Jump to content
  • 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  
SteveW

Peking duck vs Cantonese duck

Recommended Posts

I'm sorry that my Chinese-food reference library isn't particularly good. I don't know if that's my fault or if the books just aren't out in English. Either way, I resorted to asking the lady at the Chinese restaurant I order a lot of takeout from. She's an industry veteran and knows a lot about Chinese high cuisine even though the restaurant she works in is rather generic. In any event, she said the Cantonese roast duck doesn't have air pumped into it to separate the skin from the duck the way Peking duck does. She said there are sauce and serving differences too. And she said the whole point with Peking duck is to eat the skin, whereas Cantonese duck is about the meat. This all may or may not be correct. Perhaps someone who really knows can chime in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peking Duck is a style of duck preparation as noted above, which is served in the classic manner as 3 separate courses: the duck skin folded into pancakes; duck meat stir-fried with vegetables; and duck bones boiled for soup. It's prepared by first tieing off the neck of the duck with string, inserting the nozzle of the air pump into the neck opening and then inflating with the pump until the skin separates from the flesh. The duck is then scalded and hung from a hook for the skin to dry. Then the duck is coated with a mixture of boiling water, vinegar and maltose and then left, still hanging, to dry completely for 10-12 hours. Then the duck is roasted until the skin is a deep brown color and very crisp. The skin is removed from the meat and served with steamed pancakes. (Marcella Hazen adapts this recipe somewhat in a recipe for roast duck where you first scald the duck and then blow dry it -- the pores open from the scalding and then the blow drying draws out all the fat. The duck comes out with very crispy skin.)

Cantonese duck is roasted, glazed duck. This is the duck you see hanging in the windows of Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. First the duck is salted and rubbed with white rice wine. A marinade of bean sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, white pepper and cilantro is placed in the body cavity of the duck, along with ginger, scallions, star anise and cinnamon stick. The duck is then roasted until well cooked and glazed, and served chopped into bite-sized pieces with the juices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!

Back when I was working at a law firm in Midtown Manhattan, we were right near this place called Maple Garden Duck House that served (and may still serve) the best Peking duck I know of. If you went there to eat they would do the whole elaborate tableside presentation of the duck and slice the skin up with what looked like a straight razor. They didn't do the three course thing, though I think it was available upon request. In any event, we rarely got to go to the restaurant, so we ordered the Peking duck as a takeout item fairly often when we were working late into the night and had the ability to order on the firm's account. It wasn't cheap, and this place was fancy, so when they did takeout it was fairly elaborate. The Peking duck came in approximately eleven different containers. The meat was sorted by type and each type was packed separately. There were also various sauces, pancakes, scallions, etc. Quite a trip. Me and one other guy probably ate $1000 worth of Peking duck in a year.

Gray Kunz once did a riff on Peking duck where he served duck in multiple courses. Of course it's not uncommon in France to get it in two courses (they serve the breast and take the legs back for further cooking), but this was way more Asian. I can't remember all the permutations but I do remember the stir-fry-type course as being quite amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Toby, I think you answered my question about the differences conclusively. It's been interesting watching from the sidelines. checking all the replies. I was clueless to the answer, so I couldn't contribute any more.

I wonder before the air-pump days, how people pumped air below the skin to make Peking Duck? Do some people in China still make the Peking duck the old fashioned way(no air pump used)?

BTW, if people here don't know Gray Kunz had a stint working in Hong Kong running a kitchen. Maybe that's where he got his duck dish.

-----------------

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add that many places claim to serve Peking duck (the Chinese dish), but generally don't add the third course, or they combine the first two courses together (both meat and skin served together with pancakes). The usual method of eating the pancake course is to dab a pancake with a little hoisin or plum sauce, add some scallions, some sliced skin (and/or meat) and fold it up, etc.

If you do order PD, be sure to find out if the restaurant in question serves all three courses.

SA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though he is Swiss, Kunz was raised in Singapore, and there's little room for doubt that his palate was heavily influenced by this early exposure to Asian cuisine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder before the air-pump days, how people pumped air below the skin to make Peking Duck? Do some people in China still make the Peking duck the old fashioned way(no air pump used)?

Perhaps they adapted the design of the forge bellows they used from Iron work into hand models?

-------- Found on Google ----------------

Iron smelting in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) made further progress, as indicated by the appearance of various kinds of furnaces, the use of refractory materials and bellows which were made of leather and powered by human strength. Bellows drastically increased the temperature of the furnace, and further promoted metallurgy.

http://www.china.org.cn/e-gudai/4.htm

-------------------------------------------------

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cantonese duck is roasted, glazed duck.  This is the duck you see hanging in the windows of Chinese restaurants in Chinatown.

