Peking duck

On July 13, 2012, in Beijing, Restaurants & Food, by Jack Li

If you are traveling to Beijing there is some things that you cannot miss, one of them is the famous Peking duck, the typical dish of the city of Beijing with its peculiar way to eat it, so be sure to make a stop in your Beijing tour to enjoy this delicious dish!

This dish has been prepared since the Imperial Era, and it needs a complicated elaboration to make it the traditional way.

For example, the ducks are specially raised for the dish, when they born they are set in a free range environment for 45 days and after that they are force-feed four times a day during 20 days so they reach the ideal weight of 5-7 kilos by the end of this process.

Then they are slaughtered and plucked, they take all the viscera off and they rinse the body with water, after that they pump air through the neck in a point that is between the fat and the skin and it is boiled for a short time and hanged to dry.

While it’s hanging they coated it with syrup and they rinse the interior once more, 24 hours later they roast it in a special oven where the duck can be hanged during the roasting process, they use gaoliang wood to heat it and it is slowly cooked.

Once cooked the chefs store it and preheat it when is time to serve it, they slice it in front of the costumers and they serve it in three stages.

  1. The first one is the skin, it’s served with sugar and garlic sauce
  2. Then they serve the meat, this is very important because it’s the main part of the dish, they serve it with spring onions, sweet bean sauce and other sliced vegetables and it is accompanied by very thin pancakes called chūn bǐng , the right way to do it is putting a pancake in your hand, fill it with meat dipped in sauce and some vegetables and then folding it so nothing escapes.
  3. They also serve a broth made with the rest of the duck’s meat or they stir fry it and put it in sweet bean sauce.

If you don’t finish all your duck, don’t worry! Normally they pack the things you haven’t eaten and you can bring them home.

There are a few variations on the recipe depending on the restaurant or the chef and it can be also ordered to take away, and in that case you can choose if you want it preheated or not or cut or not, it depends on your abilities!

So if you are traveling to Beijing, either for a long period of time or even if you are staying just a few days or hours make sure to taste the Beijing duck in a good restaurant, and, if you really want the original taste go to Quanjude or Bianyifang, two very ancient restaurants with more than 200 years of tradition in preparing Peking ducks.

Jack Li
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