Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines because its traditional dishes are known for their taste, aroma, and exquisite cooking. One of the most well-known specialties is Peking duck, also known as Beijing roast duck. It is so famous that it is called “the first dish to taste in China.” Discover its rich history, serving style, and proper eating etiquette through this article. This way, you can have an enjoyable dining experience the next time you order at a Chinese food delivery restaurant.
What Is the History of Peking Duck?
Roast duck goes back a long way—it was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui, an inspector for the imperial kitchen. It was also one of the main dishes on imperial court menus in the Ming Dynasty.
In 1416, Bianyifang, the first known restaurant to specialize in roast duck, was opened. It used traditional smaller closed ovens to prepare the dish and heated the oven walls with sorghum stalks to give the duck a crispy finish.
Another famous duck restaurant opened called Quanjude in 1864. Unlike the first roast duck restaurant, they used a unique cooking technique using an open brick oven and hanging the duck to roast over flames.
Roast duck is now Beijing’s best and most sought-after dish. It became a national symbol for the country during the 1970s. It is well-loved and highly praised by tourists and locals, and even high-ranking government officials. In fact, the former US government leader Dr. Kissinger was extremely fond of Peking duck. Other roast duck lovers are the Bush family members, the family of two former US Presidents.
How Do Restaurants Serve Duck Dishes?
The dish is presented as the whole duck, and then it is taken away for slicing. At some restaurants, it is sliced in front of your table. One duck can be sliced up into 120 thin slices with both meat and skin.
You can find two-course Peking duck in our kitchen menu at our Chinese seafood and dim sum restaurant. We prepare Peking duck with steamed buns. You can also choose to have it with either lettuce wrap, vit bac kinh goi salad, duck lo mein, or vit bac kinh mi.
What Is the Proper Way of Eating Peking Duck?
You rarely eat Peking duck on its own during a meal. The duck slices are brought to the table with side dishes and condiments, such as thin pancakes, hollow sesame biscuits, cucumber sticks, plum sauce and fresh cucumber, green onion or shallot, and garlic paste and sugar.
The best way to eat Peking duck is to take a pancake in one hand, pick up a slice of duck using your chopsticks, then coat it in plum sauce. Afterward, spread the sauce using the duck onto the pancake, add some more duck slices, green onion, and cucumber. Finally, roll up the pancake and eat it with your hands.
Peking duck has become an integral part of Chinese culture. It is one of the dishes that you must try when visiting China. However, take note that you can still have a taste of the best Peking duck and other must-try culinary creations even without having to fly thousands of miles by ordering from a Chinese restaurant near you.
At Ocean Palace Restaurant in Houston, we serve many traditional Chinese dishes, including Peking duck. We also specialize in seafood and dim sum for your eating pleasure. Contact us to order for takeout or delivery!