• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Fat Guy

Roast Duck: Tips, Techniques & Tradition

118 posts in this topic

My understanding has always been that 'Beijing' is now considered a more accurate transliteration of the Chinese name for their capital city than 'Peking'. However, we don't always update names to keep abreast of etymological, historical or political changes. Siamese cats are not now known as Thai cats, for example. Rhodesian ridgebacks are not, I believe, preferably called Zimbabwean ridgebacks.

Not precise analogies I know, but it indicates that one needs to decide whether 'Peking duck' is the proper name of the dish, or whether it is a phrase which refers to the dish and includes the proper name of the Chinese capital. If the latter, there might be a case for updating to 'Beijing'.

I doubt if there's a right answer.


Edited by Wilfrid (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad nothing was ever named after Upper Volta. That would have been a jarring name change.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Too bad nothing was ever named after Upper Volta. That would have been a jarring name change.

The three Volta rivers (red, white, and black) are still called that, as far as I know, as is Lake Volta in Ghana. Upper Volta got its name because it was further up the rivers.


Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I would be in favor of Beijing Duck, even though Peking Duck is by far the more prevalent translation in the US, because then diners would no longer conflate Peking Duck with Pekin breed duck. :hmmm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would favour Peking Duck - think of it as a phrase in itself rather than the constituent parts. The obvious example is Bombay Duck, as opposed to Mumbai Duck! Similarly Peking University is still called Peking University as opposed to BJ Uni (www.pku.edu.cn)

Bear in mind there is a case for sticking with Peking in any case. Beijing is, after all, the name in Chinese rather than English. After all we don't called Florence Fiorentia, Turin Torino or Lisboa Lison when we're talking in English

cheerio

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I would be in favor of Beijing Duck, even though Peking Duck is by far the more prevalent translation in the US, because then diners would no longer conflate Peking Duck with Pekin breed duck.  :hmmm:

Why not keep Peking Duck and change the name of the Pekin breed to Upper Volta Duck?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I would be in favor of Beijing Duck, even though Peking Duck is by far the more prevalent translation in the US, because then diners would no longer conflate Peking Duck with Pekin breed duck.  :hmmm:

Why not keep Peking Duck and change the name of the Pekin breed to Upper Volta Duck?

Same problem, people would just confuse it with the Muscovy duck (which isn't really a duck, so it already is confused enough).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it walks like a duck, tastes like a duck and quacks like a duck...it's a duck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bear in mind there is a case for sticking with Peking in any case.  Beijing is, after all, the name in Chinese rather than English.  After all we don't called Florence Fiorentia, Turin Torino or Lisboa Lison when we're talking in English

Yuh, but it's arguable that Peking is just a transliteration of a different spoken Chinese, unlike Florence, which is clearly an English bastardisation that has become its own.

Just to confuse the issue, it's still (more or less) Peking if you're Cantonese, no?

(For me, the city is always Beijing, but the duck can go both ways)

So who's been to Xianggang recently?


Edited by Kikujiro (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yuh, but it's arguable that Peking is just a transliteration of a different spoken Chinese, unlike Florence, which is clearly an English bastardisation that has become its own.

I think "Peking" happened because of a misunderstanding of the very cumbersome transliteration systems devised by the European missionaries to China in the 18th and 19th centuries (as an example, voiced consonations were written as the consonant letter followed by an apostrophe, unvoiced without, so to really pronounce "p" it would be written p', whereas a "b" sound would be written p, and somewhat similar transliteration rules applied to "k" and "j".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not clear to me that b for p & j for k is a big linguistic shift.

The assonance in ducking pee will tend to have the edge for me.


Wilma squawks no more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not clear to me that b for p & j for k is a big linguistic shift.

Now nothing is clear to me, but what I meant was that there was never a linguistic shift -- Beijing was always pronounced Beijing. Western missionaries (who were among the first to translate the classic Chinese philosophers, compile dictionaries...) just had a very misleading system of transliteration in which unvoiced consonants weren't used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The obvious example is Bombay Duck, as opposed to Mumbai Duck!

Which if I am not mistaken (which is entirely possible, if not likely) is a type of fish or preparation of fish and further adds to one's confusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Toby's right. I always assumed that Peking came from a transliteration of the Cantonese pronuncation , which would also explain why "Peking duck" triumphed in a restaurant industry in the US largelu run by Cantonese. But it seems is in fact that it is to do with weird transliteration systems designed to reproduce the same sound as "Beijing". Less clear is which system. Some sources claim "Peking" is Wade-Giles but others point out the correct WG version would be "Pei-Ching" (which makes more sense). Seems we may have some Germans and Scandinavians to blame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my copy of Mathews' Chinese English Dictionary (originally published 1931, 1943 American edition), which uses the Wade-Giles romanization system (devised in 1890s) the entry for "bei" (=north, first syllable in Beijing) is listed with primary pronunciations as "po" = (bo) or "pe" (=be), and then a note says usually pronounced "pei" (=bei) and next to the characters for north + capital (=Beijing), they give the definition, "Peking." Interestingly, Nanjing (= southern capital), is defined as Nanking. I think very early translations of the Chinese classics used "King" instead of "Jing" (another character, meaning essentially "canonical work", as in "Yi King" = "I Jing"). I don't have any information about systems of romanization earlier than Wade Giles; James Legge who translated the classic works in the mid-19th century used an earlier system (since updated to Wade-Giles in later reprints of his translations); Ezra Pound may have relied on earlier versions of Legge, since he sometimes uses "king" instead of "jing"; he also used Fenallosa and B. Karlgren (who was Scandinavian) and was more interested in ancient and archaic pronunciations and transliterations.

