Peking Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era. The meat is prized for its 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.
According to a Chinese saying, no visit to this city is complete if you miss seeing the Great Wall or dining on Roast Duck. As a famous and delicious food with very long history, Beijing Roast Duck is an excellent choice if you want to understand more about Chinese cuisine, culture and customs.
A number of restaurants in Beijing sell the roast duck with some being sold at a very low price. But if you want to enjoy the authentic Beijing Roast Duck, it would be better for you to recognize two time-honored brands: Quanjude and Bianyifang. They are representatives of the two schools of roasting duck.
The difference between the two lies in their roasting methods. Quanjude roasts the duck by hanging it directly above the burning fruitwood and turning the duck at intervals. The duck is characterized by crisp skin and tender meat. Bianyifang, on the contrary, uses a close oven with a door through which the dressed duck is put inside.
Once the duck is out of the oven, the chef will slice it into around one hundred pieces of meat. It is suggested that the duck is not eaten without lotus leaf-shaped cakes or sesame cakes or seasonings which improve the taste. There are three kinds of seasoning: sweet jam and onion sections (optional cucumber and radish), mashed garlic and soy sauce (optional cucumber and radish), or simply white sugar.
Now try it yourself! Take the first kind of seasoning for example: divide the cake into halves; spread the sweet jam on it, put the onion sections and duck slices in. As tastes differ, you may wrap the duck with mashed garlic and soy sauce to your taste. Some women and children prefer to dip the duck in white sugar.