• 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 Dejah
      [Host's note: This topic forms part of an extended discussion which grew too large for our servers to handle efficiently.  The conversation continues from here.]
       
       
      Supper: Yeem Gok Gai:

      Mock Fried Rice - grated cauliflower

      Baby Shanghai Bok Choy and ginger

    • By liuzhou
      eG member @Carolyn Phillips has just published her ten-year-long-gestated Chinese cook book, All Under Heaven. 500 pages on China's 35 cuisines. Gathering rave reviews. I've ordered my copy. Can't wait.

      Simultaneously, her "Dim Sum Field Guide is published.
       
      She hasn't posted much here recently, but who would or could while writing two books at the same time - one of them a huge tome?

      Congratulations Carolyn.

       
    • By liuzhou
      A few weeks ago I bought a copy of this cookbook which is a best-selling spin off from the highly successful television series by China Central Television - A Bite of China as discussed on this thread.   .
       

       
      The book was published in August 2013 and is by Chen Zhitian (陈志田 - chén zhì tián). It is only available in Chinese (so far). 
       
      There are a number of books related to the television series but this is the only one which seems to be legitimate. It certainly has the high production standards of the television show. Beautifully photographed and with (relatively) clear details in the recipes.
       
      Here is a sample page.
       

       
      Unlike in most western cookbooks, recipes are not listed by main ingredient. They are set out in six vaguely defined chapters. So, if you are looking for a duck dish, for example, you'll have to go through the whole contents list. I've never seen an index in any Chinese book on any subject. 
       
      In order to demonstrate the breadth of recipes in the book and perhaps to be of interest to forum members who want to know what is in a popular Chinese recipe book, I have sort of translated the contents list - 187 recipes.
       
      This is always problematic. Very often Chinese dishes are very cryptically named. This list contains some literal translations. For some dishes I have totally ignored the given name and given a brief description instead. Any Chinese in the list refers to place names. Some dishes I have left with literal translations of their cryptic names, just for amusement value.
       
      I am not happy with some of the "translations" and will work on improving them. I am also certain there are errors in there, too.
       
      Back in 2008, the Chinese government issued a list of official dish translations for the Beijing Olympics. It is full of weird translations and total errors, too. Interestingly, few of the dishes in the book are on that list.
       
      Anyway, for what it is worth, the book's content list is here (Word document) or here (PDF file). If anyone is interested in more information on a dish, please ask. For copyright reasons, I can't reproduce the dishes here exactly, but can certainly describe them.
       
      Another problem is that many Chinese recipes are vague in the extreme. I'm not one to slavishly follow instructions, but saying "enough meat" in a recipe is not very helpful. This book gives details (by weight) for the main ingredients, but goes vague on most  condiments.
       
      For example, the first dish (Dezhou Braised Chicken), calls for precisely 1500g of chicken, 50g dried mushroom, 20g sliced ginger and 10g of scallion. It then lists cassia bark, caoguo, unspecified herbs, Chinese cardamom, fennel seed, star anise, salt, sodium bicarbonate and cooking wine without suggesting any quantities. It then goes back to ask for 35g of maltose syrup, a soupçon of cloves, and "the correct quantity" of soy sauce.
       
      Cooking instructions can be equally vague. "Cook until cooked".
       
      A Bite of China - 舌尖上的中国- ISBN 978-7-5113-3940-9 
    • By liuzhou
      Introduction
       
      I spent the weekend in western Hunan reuniting with 36 people I worked with for two years starting 20 years ago. All but one, 龙丽花 lóng lì huā, I hadn’t seen for 17 years.  I last saw her ten years ago. One other, 舒晶 shū jīng, with whom I have kept constant contact but not actually seen, helped me organise the visit in secret. No one else knew I was coming. In fact, I had told Long Lihua that I couldn’t come. Most didn’t even know I am still in China.
       
      I arrived at my local station around 00:20 in order to catch the 1:00 train northwards travelling overnight to Hunan, with an advertised arrival time of 9:15 am. Shu Jing was to meet me.
       
      When I arrived at the station, armed with my sleeper ticket, I found that the train was running 5 hours late! Station staff advised that I change my ticket for a different train, which I did. The problem was that there were no sleeper tickets available on the new train. All I could get was a seat. I had no choice, really. They refunded the difference and gave me my new ticket.
       
       

       

       
      The second train was only 1½ hours late, then I had a miserable night, unable to sleep and very uncomfortable. Somehow the train managed to make up for the late start and we arrived on time. I was met as planned and we hopped into a taxi to the hotel where I was to stay and where the reunion was to take place.
       
      They had set up a reception desk in the hotel lobby and around half of the people I had come to see were there. When I walked in there was this moment of confusion, stunned silence, then the friend I had lied to about not coming ran towards me and threw herself into my arms with tears running down her face and across her smile. It was the best welcome I’ve ever had. Then the others also welcomed me less physically, but no less warmly. They were around 20 years old when I met them; now they are verging on, or already are, 40, though few of them look it. Long Lihua is the one on the far right.
       

       
      Throughout the morning people arrived in trickles as their trains or buses got in from all over China. One woman had come all the way from the USA. We sat around chatting, reminiscing and eating water melon until finally it was time for lunch.
       

       
      Lunch we had in the hotel dining room. By that time, the group had swelled to enough to require three banqueting tables.
       
      Western Hunan, known as 湘西 xiāng xī, where I was and where I lived for two years - twenty years ago, is a wild mountainous area full of rivers. It was one of the last areas “liberated” by Mao’s communists and was largely lawless until relatively recently. It has spectacular scenery.
       
      Hunan is known for its spicy food, but Xiangxi is the hottest. I always know when I am back in Hunan. I just look out the train window and see every flat surface covered in chilis drying in the sun. Station platforms, school playgrounds, the main road from the village to the nearest town are all strewn with chillis.
       

       

       
      The people there consider Sichuan to be full of chilli wimps. I love it. When I left Hunan I missed the food so much. So I was looking forward to this. It did not disappoint.
       
      So Saturday lunch in next post.
    • 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.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.