Peking Duck
Overview
 
Peking Duck, or Peking Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

's national foods
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

.

The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned
Seasoning
Seasoning is the process of imparting flavor to, or improving the flavor of, food.- General meaning :Seasonings include herbs and spices, which are themselves frequently referred to as "seasonings"...

 before being roasted in a closed or hung oven.
Encyclopedia
Peking Duck, or Peking Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

's national foods
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

.

The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned
Seasoning
Seasoning is the process of imparting flavor to, or improving the flavor of, food.- General meaning :Seasonings include herbs and spices, which are themselves frequently referred to as "seasonings"...

 before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce
Hoisin sauce, or haixian sauce, is a Chinese dipping sauce. The word hoisin is a romanization of the Chinese word for seafood "" as pronounced in Cantonese.-Ingredients:...

 or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude
Quanjude
Quanjude is a famous Chinese restaurant known for its trademark Quanjude Peking Roast Duck and its longstanding culinary heritage since its establishment in 1864 in Beijing, China.- Company profile and branches:...

 and Bianyifang
Bianyifang
Bianyifang is the oldest Peking Duck restaurant currently doing business in Beijing, China. The restaurant was established in 1416. A dispute among its owners in 1855 resulted in the branch extant today. In 1855, the Wang family, one of the many minor owners of Bianyifang, decided to open...

, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names.

History

Duck has been roasted in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 since the Southern and Northern Dynasties
Southern and Northern Dynasties
The Southern and Northern Dynasties was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589 AD. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spreading of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism...

. A variation of roast duck was prepared for the Emperor of China
Emperor of China
The Emperor of China refers to any sovereign of Imperial China reigning between the founding of Qin Dynasty of China, united by the King of Qin in 221 BCE, and the fall of Yuan Shikai's Empire of China in 1916. When referred to as the Son of Heaven , a title that predates the Qin unification, the...

 in the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

. The dish, originally named "Shaoyazi" (燒鴨子), was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages (飲膳正要) manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui
Hu Sihui
Hu Sihui was a court therapist and dietitian during Yuan Dynasty reign in China. He is known for his book Yinshan Zhengyao , that became a classic in Chinese medicine and Chinese cuisine...

 (忽思慧), an inspector of the imperial kitchen. The Peking Roast Duck that came to be associated with the term was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, and by then, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus. The first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang
Bianyifang
Bianyifang is the oldest Peking Duck restaurant currently doing business in Beijing, China. The restaurant was established in 1416. A dispute among its owners in 1855 resulted in the branch extant today. In 1855, the Wang family, one of the many minor owners of Bianyifang, decided to open...

, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416.

By the Qianlong Period
Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796...

 (1736–1796) of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, the popularity of Peking Duck spread to the upper classes, inspiring poetry from poets and scholars who enjoyed the dish. For instance, one of the verses of Duan Zhu Zhi Ci, a collection of Beijing poems was, "Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig
Suckling pig
A suckling pig is a piglet fed on its mother's milk . In culinary, a suckling pig is slaughtered between the ages of two and six weeks. It is traditionally cooked whole, often roasted, in various cuisines...

". In 1864, the Quanjude
Quanjude
Quanjude is a famous Chinese restaurant known for its trademark Quanjude Peking Roast Duck and its longstanding culinary heritage since its establishment in 1864 in Beijing, China.- Company profile and branches:...

 (全聚德) restaurant was established in Beijing. Yang Quanren (楊全仁), the founder of Quanjude, developed the hung oven to roast ducks. With its innovations and efficient management, the restaurant became well known in China, introducing the Peking Duck to the rest of the world.

By the mid-20th century, Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, favored by tourists and diplomats alike. For example, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, the Secretary of State of the United States
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, met Premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 in the Great Hall of the People
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, People's Republic of China, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It functions as the People's Republic of China's...

 on July 10, during his first visit to China. After a round of inconclusive talks in the morning, the delegation was served Peking Duck for lunch, which became Kissinger's favourite. The Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement the following day, inviting President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 to visit China in 1972. Peking Duck was hence considered one of the factors behind the rapprochement of the United States to China in the 1970s. Following Zhou's death in 1976, Kissinger paid another visit to Beijing to savor Peking Duck. Peking Duck, at the Quanjude in particular, has also been a favorite dish for various political leaders ranging from Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

.