I'm not convinced that Cantonese duck is glazed, and I thought Peking Duck was.

A common menu item in the UK is "Cantonese Aromatic Crispy Duck". This has a matt surface to the skin. The duck is shredded off the carcass and served in make-it-yourself pancake rolls with hoisin sauce, spring onion and cucumber strips.

Other common items are Cantonese Roast Duck with Plum Sauce, and Braised Cantonese Duck. Both of these have similar skin to the crispy duck.

I would assume therefore that the term "Cantonese duck" has little definitive meaning as a menu item.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best version of this dish i ever tasted, by far, was at the Quanjude Restaurant in Beijing. It's namesake is where the dish was supposedly popularized 100 years ago. Here's everything you wanted to know about Peking Duck

Note they say nothing about blowing air in the skin. The oven seems to be one of the main factors in good results.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This would have been a good discussion on the Chinese v. French cuisine thread. The linked article above traces Peking duck back to the mid-19th century and follows its development back to the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), with cites of contemporary cookbook recipes.

In Chinese Gastronomy, the Lins say: "Peking duck is one of the justifiaably famous stars of the cuisine. Because the flavor is very simple and fragrant, even children and other people with undeveloped palates like it. Its appearance is simple, and its presentation always follows the same order: first the skin, then the meat, then the soup from the bones. The skin is crisp and fragrant, but not oily (yu-er-bu-ni). The meat is tender and juicy, the soup rich and sweet with cabbage. The making of it has become a small branch of Chinese gastronomy in itself. ... The skin is the most important part of the duck. In order for it to be crisp but not fat, it must be dry. Air must be introduced between the skin and the flesh. In China, fowl are often eviscerated through a small opening under one of the wings.... Air is pumped into this small opening, so the duck balloons out. This permits faster drying of the skin.... The duck is hung up to dry for at least 24 hours in a cold, stiff breeze. The purpose of this is to permit drying of the skin, which then pulls away from the meat. This dish is a result of the cool and crisp Peking weather, which allowed the duck to be hung in this way when raw."

In the linked article it says, "The preparation of the dish requires a series of complicated steps, which include inflating the unbroken skin so that it roasts just right."

I think "glazed" may not have been the right term for the Cantonese roast duck we get in the West, which is sort of sticky and dark. (I borrowed "glazed" from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's recipe in The Chinese Kitchen.) In the traditional method, the duck is scalded, air may or may not be forced between the skin and meat, and the duck is hung to air-dry; following all these steps, the skin probably would be glazed, as in Peking Duck. The distinguishing feature of Cantonese roast duck is that the marinade is "stuffed" inside the body cavity, which is then sewn closed. The marinade seasons the meat deeply during cooking and allows the duck juices to collect and enrich the liquid seasonings into a very flavorful sauce. After roasting the sauce is poured out and served over the carved duck.

Cut-up roast Cantonese duck is also used (after roasting) as the main ingredient in a lot of braised dishes. At a wedding banquet I once ate roasted, then braised duck with various pieces of seafood, pork, chicken, dried black mushrooms and greens in a dark sauce.

There are many wonderful duck dishes in China, such as Szchuan Crisp Spiced Duck, in which the duck is flattened by breaking the major bones and then the flesh is separated from the bones (although the bones aren't removed). The duck is rubbed with salt and Szchuan peppercorns and marinated overnight with soy sauce, sugar, wine and scallions. It's cooked in a sealed vessel placed in a pot of boiling water for 2 hours, drained, and then fried very slowly in oil, allowing the duck fat to be fried out and the bones to become brittle. At the end, the skin is dull, not shiny. It's served with ribbon rolls and Szchuan pepper and salt mix.

Other duck specialties include Duck Steamed in Wine, Shanghai Duck (red cooked and then glazed), flavor-potted duck (deep-fried and then red-cooked), Crisp 8-Treasure Duck (a boned duck stuffed with 8 ingredients, including sticky rice, duck-liver sausage, dried mushrooms, ham, and gingko nuts, is first steamed and then deep-fried), Pressed Duck, Steamed Duck with Preserved Fruits, and Tea Smoked Duck (Shanghai, duck is smoked in Dragon Well Tea).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder before the air-pump days, how people pumped air below the skin to make Peking Duck? Do some people in China still make the Peking duck the old fashioned way(no air pump used)?

Perhaps they adapted the design of the forge bellows they used from Iron work into hand models?

Or maybe they just blew.

Share this post


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

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      AFter lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our seranade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Yea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs.
      We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Chopped Beef (sorry about the picture quality - I don't know what happened)
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×