Introducing the Beijing Roast Duck (Beijing Kaoya)
Peking Duck, also known as Beijing Roast Duck (Beijing Kaoya), is one of China’s most famous delicacies. Climbing the Great Wall, watching the Peking Opera and savoring the Peking Duck are the three things that first time visitors shouldn’t miss in Beijing. The traditional method of preparing Peking Duck has a history of more than hundreds of years and enjoys a famous reputation home and abroad. Peking Duck is now considered a national dish of China, but more popular in Beijing.
Peking Duck is famous for its thin and crispy skin, with authentic versions of dish serving mostly the skin and meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Before taking up the menu, it is better to know how the Peking Duck is made and served. The ducks are raised for the sole purpose of making the food. Forced-fed, they are kept in cages to keep them from moving around, so as to fatten them up and make the meat comparably tender. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hang oven. Peking Duck is processed in several steps: first the ducks are rubbed with spices, salt, sugar and then are left to dry for 24 hours. Second they are roasted in an oven, or hung over the fire till they become brown with grease perspiring outside and have a nice odor. Peking Duck is always served in well-cut slices, the whole duck is often sliced into 120 pieces and every piece has to be perfect with the complete layers of meat. Peking Duck is usually served with thin steamed pancakes, scallion and cucumber strips, sweet bean sauce, sugar and plum sauce.
How to eat Peking Duck
The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally sliced in front of the diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served for dipping in sugar or plum sauce. Then the meat is served with thin steamed pancakes, scallion and sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber and turnip strips. Pick up one piece of the thin pancakes either by the chopsticks or hand, use the duck meat or skin to smear the bean sauce onto the pancake. Then place several strips of scallion and cucumber on the pancake, wrap up the pancake and eat by chopsticks or even hand. It is similar to eating the Mexican Tortilla. The last stage is to serve the broth made of duck bone and vegetables which is normally included in the bill.