Raising the duck

The ducks used to prepare Peking Duck originated in Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

. They were small, had black feathers, and lived in the canals around the city linking major waterways. With the relocation of the Chinese capital to Beijing, supply barge traffic increased in the area. Often these barges would spill grain into the canals, providing food for the ducks. By the Five Dynasties, the new species of duck had been domesticated by Chinese farmers. Nowadays, Peking Duck is prepared from the Pekin duck
Pekin duck
Pekin duck, or Long Island duck , is a breed of domesticated duck used primarily for egg and meat production. It was bred from the Mallard in China. The ancestors of those ducks originated from the canals which linked waterways in Nanjing and originally had small bodies and black feathers...

 (Anas platyrhynchos domestica). Newborn ducks are raised in a free range
Free range
thumb|250px|Free-range chickens being fed outdoors.Free range is a term which outside of the United States denotes a method of farming husbandry where the animals are allowed to roam freely instead of being contained in any manner. In the United States, USDA regulations apply only to poultry and...

 environment for the first 45 days of their lives, and force fed
Force-feeding
Force-feeding is the practice of feeding a person or an animal against their will. "Gavage" is supplying a nutritional substance by means of a small plastic tube passed through the nose or mouth into the stomach, not explicitly 'forcibly'....

 4 times a day for the next 15–20 days, resulting in ducks that weigh 5–7 kg (11–15 lbs). The force feeding of the ducks led to an alternate name for the dish, Peking Stuffed Duck .

Cooking

Fattened ducks are slaughtered, plucked, eviscerated and rinsed thoroughly with water. Air is pumped under the skin through the neck cavity to separate the skin from the fat. The duck is then soaked in boiling water for a short while before it is hung up to dry. While it is hung, the duck is glazed with a layer of maltose
Maltose
Maltose , or malt sugar, is a disaccharide formed from two units of glucose joined with an αbond, formed from a condensation reaction. The isomer "isomaltose" has two glucose molecules linked through an α bond. Maltose is the second member of an important biochemical series of glucose chains....

 syrup, and the innards are rinsed once more with water. Having been left to stand for 24 hours, the duck is roasted in an oven until it turns shiny brown.

Peking Duck is traditionally roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven. The closed oven is built of brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 and fitted with metal griddles . The oven is preheated by burning Gaoliang wood at the base. The duck is placed in the oven immediately after the fire burns out, allowing the meat to be slowly cooked through the convection
Convection
Convection is the movement of molecules within fluids and rheids. It cannot take place in solids, since neither bulk current flows nor significant diffusion can take place in solids....

 of heat within the oven.

The hung oven was developed in the imperial kitchens during the Qing Dynasty and adopted by the Quanjude
Quanjude
Quanjude is a famous Chinese restaurant known for its trademark Quanjude Peking Roast Duck and its longstanding culinary heritage since its establishment in 1864 in Beijing, China.- Company profile and branches:...

 restaurant chain. It is designed to roast up to 20 ducks at the same time with an open fire fuelled by hardwood
Hardwood
Hardwood is wood from angiosperm trees . It may also be used for those trees themselves: these are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen.Hardwood contrasts with softwood...

 from peach
Peach
The peach tree is a deciduous tree growing to tall and 6 in. in diameter, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach...

 or pear
Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

 trees. The ducks are hung on hooks above the fire and roasted at a temperature of 270 °C (525 °F) for 30–40 minutes. While the ducks are cooking, the chef may use a pole to dangle each duck closer to the fire for 30 second intervals. Almost every part of a duck can be cooked. The Quanjude Restaurant even served their customers the "All Duck Banquet" in which they cooked the bones of ducks with vegetables.

