30 (Mon) May 2016
at Jing Zun
Mission to China, Day 2 (see previously 7.145 Some Kind of…).
In Beijing. Arrived yesterday. Here to attend a tobacco meeting, today. Flying back to Manila, tomorrow.
Peking Duck is a Chinese duck dish. Traditionally made with the Pekin breed, usually no longer the case, particularly outside of China. Whole bird, air pumped into the carcass to separate the skin from the flesh, boiled, hung to dry, glazed — not so much for flavor, typically kept simple with soy sauce and sugar, mostly to enhance the crispiness during roasting — roasted in an oven until the fat renders and the skin gets really crispy — the separated + crispy skin is the most essential element, which most places fail (see for example 1.271 Beijing Duck). Often served “three ways” (see for example 5.256 Lapu-Lapu with Chopped Chili) : (i) starting with the skin only, topped with sliced scallions and cucumbers, plus plum sauce, wrapped in thin pancakes; (ii) followed by the meat diced and stir-fried with vegetables; (iii) closing with a soup and/or congee made with the leftover flesh and bones. Once royal cuisine, now a national culinary treasure.
Often confused, Peking Duck is totally different, in preparation and plating, in taste and texture, in history and stature, than Cantonese-style siu mei roast duck/goose (see for example 3.141 Flying Roast Goose) — like the difference between prime rib and BBQ ribs — though many places will serve the Cantonese type (easier to prepare and maintain) in the Peking fashion (as described above) (see for example 5.244 Scrambled Egg Whites…).
Overall, the meal was meh.
The Peking Duck was, in particular, sorry to say, kinda meh. Certainly the crispiest that I’ve ever experienced, but perhaps a bit too much, more on the side of crunky*. But beyond the bite, not much flavor. Oh well.
Although I will of course continue to explore this dish, I’m currently in favor of the Cantonese style + Peking fashion (as described above).
*I just coined this word.