It is often said that if you are in Beijing, there are essentially
two things that you must do; one is to climb the Great
Wall of China, and the other is to eat Peking Duck.
Once confined to the kitchens of the palace, the legendary
Peking Duck is now served at thousands of restaurants around
Beijing, as well as around the world.
The origin of the Peking Duck dates back to the Ming Dynasty,
about 600 years ago. Cooks from all over China travelled to
the capital Beijing to cook for the Emperor. It was a prestigious
occupation as only the best chefs could enter the palace kitchens.
A top cook was even able to reach the rank of a minister!
It was in these kitchens where dishes of exceptional quality
such as the Peking Duck was first created and crafted to perfection
by palace chefs. However, many of the recipes for such "foods
of the Emperor" were later smuggled out of the
kitchen and onto the streets of Beijing. With the eventual
fall of the Ching dynasty in 1911, court chefs who
left the Forbidden City set up restaurants around Beijing
and brought the Peking Duck and other delicious dishes to
The meticulous preparation of the Peking Duck includes a rather
interesting step, where air is pumped into the duck so as
to separate the skin from the fat. It is then hung up to dry
in the open air before being roasted in an oven until it is
crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside.
Peking Duck is always served in thin, well-cut slices. The
whole duck has to be sliced into 120 pieces and diners consume
it with light pancakes, sliced cucumbers and a variety of
sauces, which are perfect complements to the dish.
Where To try Peking Duck
Liqun Roast Duck is a small restaurant, found in a
charming hutong (small lane) and has a much better atmosphere
and serves better duck than the better known Quan Ju De
chain of restaurants.
Address: 11 Nankou Beixiangfeng, Zhengyilu, Qianmen Dongdajie,