Besides the traditional methods to prepare Peking Duck, recipes have been compiled by chefs around the world to produce the dish at home.

Serving

The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally carved in front of the diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancake
Pancake
A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side...

s , spring onions
Scallion
Scallions , are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are "onion-like", having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb.-Etymology:The words...

 and sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber
Cucumber
The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. There are three main varieties of cucumber: "slicing", "pickling", and...


sticks. The diners spread sauce, and optionally sugar, over the pancake. The pancake is wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and eaten by hand. The remaining fat, meat and bones may be made into a broth
Broth
Broth is a liquid food preparation, typically consisting of either water or an already flavored stock, in which bones, meat, fish, cereal grains, or vegetables have been simmered. Broth is used as a basis for other edible liquids such as soup, gravy, or sauce. It can be eaten alone or with garnish...

, served as is, or the meat chopped up and stir fried with sweet bean sauce. Otherwise, they are packed up to be taken home by the customers.

Reheating

Whole Peking Ducks can be ordered as takeaway
Takeaway
Takeaway can refer to:* Take-out food* The Takeaway , an American public radio morning news show* Turnover * Turnover * Subtraction—an alternative name...

s. The ducks can be reheated at home with an oven, grill or boiling oil. When an oven is used, the duck is heated at a temperature of 150 °C (300 °F) for 20 minutes, and then at 160 °C (325 °F) for another 10 minutes. The grilling method involves filling the duck with boiling water before placing it on a griddle, 70 cm (28 in) above the cooking fire. The boiling water is replaced every 3–4 minutes until the duck's skin is piping hot. To reheat the Peking Duck with oil, the duck is sliced into thin pieces and placed in a strainer held over a wok
Wok
A wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. It is used especially in East and Southeast Asia.Woks are most often used for stir frying, but can also be used in other Chinese cooking techniques, such as in steaming, deep frying, braising, stewing, smoking, or making soup...

 of boiling oil. The duck is then rinsed several times with the oil.

Notable restaurants

A number of restaurants in Beijing specialise in Peking Duck. Examples include Quanjude, Bianyifang, Changan Yihao (長安一號), Beijing Xiaowangfu (北京小王府) and Dadong Tuanjiehu Kaoyadian (大董團結湖烤鴨店). Some restaurants, in particular Quanjude and Bianyifang, have long histories of serving high quality duck that they are now household names, or laozihao (老字號), literally "old brand name". In addition, Quanjude has received worldwide recognition, having been named a China Renowned Trademark in 1999.

Crispy aromatic duck

Crispy aromatic duck (香酥鴨 xiang1 su1 ya1) is a similar dish to Peking duck. It is very popular in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, where it was created in the latter half of the twentieth century.

The duck is first marinated with spices, then steamed until tender, and finally deep fried until crispy. The meat has less fat and is drier and crispier compared to that of Peking Duck.

See also

  • Zhangcha duck
    Zhangcha duck
    Zhangcha duck, tea-smoked duck, or simply smoked duck, is a quintessential dish of Szechuan cuisine. It is prepared by hot smoking a marinated duck over tea leaves and twigs of the camphor plant...

  • Roast goose
    Roast goose
    Roast goose is a dish found within Chinese and European cuisine.-Southern China:In southern China, roast goose is a variety of siu mei, or roasted meat dishes, within Cantonese cuisine. It is made by roasting geese with seasoning in a charcoal furnace at high temperature. Roasted geese of high...

  • Chinese cuisine
    Chinese cuisine
    Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

  • Mandarin cuisine
  • Pekin duck
    Pekin duck
    Pekin duck, or Long Island duck , is a breed of domesticated duck used primarily for egg and meat production. It was bred from the Mallard in China. The ancestors of those ducks originated from the canals which linked waterways in Nanjing and originally had small bodies and black feathers...

    , which is the animal used for Peking Duck, and, which is also served as "Long Island
    Long Island
    Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

    duck" in the USA

External links

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