If you’ve ever heard duck referred to as Peking or Beijing when ordering Chinese food, it will amuse you to know both terms describe the same dish. Peking is an old name for Beijing, and today, the dish still boasts its history and menu popularity proudly.
What is the Peking duck?
Peking duck is one of the best-known Beijing dishes. It is commonly served as an appetizer or as a sweet treat to enjoy in the afternoon.
Peking duck is served as thin, tender slices of roasted duck meat plus the crispy skin, all wrapped inside a thin crepe. Along with the duck, the crepe is served with cucumbers, spring onions, hoisin sauce, and/or sweet bean sauce.
Typical dish ingredients:
- Roasted duck, served tender and thinly sliced
- Crispy skin
- Thing crepe
- Spring onions
- Hoisin sauce
- Sweet bean sauce (usually only one of the two sauces)
Some chefs take on creative attempts to infuse the dish with their own culinary touch, but you will typically see these staple ingredients listed above.
The selling point of our Peking duck starts with the right breed of duck, coated with home-made sauce for one or two nights. Then, our chefs inflate the duck to separate the skin and meat, blanch it in boiling water, and marinate for another one or two nights. Our Peking duck is roasted to the perfect point.
Crispy skin, juicy and tender meat with our house special dipping sauce, served together with thinly sliced leeks and cucumbers wrap, makes our Peking duck recipe a perfect dish for all your senses. As one of our signature dishes, it is well-received by all the foodies in our restaurant.
The timelessness of Beijing Roast Duck
Even with only a few ingredients, this dish continues to hold a prominent place on menus in Chinese and Asian fusion cuisine in general. Its lasting dominance can be greatly attributed to a long and decorated history in Chinese culture.
A brief history of Beijing duck
To detail the history of roasted duck in Beijing, we will rewind the clock all the way back to 420s, in the early Southern and Northern dynasties, and follow time into the 1200s, during the Yuan dynasty where the dish set sail into its esteem.
- Royal beginnings
In roasted duck’s earliest acclaimed moments, Hu Sihui, a royal dietary physician, required the duck to be prepared inside a sheep’s stomach. Today, roasted duck is still prepared elaborately.
- Nanjing origins
As mentioned earlier, roasted duck is named after Beijing or Peking, which is an older spelling variation of Beijing. However, the roasted duck dish first appeared in Nanjing, Jiangsu during the Ming dynasty. When the Ming dynasty moved to Beijing, they brought roasted duck along with them.
- Qing fame
When the Qing dynasty surpassed the Ming dynasty, the popularity of roasted duck flourished, establishing a fixed place on the menus of royals, nobles, poets, and scholars.
Part of the appeal of roasted duck is its extravagant prep routine. Once the ducks are raised to dish maturity, they are processed and hung to dry with maltose syrup. Then, they are roasted in a traditional closed oven or in a hung oven method. In some Chinese restaurants, the duck can be seen cooking hung from a ceiling hook and roasting over a wood-burning fire.
Not only is roasted duck still found on Chinese and Asian Fusion menus, but it’s continued to play a role in international relations. The traditional dish is shared between politicians and diplomats when meeting to discuss and solve important world affairs.
A Taste of authentic Peking duck without going to China
At Zhen Wei Fang, we are committed as much to the dining experience as we are to the quality of ingredients and authenticity in our Asian fusion recipes. Try our half or whole Peking duck as a mouthwatering appetizer before diving into our organic and locally sourced main courses.
Dine with us at Zhen Wei Fang on the Bowery for an inspiring Chinese cuisine experience. Let our robot host greet and seat you to enjoy our marvelous Asian fusion food and culture.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to peek into our funky, swanky spot, we look forward to welcoming you and giving you a taste of carefully sourced authentic Chinese cuisine with hints of Japanese and French infusion.