Origin of the Name
When Yang Quanren, founder of QJD first came to Beijing, he did business of chicken and duck transaction on the meat product market street outside Qianmen. As he was skilled in selling ducks, Yang Quanren’s business became more and more flourishing. Every day, when Yang Quanren set up the stall in the meat product market, he would pass a dried fruit shop called “Dejuquan”. In spite of the bright signboard, the shop’s business went from bad to worse and was close to close-down. Sharp-sighted Yang Quanren seized the chance and took out all his savings to buy this shop.
With his own shop, what name should it be given? Yang Quanren invited a geomancer for consultation. The geomancer said this shop was located in a geomantic treasure land, but it was quite unlucky in the past and the back luck was difficult to get rid of, unless the old name “Dejuquan” was reversed into “QJD”, which would get rid of the bad luck and helped the shop set foot on a smooth way. The name “QJD” was exactly to Yang’s own heart. On the one hand, the character “quan” was included in his name; on the other hand, “jude” meant gathering good virtues, which could advertise that he was honest in doing business. After the shop name was confirmed, he then asked a scholar gifted in calligraphy to write the characters “QJD”, which were then made into a golden inscribed board to hang above the door head. The characters are vigorous, forceful and eye-catching, which further glorified the shop.
One horizontal is omitted in “德”
After Yang Quanren, founder of QJD opened the shop, he asked a scholar called Qian Zilong to write the inscribed board. Through lots of trials and hardships, through several dynasties, this board has been there for more than 130 years. But have you noticed that on this board, one horizontal is omitted in the character “德”? Why? Let’s guess.
Some people guess: when Yang invited Qian, they had a drink together. Knowing Qian was good at calligraphy, Yang immediately took out writing tools for Qian to inscribe. As Qian was a little drunk, he forgot to write the horizontal in the character “德”.
Some guess: when Yang started his business, he totally employed 13 clerks, and with the addition of him, there were totally 14 people. In order to make all the staff unite to work together, he asked Qian to omit one horizontal, showing that everyone shouldn’t be selfish. Hearing this, you may question: can’t the addition of the horizontal better show unselfishness?
Certainly, all these are assumptions and legends. What is the true reason? Back to more than 1000 years ago, similar to polyphone, the character “德” had two styles of writing. The horizontal could be either kept or omitted. This can be proved from the calligraphy works of famous calligraphers in dynasties of Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing. For example, in the imperial calligraphy Great Learning written by Emperor Kangxi, which is now standing in Beijing Imperial College Confucian Temple, the horizontal in “德” is omitted. Another example is the character “德” written by artist Zheng Banqiao in the Qing Dynasty, which either has the horizontal or omits the horizontal. This proves that in the past, two types of writing are both correct in the character “德”.
In order to maintain the original appearance of the inscribed board, the character “德” omitting the horizontal has continued to use.
Good reputation spreads around the world
With the elaborate management of Yang Quanren, the business of QJD became more and more flourishing. He often went to hang around in various roast duck shops in order to search for secrets of roast ducks and seek for masters of roast ducks. He spared no effort to invite Master Sun from Jinhua Palace, who specially made roasted ducks in stoves for imperial meals. Master Sun transformed the original stove into a hanging stove with high and wide body, which could hold more than 10 ducks at a time. Besides, while roasting, ducks could be put in for renewal. With his efforts, the roast ducks are beautiful in appearance, full in figure and bright in color. With a purplish red color, crispy skin and soft meat,, it is fragrant, delicious, fat but not greasy, thin but not skinny. Thus, it has won QJD the reputation that “nothing is better than the roast duck among all cuisines in Beijing”.
One who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a hero; one who fails to eat roast ducks of QJD will be regretful. With its special charm, QJD has attracted lots of heads and important politicians around the world, well-known celebrities and tourists at home and abroad. Many famous people have left their precious photos or calligraphy after dining here, including national or regional leaders and politicians from more than 200 counties or districts like Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Bush, former American President and Kohl, Chancellor of Germany; dozens of artists or sports celebrities such as Carreras, King of Singing, pianist Yanni, and international chess master Karpov.
During his lifetime, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai entertained foreign guests in “QJD” for 27 times. Former American president, Bush was particularly fond of “QJD”. Every time he went to China, he would visit “QJD”. Known for roasted ducks in stoves, QJD has developed into a time-honored brand with “full-duck feast”, which was honored as “Chinese No. 1 Cuisine”.