• 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.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

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
      An old friend from England contacted me yesterday via Facebook with a couple of questions about Five Spice Powder.

      Thought there me be some interest here, too.

      Is there anything more typically Chinese than five spice powder (五香粉 - wǔ xiāng fěn)?
       
      Well, yes. A lot.
       
      Many years ago, I worked in an office overlooking London’s China town. By around 11 am, the restaurants started getting lunch ready and the smell of FSP blanketed the area for the rest of the day. When I moved to China, I didn’t smell that. Only when I first visited Hong Kong, did I find that smell again.
       
      In fact, FSP is relatively uncommon in most of Chinese cuisine. And if I ever see another internet recipe called “Chinese” whatever, which is actually any random food, but the genius behind it has added FSP, supposedly rendering it Chinese, I’ll scream.

      I get all sorts of smells wafting through the neighbourhood. Some mouth-watering; some horrifying. But I don't recall ever that they were FSP.
       
      But what is it anyway? Which five spices?
       
      Today, I bought four samples in four local supermarkets. I would have would have preferred five, but couldn’t find any more. It's not that popular.
       
      First thing to say: none of them had five spices. All had more. That is normal. Numbers in Chinese can often be vague. Every time you hear a number, silently added the word ‘about’ or ‘approximately’. 100 km means “far”, 10,000 means “many”.
       
      Second, while there are some common factors, ingredients can vary quite a bit. Here are my four.

      1.


       
      Ingredients – 7
       
      Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Orange Peel, Cassia Bark, Sand Ginger, Dried Ginger, Sichuan Peppercorns.
       
      2.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Cassia Bark, Star Anise, Fennel Seed, Coriander, Sichuan Peppercorn, Licorice Root.

      3.
       

       
      Ingredients – 15
       
      Fennel Seeds, Sichuan Peppercorns, Coriander, Tangerine Peel, Star Anise, Chinese Haw, Cassia Bark, Lesser Galangal, Dahurian Angelica, Nutmeg, Dried Ginger, Black Pepper, Amomum Villosum, Cumin Seeds, Cloves.

      4.
       

       
      Ingredients – 6
       
      Pepper (unspecified – probably black pepper), Sichuan Peppercorns, Star Anise, Fennel Seeds, Nutmeg, Cassia.
       
      So, take your pick. They all taste and smell almost overwhelmingly of the star anise and cassia, although there are subtle differences in taste in the various mixes.
       
      But I don’t expect to find it in many dishes in local restaurants or homes. A quick, unscientific poll of about ten friends today revealed that not one has any at home, nor have they ever used the stuff!
       
       
      I'm not suggesting that FSP shouldn't be used outside of Chinese food. Please just don't call the results Chinese when you sprinkle it on your fish and chips or whatever. They haven't miraculously become Chinese!

      Like my neighbours and friends, I very rarely use it at all.

      In fact, I'd be delighted to hear how it is used in other cultures / cuisines.
    • By liuzhou
      For the last several years Cindy's* job has been to look after me. She takes care of my residence papers, my health insurance, my travel, my housing and associated repairs. She makes sure that I am supplied with sufficient cold beer at official banquets. And she does it all with terrific efficiency and great humour.
       
      This weekend she held her wedding banquet.
       
      Unlike in the west, this isn't held immediately after the marriage is formalised. In fact, she was legally married months ago. But the banquet is the symbolic, public declaration and not the soul-less civil servant stamping of papers that the legal part entails.
      So tonight, along with a few hundred other people, I rolled up to a local hotel at the appointed time. In my pocket was my 'hong bao' or red envelope in which I had deposited a suitable cash gift. That is the Chinese wedding gift protocol. You don't get 12 pop-up toasters here.
       
      I handed it over, then settled down, at a table with colleagues, to a 17 or 18 course dinner.
       
      Before we started, I spotted this red bedecked jar. Shaking, poking and sniffing revealed nothing.
       
       
      A few minutes later, a waitress turned up and opened and emptied the jar into a serving dish. Spicy pickled vegetables. Very vinegary, very hot, and very addictive. Allegedly pickled on the premises, this was just to amuse us as we waited for the real stuff to arrive.
       
       
      Then the serious stuff arrived. When I said 17 courses, I really meant 17 dishes. Chinese cuisine doesn't really do courses. Every thing is served at roughly the same time. But we had:
       
      Quail soup which I neglected to photograph.
       
      Roast duck
       
      Braised turtle
       
      Sticky rice with beef (the beef is lurking underneath)
       
      Steamed chicken
       
      Spicy, crispy shell-on prawns.
       
      Steamed pork belly slices with sliced taro
       
      Spicy squid
       
      Noodles
       
      Chinese Charcuterie (including ducks jaws (left) and duck hearts (right))
       
      Mixed vegetables
       
      Fish
       
      Cakes
       
      Fertility soup! This allegedly increases your fertility and ensures the first born (in China, only born) is a son. Why they are serving to me is anyone's guess. It would make more sense for the happy couple to drink the lot.
       
      Greenery
       
      Jiaozi
       
      There was a final serving of quartered oranges, but I guess you have seen pictures of oranges before.
       
      The happy couple. I wish them well.
       
      *Cindy is the English name she has adopted. Her Chinese name is more than usually difficult to pronounce. Many Chinese friends consider it a real tongue-twister.
    • By liuzhou
      A few days ago, I was given a lovely gift. A big jar of preserved lemons.
       
      I know Moroccan preserved lemons, but had never met Chinese ones. In fact, apart from in the south, in many parts of China it isn't that easy to find lemons, at all.
       
