Thursday, August 4, 2011

Peking Duck

It was once a dish reserved for the emperor. Only at the Imperial Palace could one savour Peking duck. Just recently, this commoner had the opportunity to enjoy the sweet crispy skin and tender dark meat.

The distinctive flavour and colour of the duck are achieved through a preparation that's centuries old. Air is pumped underneath the skin to separate the fat. The duck is soaked in boiling water. Then its skin is coated with a sweet glaze. The next step is the lengthiest. It requires hanging the bird for hours to dry.

This is why I've never made Peking duck. Far too complicated for this home cook. Instead, I order it whenever I get the opportunity. We enjoyed the special treat during a recent visit with our friends, the Lee family, in Toronto. Lucky for us, they know the best Chinese restaurants in Markham.

Part of the fun of Peking duck is the presentation. It arrives at your table whole. Then the server carves it into equal-sized pieces. The duck is served in mini pancakes with thinly sliced scallions and hoisin sauce.

In Toronto and Montreal, you can easily order Peking duck. In Ottawa, most restaurants require 24 hours advanced notice. I've never ordered Peking duck in Ottawa. Any suggestions for a good Chinese restaurant?

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried Peking duck before! It's definitely something on my list of "foods I want to try"! Great post :)