World Culture: Roasted Turkey Meets Beijing Roasted Duck!

Miss Panda Chinese Thanksgiving Turkey

What is the one Chinese dish that is close to roasted Turkey that we have for Thanksgiving in the U.S.?

Have you tried Peking Roasted Duck?  Have you heard about three ways of eating Peking roasted duck?  The first one is crispy duck wrap, the second one is duck stir fry and the third one is duck soup.  All three dishes are from one Peking roasted duck.  Does it sound similar to how we eat Thanksgiving turkey?  We have roasted turkey with mash potatoes 馬鈴薯泥|马铃薯泥 = mǎ líng shǔ ní or 土豆泥  = tǔ dòu ní, cranberry sauce 蔓越莓醬|蔓越莓酱 = màn yuè méi jiàng, gravy 肉汁醬|肉汁酱 ròu zhī jiàng and all kinds of side dishes 配菜 Pèi cài on Thanksgiving day.  Then we will have leftover turkey for sandwiches and soup for the next day.  I think it would be interesting to learn about and take a look at Peking roasted duck and have a comparison.

{Above: traditional characters|simplified characters =pinyin.  Note:  When there is no simplified version that means the traditional characters are used.}

Here comes a field trip idea: Visiting a Peking roasted duck restaurant and give it a try!  Make sure you use Chinese to have a conversation with the owner and staff in the restaurant!

Miss Panda Chinese Peking Roasted Duck

Roasted ducks in a restaurant

Why do you see “Beijing” or “Peking” on the menu?  Are they the same?

Yes, they are both 北京 in Chinese characters.  Here is why.  Peking  is a spelling created by French missionaries between the 17th and 18th centuries.  The romanisation spelling of Beijing was used in China for government publications by People’s Republic of China in 1979 and it was gradually adopted internationally.

When did Peking Roasted Duck created?

Peking Roasted Duck is a well-known dish from Beijing, Capital of China.   This delicate dish with its thin and crispy skin has been prepared since the imperial era.  It was later in Ming dynasty (1368–1644).  This dish is always sliced in front of the diners nowadays in restaurants and you wrap the skin and meat with special prepared sauce and green onions in a very thin warm flour wrap.

Peking Roasted Duck = Beijing Roasted Duck = 北京烤鴨|北京烤鸭 read as “běi jīng kǎo yā.”  Here are four culture videos about Peking/Beijing Roasted Duck for you to see the process of preparing the Peking Roasted Duck, the story behind the Peking Roasted Duck and how it is served in the two top restaurants in Taipei and in Beijing.

Beijing/Peking Roasted Duck ( audio in Mandarin Chinese)

All About Peking Roasted Duck (audio in Mandarin Chinese)

Serving Beijing Duck at the Table at Dragon Restaurant 龍都 in Taipei.

Serving Peking Roast Duck at Quan ju de 全聚德 in Beijing.

Do you want to make your own roasted duck?  Here is a cookbook with a Peking Duck recipe and many Chinese recipe stories.

Cookbook: Feeding the Dragon

Last but not least, we take a look at how a roasted turkey can be prepared at home. (audio in English)

Roasted Turkey


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