Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing Roast Duck, or Peking Duck, one of the most famous and delicious food in Beijing, is deemed to be one of the important things that must be experienced in any trip to Beijing. The duck is a variety of ducks that has been specially bred and fattened in the suburb areas of Beijing. After being drawn and cleaned, it will be pumped with air under the skin of the duck to ensure it is separated from the flesh. Then a special sauce is coated over the duck, so that it will appear as if painted a brilliant red when it is cooking, with the nickname “lacquered duck”.And it will look brilliantly dark red, shining with oil and with crisp skin and tender meat. Because of its nice appearance, few people could resist the temptation of it. The history of the Beijing Roast Duck can be traced back to as early as the Yuan Dynasty (1206- 1368) when it was listed among the imperial dishes in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages.

During the Qianlong period (1736-1796), roast duck was a favorite delicacy of the upper classes. According to Recipes from the Suiyuan Garden, the famous cookbook written by the poet and gourmet Yuan Mei, ” Beijing Roast Duck is prepared by revolving a young duckling on a spit in an oven. The chefs of Inspector Feng’s family excel in preparing this dish.” Other scholars, after dining on roast duck, were inspired to poetry. In one collection of old Beijing rhymes (Duan Zhuzhici) one of the poems reads: “Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig.” To satisfy the growing demand for roast duck and with an eye on the profits to be made from a good name, many restaurants opened from a good name,

many restaurants opened under the Bianyifang name. In fact, in 1926, nine roast duck restaurants in Beijing carried this name. In the late 1960s the Bianyifang Restaurant’s name was changed to the Chongwenmen Roast Duck Restaurant, but in 1979 it resumed its former title. Its menu includes more than 20 traditional duck dishes, including the Four Delicacies: wing and web, liver, heart and pancreas. Today, Beijing Roast Duck is well received by people from both home and abroad. Knowing the history of the dish, we will enjoy it with another motion, not only enjoy its taste but also its history and culture.

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