Don't you miss Off Topic Chat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The obvious example is Bombay Duck, as opposed to Mumbai Duck!

Which if I am not mistaken (which is entirely possible, if not likely) is a type of fish or preparation of fish and further adds to one's confusion.

Geoduck?


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As discussed in the "Food Media and the News" forum, the current edition of Art Culinaire describes lacquering. Below is an excerpt on Peking duck:

"Chinese culinary historians maintain that [peking duck] does not have a long history. ... The ducks are then inflated by blowing air between the skin and the body. The skin is pricked and then doused with boiling water, and the ducks are hung up to dry in an airy spot from four to give hours -- or sometimes overnight during the winter months. ..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent years thinking that Cantonese Roast Duck was the high point of Chinese poultry cookery. Then I visited Hong Kong and discovered that all those ducks hanging in the window were not ducks but geese.

Was I shocked to discover this goose cult. Going out to a goose restaurant is one of the famous things to do when you're chasing good Chinese cooking in HK.

In NYC though, no one seems to make BBQ Goose just Duck. We raise geese, but they rarely make it to market. Why do you think? Whatsup? What's the situation in your community? Which do you prefer? Why?


Edited by eatingwitheddie (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Braised goose is really good, Chiu Chow style.

Taiwanese people eat boiled goose. In Los Angeles, there are little Taiwanese snack shops that serve boiled goose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love roast goose, when I can get it. Teochew style goose braised in soy sauce, cloves, 5 spice powder etc is available in some restaurants, but roast goose is harder to come by. My favourite Cantonese restaurant calls me whenver they have deliveries of geese and my (even more preferred) favourite pigeons- apparently the birds travel as hand luggage, so there is usually only 10 pigeons and even fewer geese each time.

I don't know why roast goose is not more commonly found. It may be that it is more fatty and gamy than duck. I know some people have problems with duck so goose would be unthinkable for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We can get roast duck quite easily in Malaysia. Roast goose is available too but it is a lot less common.

roast goose ... is more fatty and gamy than duck

Hmmm...to me, roast duck tastes more gamey than roast goose. Maybe the ducks we get here are different! I prefer roast duck to roast goose as the taste of roast duck is more intense while roast goose is relatively bland.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      I was recently asked by a friend to give a talk to a group of around 30 first-year students in a local college - all girls. The students were allowed to present me with a range of topics to choose from. To my joy, No. 1 was food! They wanted to know what is different between western and Chinese food. Big topic!
       
      Anyway I did my best to explain, illustrate etc. I even gave each student a home made Scotch egg! Which amused them immensely.

      Later, my friend asked each of them to write out (in English) a recipe for their favourite Chinese dish. She has passed these on to me with permission to use them as I wish. I will post a few of the better / more interesting ones over the next few days.

      I have not edited their language, so please be tolerant and remember that for many of these students, English is their third or fourth language. Chinese isn't even their first!

      I have obscured some personal details.

      First up:

      Tomato, egg noodles.

      Time: 10 minutes
       
      Yield: 1 serving

      For the noodle:

      1 tomato
      2 egg
      5 spring onions

      For the sauce:
       
      1 teaspoon sesame oil
      1 tablespoon sugar
      ½ teaspoon salt

      Method:

      1. The pot boil water. At that same time you can do something else.

      2. Diced tomato. Egg into the bowl. add salt and sugar mixed. Onion cut section.

      3. Boiled noodles with water and cook for about 5 minutes.

      4. Heat wok put oil, add eggs, stir fry until cooked. Another pot, garlic stir fry the tomato.

      5. add some water to boil, add salt, soy sauce, add egg
       
      6. The tomato and egg sauce over noodle, spring onion sprinkled even better.
       


      More soon.
    • By zend
      I just bought these greens from the neighborhood Asian grocery. Had them once in China as a salad, and they tasted exceptional - a bit peppery like arugula, yet much more subtle and fresh, with hints of lemon.
      Store lady (non-Chinese) could not name them for me other than "Chinese greens".
      Any help identifying them is greatly appreciated
       

    • By liuzhou
      China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50%
       
      I wish them well, but can't see it happening. Meat eating is very much seen as a status symbol and, although most Chinese still follow a largely vegetable diet out of economic necessity, meat is still highly desirable among the new middle classes. The chances of them willingly giving it up, even by 50%, seems remote to me.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
       
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
       
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
       

       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.