      These are apparently a speciality of the southern Zhuang minority of Wuming County near Nanning. The Zhuang people are the largest ethnic minority in China and most live in Guangxi. These preserved lemons feature in their diet and are usually eaten with congee (rice porridge). Lemon Duck is a local speciality and they are also served with fish. They can be served as a relish, too. They are related to the Vietnamese Chanh muối.
       
      I'm told that these particular lemons have been soaking in salt and lemon juice for eleven years!
       

       

       
      So, of course, you want to know what they taste like. Incredibly lemony. Concentrated lemonness. Sour, but not unpleasantly so. Also a sort of smoky flavour.
       
      The following was provided by my dear friend 马芬洲 (Ma Fen Zhou) who is herself Zhuang. It is posted with her permission.
       
      How to Make Zhuang Preserved Lemons
      By 马芬洲
       
      Zhuang preserved lemons is a kind of common food for the southern Zhuang ethnic minority who live around Nanning Prefecture of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China. The Zhuang people like to make it as a relish for eating with congee or congee with corn powder. This relish is a mixture of chopped preserved lemons, red chilli and garlic or ginger slice in soy sauce and peanut oil or sesame oil.
       

       
      Sometimes the Zhuang people use preserved lemons as an ingredient in cooking. The most famous Zhuang food in Guangxi is Lemon Duck, which is a common home cooked dish in Wuming County, which belongs to Nanning Prefecture.
       
      The following steps show you how to make Zhuang preserved lemons.
       
      Step 1 Shopping
      Buy some green lemons.
       
      Step 2 Cleaning
      Wash green lemons.
       
      Step 3 Sunning
      Leave green lemons under the sunshine till it gets dry.
       
      Step 4 Salting
      If you salt 5kg green lemons, mix 0.25kg salt with green lemons. Keep the salted green lemons in a transparent jar. The jar must be well sealed. Leave the jar under the sunshine till the salted green lemons turn yellow. For example, leave it on the balcony. Maybe it will take months to wait for those salted green lemons to turn yellow. Later, get the jar of salted yellow lemons back. Unseal the jar. Then cover 1kg salt over the salted yellow lemons. Seal well the jar again.
       
      Step 5 Preserving
      Keep the sealed jar of salted yellow lemons at least 3 years. And the colour of salted yellow lemons will turn brown day by day. It can be dark brown later. The longer you keep preserved lemons, the better taste it is. If you eat it earlier than 2 years, it will taste bitter. After 3 years, it can be unsealed. Please use clean chopsticks to pick it. Don’t use oily chopsticks, or the oil will make preserved lemons go bad. Remember to seal the jar well after picking preserved lemons every time.
    • By liuzhou
      Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China, where I live, is sugar central for the country. Over two-thirds of China's output of sugar is grown right here, making it one of the largest sugar production areas on the planet. I have a second home in the countryside and it is surrounded by sugar cane fields.

      Much of this is produced by small time farmers, although huge Chinese and international companies have also moved in.
       
      Also, sugar is used extensively in Chinese cooking, not only as a sweetener, but more as a spice. A little added to a savoury dish can bring out otherwise hidden flavours. It also has medicinal attributes according to traditional Chinese medicine.
       
      Supermarkets have what was to me, on first sight, a huge range of sugars, some almost unrecognisable. Here is a brief introduction to some of them. Most sugar is sold loose, although corner shops and mom 'n pop stores may have pre-packed bags. These are often labelled in English as "candy", the Chinese language not differentiating between "sugar" and "candy" - always a source of confusion. Both are 糖 (táng),

      IMPORTANT NOTE: The Chinese names given here and in the images are the names most used locally. They are all Mandarin Chinese, but it is still possible that other names may be used elsewhere in China. Certainly, non-Mandarin speaking areas will be different.

      By the far the simplest way to get your sugar ration is to buy the unprocessed sugar cane. This is not usually available in supermarkets but is a street vendor speciality. In the countryside, you can buy it at the roadside. There are also people in markets etc with portable juice extractors who will sell you a cup of pure sugar cane juice.


       
      I remember being baffled then amused when, soon after I first arrived in China, someone asked me if I wanted some 甘蔗 (gān zhè). It sounded exactly like 'ganja' or cannabis. No such luck! 甘蔗 (gān zhè) is 'sugar cane'.
       
      The most common sugar in the supermarkets seems to be 冰糖 (bīng táng) which literally means 'ice 'sugar' and is what we tend to call 'rock sugar' or 'crystal sugar'. This highly refined sugar comes in various lump sizes although the price remains the same no matter if the pieces are large or small. Around ¥7/500g. That pictured below features the smaller end of the range.


       
      Related to this is what is known as 冰片糖 (bīng piàn táng) which literally means "ice slice sugar". This is usually slightly less processed (although I have seen a white version, but not recently) and is usually a pale brown to yellow colour. This may be from unprocessed cane sugar extract, but is often white sugar coloured and flavoured with added molasses. It is also sometimes called 黄片糖  (huáng piàn táng) or "yellow slice sugar". ¥6.20/500g.
       


      A less refined, much darker version is known as 红片糖 (hóng piàn táng), literally 'red slice sugar'. (Chinese seems to classify colours differently - what we know as 'black tea' is 'red tea' here. ¥7.20/500g.


       
      Of course, what we probably think of as regular sugar, granulated sugar is also available. Known as 白砂糖 (bái shā táng), literally "white sand sugar', it is the cheapest at  ¥3.88/500g.



      A brown powdered sugar is also common, but again, in Chinese, it isn't brown. It's red and simply known as 红糖 (hóng táng). ¥7.70/500g


       
      Enough sweetness and light for now. More to come tomorrow.
    • 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

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.