What is a real Peking Duck? During the time our restaurant is open, we have heard many different opinions about how the ‘genuine’ Peking Duck should be, how it should be served in a real ‘Chinese’ way and how it should be eaten. This kind of resonance is hardly surprising – any legendary ethnic dish always creates many arguments concerning how it shall be cooked and it is difficult to come to a common opinion.
While everyone is arguing and trying to prove that the duck they have eaten is the most real and authentic Peking Duck, we visited chef of the Peking Duck restaurant – Mr. Ju Bign (Чжу Бинь) and asked him to show how he cooks this dish. Of all people, he knows exactly how to make an authentic Peking Duck. In his life, he cooked thousands of ducks. We can really trust to his experience – Mr. Ju Bing worked for many years in the Jin Mao Tower restaurant, Hyatt hotel in Shanghai, and Almaty people know him because of his wonderful cuisine at Nirvana Bar, one of the projects of the Palladium Family holding.
First, we would like to note that it is impossible to cook Peking Duck at home, you need an entire shop with specialized equipment for that. We know that most of guests come to us particularly for this gastronomic impression; therefore, we treat cooking of this dish with particular care and attention.
To buy a duck at market and to use it to make this dish is equally questionable, for this dish only ducks of special breed imported from China can be used. They are bred in the territory of China in accordance with the standard of the PRC’s government; they all have almost equal weight and size.
This was about a duck itself. Now let us talk about the process.
At first sight, everything seems very simple – you take a duck, roast it and carve it. However, in reality, serving authentic Peking Duck is preceded by a rather long process – cooking a duck takes almost a full day.
Moreover, each stage requires knowledge, experience and special conditions.
It starts with pumping a duck with a compressed air. This process is rather scary for a simple spectator, but it is essential – it makes the skin crispy and golden, as it should be.
The duck is then seasoned and soaked into a syrup of honey, rice vinegar and wine. Then the duck is dried. It is the longest part of the process. Mr. Ju Bign says that for compete drying you need to wait for a full day.
Then it is up to the oven. The duck is first roasted at high temperature, then the temperature is reduced.
Before carving, the duck is warmed up by pouring boiling oil over it. The legendary crust, for which everyone adores this dish, becomes even more exceptional.
Then the culmination comes – the duck is carved. Mr. Ju Bign craftily cuts off absolutely all meat of the duck placing one piece after another on a plate. Each piece should imperatively have a layer of meat and a piece of crispy skin – it is exactly for this that it is liked worldwide.
Then a meat piece is placed on a rice pancake, vegetables and Hoisin sauce are added and you can enjoy a small part of huge China!
One more thing concerning serving. There are many opinions about how the dish should be served, but we have chosen the favorite one, in three stages: after the main dish – duck meat – a broth and roasted duck bones are served to our guests. It creates a real duck feast, which you can hardly leave hungry. Does it sound attractive? You are welcome to come and taste it!