Dish of the Day: Peking Duck
An iconic dish in mainland China has made its way here to Malaysia to be enjoyed by many. Peking Duck, among many other Chinese cuisines has stood the test of time, served since the imperial time until now. Soft, meaty and juicy duck meat, this dish is best enjoyed with a hot plate of rice with the family.
What is Peking Duck?
Peking Duck is said to have the characteristics of thin pieces of tender roasted duck meat with its crispy skin wrapped with thin crepe. It is typically served with spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. Sometimes the it could be stuffed with pickled radish.
If you ordered the dish in the restaurants, you could see it being carved in front of you. Most of the high-end restaurants and hotels served the duck directly in front of the customer. Besides vegetables, there will be steamed pancakes, spring onions and sweet bean sauce.
The sauce is spread on top of the pancake. Then, the sliced duck meat and spring onions are wrapped in the pancake. This dish is usually eaten by hand.
Besides that, if there is leftover, the meat will then be cooked in broth, stir-fried or packed up to be taken home by the customers.
The inception of the dish can be traced as far back to 1271 during the Yuan Dynasty, where it would be associated with the imperial court. In 1330, it was first introduced in a cookbook by a physician named Hu Sihui. His recipe suggested that the duck was to be roasted inside the stomach of a sheep.
The dish is named after the city of Beijing; Peking being an older spelling. However, this dish actually originated from Nanjing located in the eastern province. Peking Duck made into the imperial list of menus after the court decided to move to Beijing, bringing the dish there.
Due to its association with the imperial court, the dish too became a favourite of the nobility. And it has maintained its majestic status due to its lengthy preparation while its rich heritage has become known worldwide.
It is important to know there are differences between Peking Duck and roasted duck as the two originated from the opposite side of the direction in China, the latter being from the South of China while the former is up north. But the two are similar so it could be easy for anyone to get it mixed up.
How to make Peking Duck
The process of preparing the dish is lengthy and specific. Ducks are raised free-ranged for 45 days, which will later be force-fed for up to 20 days. Also, the ducks have to be white-feathered.
Once the ducks are slaughtered, washed and boiled, air is pumped under the skin, then the ducks will be hung to dry. The is so because the skin will come to a crisp when roasted. Spices and maltose syrup are used to glazed the ducks before marinating it in traditional flavourings.
The ducks are roasted until the skin turns brown by either using the traditional method of closed over or the modern way of the hung oven.
Where to find in Malaysia
Most of the Chinese restaurants sell Peking Duck in the menu. You can see a line of roasted duck hanging in the shops. Try the dish from Hai Sang Lou Chinese Restaurant at Sepang Gold Coast. It is one of the famous restaurants where you can enjoy the meal above the sea.
Other than that, you can also try the dish from Roast Kitchen (Kuala Lumpur).
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Article Written By Anna
Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.