When you walk into a restaurant where the bizarre concept is 'duck burger
fast food joint', the biggest shocker is that it’s, well… not that bizarre. The décor at duck master chef Da Dong's new fast food joint is sleek, and the restaurant is filled with smartly dressed customers scoffing duck burgers and Salt and Pepper Duck Chops before heading back to the nearby offices.
counter is made to look like a Western fast food chain, but the menu is
unlike any other. Forget nuggets and chips, here customers can expect laoganma spicy mashed potato (5RMB), Petite Meat Moon Cakes (9RMB), and egg tarts (8RMB). Oh, and let's not forget the whole point of the place: the Classic Crispy Lean Roast Duck Burger. That name's a bit of a mouthful already!
Other burgers on the menu include the Spicy Braised Meat Burger (12RMB) and the Low
Calorie Vegetarian Burger (32RMB), and for another 14.5RMB you can get a serving of chips and a Coke. If you're not feeling adventurous enough for a hybrid-burger, DaDong Duck also has a noodle selection of Zhajiang noodles with diced meat (22RMB) and Noodles with Black Truffle
and Meat Sauce (22RMB). Snacks on the menu include the Salt and Pepper Duck Chops (9RMB), Seaweed (Nori) soup with
dried shrimp (5RMB), and Salt-baked Chicken Nuggets (12RMB).
The aim of the DaDong Duck burger joint is to be Chinese fast food done well. They have high hopes for the restaurant, comparing it with the likes of KFC and McDonald's.
We order a burger (22RMB), unsure of what to expect – will this mark the beginning of a glorious Peking duck burger dynasty? Or is this venture destined to become a fusion fiasco?
Our questions are quickly answered with the first bite. The duck burger, though a little stingy on the duck meat, is pretty decent. It's almost a little anticlimactic. The burger kind of just tastes like a burger
– with duck.
The burger as advertised...
... and the reality.
In our defence, we had good reason to be prepared for the worst. A lot of fusion fast food experiments
go horribly, Frankenstein-style, wrong. Just take McDonald’s recent Modern China Burger as an example. Even Buzzfeed and Time couldn't resist slinging insults at the grey mantou buns and tofu nuggets from halfway across the world.
On the whole, the Da Dong duck burger tasted exactly as you’d expect: like a piece of
Peking duck wedged in a bun. Not exactly a thrilling culinary experience, but not a disaster, either.
The crispy skin adds a nice texture
to the burger, and the traditional sauce is an interesting change from ketchup
or mayonnaise. The Petite Meat Moon Cake, a Suzhou-styled
moon cake stuffed with duck, is also good.
Although we can’t help feeling like Peking
duck and hamburgers are two separate things that were doing fine just as they were, we're into this boundary-breaking burger.
DaDong Duck (大董鸭店) First floor, 19 Club, 89 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang district. See venue details here.