

Beijing CBD lights up for the holidays

Another “China Views”.

Pretty interesting to explore CBD (Beijing Central Business District) at night. Except for “The Place” (shimaotianjie), with its giant overhead LED screen, the area is pretty deserted.

The lights are pretty nice and it makes a kind of romantic stroll to visit the area of The Place, World Trade Center (the 3 units) and China Hotel.

Worker’s Stadium in icily holiday spirit

In my series, “China Views”, see here night views of the north side of the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing.

Festive spirit, Chinese style with ice sculptures exhibition inside the stadium.
Opening time: looks like December – January period at least.

The year 2014 in Sanlitun, Beijing – part 1

Beijing can be a health hazard because of its dreadful pollution, and horrible traffic.
On the other hand, living near Sanlitun offers us easy access to the many vibrant aspects of a very much modern and diverse world city. So many things to see and do. So many restaurants to try out, basically whatever food you want you can find in Beijing.
Here I show pictures taken during the period April to August 2014, to give some idea. Part 2 is September to December 2014. It is not supposed to give a full overview, just some snapshots. Up to you to explore yourself. I will post more in the future.
The Village, now named Tai Koo Li (dreadful name; also known in Chinese as Taiguli) is probably the epicenter with many shops like Apple, Godiva, Adidas, UNIQLO, Hollister, Swarovski, etc. Plus a long list of restaurants, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Union Bar and Grill, supermarket, shops and more shops on all levels. And the big Movie house, Megabox. The South Area is very animated, the North Area is much more quiet and also sits next to The Opposite House, a boutique hotel with well-known restaurants and exhibitions. Also in the same area is Nali Patio (full of restaurants and a disco too, Migas).
On the square close to the Apple shop there is life throughout the year. In summer the water fountain attracts kids and adults to play around. Or there is a variety of promotional exhibitions with Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, plus indoor exhibitions around the FIFA World Cup, art, consumer goods, …
The shopping and restaurant mall 3.3 also features regular activities, see here vintage cars coming to Beijing.

With the name of the picture you find the date it was taken.
Of course along 3.3 and The Village we have the Sanlitun Bar Street, with the local bars; most have live bands, cheap drinks, heavy smoking and fake booze.
Winter is also special when the whole area is adorned with lights to make it feel like Christmas. It always attracts masses of people to shoot pictures and the unavoidable selfies.
Close also is the small street where some pretty well-known restaurants and bars are located, like Luga’s, Taps, First Floor, Biteapita, and many more in Tongli Studio. Also home to the food stalls and some creative vendors selling whatever, cute postcards, cigars, DVD, … A good place to sit outside and watch the crowd pass by. Most places have waterpipes (hookah).
Next door is Yashow Clothing Market, now closed for renovation (see previous post).
South is SOHO Sanlitun, another huge area that I have not explored well. It has not yet attracted the huge crowds of The Village.

Beijing Yashow to Close for Renovation 31 December

Yashow, one of the most popular shops for foreigners, is closing for renovations soon, and who knows what sort of stores will return. As a result enormous crowds have invaded the store to grab Christmas bargains. The store is on Gongti Bei Lu, next to The Village (yeah yeah it changed name to Tai Ko Li something).
As reported on local websites:

Legal Daily, the source of the news, interviewed a shop owner who has been at Yashow since its opening 12 years ago told the reporter that “all shop owners received a notice from Yashow’s administration that our contract won’t be renewed after this year, and we were asked to move out by December 31.” Now the sweaters that used to sell for few hundred kuai are sold only RMB 35, and the jackets which were priced RMB 500 are sold only for a fifth of that.
“We are just selling as much as we can for we are moving soon,” said the shop owner. When asked whether he would come back after the renovation, he shook his head and said that “he would see.”

141214 yashows

The report doesn’t speculate if the renovation will make the place more high-end, but the rent will certainly go up. Mrs. Chen, owner of a socks shop, told the reporter that the rent of her shop is about RMB 40k per year now, and she speculated that it would probably go up to RMB 200k-300k per year. She said that if the rent hike would stay within a reasonable range, she would still come back for the sake of her regular clients and “her attachment to the place.”
A worker at Yashow’s supermarket said, “We only know that the contracts won’t be renewed but we know nothing about what the place will be like after the renovation,” adding “Probably only those shop owners who can afford a higher rent will come back.”
The renovation will be finished next April. Many shop owners said that “they will wait and see.”

I admit we have been part of that crowd to empty the stores. Bought some very good stuff there, at a ridiculous bargain price, one can wonder: fake or genuine stuff? Honestly, the fakes are that good I have no idea at all.