Peking duck restaurants to open in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Bianyifang, the oldest Peking duck restaurant chain with over 600 years of history, announced yesterday they are opening a new flagship store in cooperation with Hebian Food and Beverage group in Kaohsiung.

The restaurant is scheduled to be opened sometime at the end of August and will use ducks bred in Pingtung County. It will be facing an old competitor from Beijing, Quanjude, which has recently joined forces with a hotel in Yilan to tackle the Taiwanese market.

Peking duck is a dish which puts the emphasis on the tenderness of the meat and crispiness of the skin after being cooked on a spit in a furnace. Bianyifang, along with Quanjude, are among the most famous of Peking duck restaurants.

It is reported that over the past few years Quanjude has approached Hebian Food and Beverage group but were unable to finalize a deal due to issues related to their supply of ducks. Bianyifang's CEO Liu Dong-liang and Hebian's chairwoman Chang Su-luan happened to meet each other in February at the Characteristics Beijing Week event and signed an agreement to open the flagship store.

Chang commented that Hebian's property, which is located at the Banana Pier's seaside ballroom, has recently had a new fence installed and has started decorating for the opening of the new restaurant. Bianyifang executives and top level chefs will be attending board meetings in Kaohsiung and oversee the installation of duck ovens and outlining of cooking techniques. Likewise, Hebian will send some of their staff to Beijing for expert training.

Chang indicated that in addition to their Peking duck, they will be selling hundreds of multiple famous brands' snacks from mainland China at the Banana Pier store. Chang emphasised that Taiwanese people no longer have to travel all the way to Beijing to taste authentic Peking duck and other mainland Chinese treats.

Hebian Group plans to have their company along with its subsidiaries publicly traded by next year. This is also the first time a mainland Chinese firm has successfully launched a joint venture with a company in southern Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Quanjude has come to an agreement with Evergreen Resort Hotel's Chiaohsi in Yilan County to serve Quanjude-branded Peking duck at their restaurant. Evergreen Resort Hotel said that they plan to sell approximately 40 ducks a day, with each duck serving four to six people. The hotel expects the average meal to range from NT$3000 to NT$6000 (S$130 to S$260). Evergreen plans to use ducks from Hualien County's Cherry Valley and use Quanjude's famous cooking technique.