If you have ever gone to Beijing to taste authentic Chinese food, you may have tasted the world famous delicacy. Prepared for royalty since the 13th century, we have often wondered what it is about the dish that makes it so notorious with dining in Beijing.
Could it be the pickled radish? The scallion, cucumber or sweet bean sauce? What is the special seasoning, and how is the skin so crispy? First, get to know the duck.
The Peking duck is a type of mallard that historically was found in the canals of Nanjing (which was once China’s capitol) before making its way to Beijing as trade commerce spilled grain in the river (and once the capitol was changed to Beijing in the 15th century).
These days, the duck is now raised specifically to be consumed in China. Cooked for 50 minutes while hung in a brick oven, each cook uses their own special seasoning but pays close attention as the duck is roasted to perfection. Each restaurant has its own secret ingredient but only those in duck roasted in China are thought to be authentic.
As China considers getting the duck among other Chinese cuisine listed on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy, the past has also benefited from the duck.
Once touted as part of China’s international diplomacy relations strategy, notable figures such as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger tried out the dish on their official visits to China in 1972, which was the first step in normalizing relations between the US and China.
Try out this dish on our next trip to China.
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