Peking Duck Up Close and Personal

Today I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at a Chinese restaurant in Bangkok to see how they prepare Peking duck. This dish is considered to be a delicacy and requires special techniques to make. It comes from the province of Peking in China and is enjoyed all around the world.

 First, you start with a special type of duck that is around 2.7 kilograms. These ducks have a desired size and quality that meet the restaurant’s standards. Next, the duck is plucked and cleaned if it has not been already. The duck is then coated with 1 tablespoon of seasoning inside the body cavity. Then, thhe duck is sealed by sewing up the opening with a metal hook.

The next step involves an air compressor. Interestingly, a hose is placed into the duck through the neck area and while the sewn part is covered with a cloth to prevent air from escaping, air is pumped into the duck. This allows the skin of the duck to seperate from the meat more easily and ensures that the skin is not overlapping. After this process, the duck is hung in a fridgerator for 24 hours.

When it is time to cook the duck, the duck is removed from the fridge and the hooks are removed. Then the duck is placed in an oven that is called a “capusle oven” for around 20 minutes.

When the duck is removed, the skin is the dark reddish-brown typical of Peking duck and is ready to be sliced off and served. One duck yields approximately 15 pieces of skin. The duck meat can be made into other dishes such as duck soup and minced duck.

 The crispy pieces of duck skin is placed on a flour paper. Next a sweet soy sauce is spread over the duck skin and add a few pieces of cucumber, green onion and chili for crunchiness and taste. Since there are only a dozen or so pieces, you’ll be limited to one or two slices of duck skin each.

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