全聚德 (Quánjùdé) is China’s oldest and most famous Peking Duck restaurant brand. In 1864, a young hopeful from the countryside bought a shop in the Qiánmén district just south of the Forbidden City. After having a fēng shuĭ master approve of the building, he started making roasted duck, and the customers just wouldn’t stop coming.
The brand has survived the rise of Communism, perhaps because Chairman Máo himself liked their duck so much that he wrote in 1956: “Quánjùdé is forever to be preserved”. This did not prevent the manager from being sent to the countryside to learn from the peasants (feed pigs, as it happens) in the 1970s, but the brand survived, converted into a state-owned enterprise.
Today, Quánjùdé is managed by the 5th generation descendants of that young man from the countryside, and has branches throughout all of China. The duck isn’t cheap, but its famous!
The only restaurant (we think) to be visited by both George W. Bush and Fidel Castro