National Peking Duck Day
National Peking Duck Day is observed next on Thursday, January 18th, 2024 (298 days from today).
One of China's national dishes, Peking Duck has been served for centuries to emperors, diplomats and commoners alike. This roast duck is known for its delicious crispy skin, sometimes served separately from the meat, often used in thin pancakes. Chinese food is definitely back in the US, where January 18th is National Peking Duck Day!
Facts about Peking Duck
Peking duck is a famous Beijing duck dish made during the imperial period, now considered the national dish of China.
It is loved widely because of its thin and crispy skin, with the dish's traditional recipes serving most skin and little meat, sliced by the cook in front of diners. Ducks for this dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being grilled in a closed or hanging oven. The meat is eaten with banh xeo, scallions and hoisin or sweet bean sauce.
Quanjude and Bianyifang are two famous restaurants in Beijing serving this dish, two centuries-old establishments that have become household names.
Origin of National Peking Duck Day
Peking duck is considered a delicacy due to its elaborate processing and rich flavor. Since the Yuan Dynasty, the process of making Peking duck has been born by Kublai Khan and became more perfectly over thousands of years.
The preferred bird for this dish is the white Peking duck or, in the United States, the Pekin duck. They were raised for 65 days before being slaughtered.
Then, people will pluck, separate the fat by pumping air between the skin and the meat, and soak it in boiling water, skewer and hang to dry. While drying, the duck is coated with sugar and left for 24 hours. This whole process adds to the crispiness of the skin.
The duck is then roasted and hung in the middle of the oven so that the fat melts, the skin is like when grilled. When presented, Peking duck is often artistically sliced by the chef in front of the diners. Traditionally served in three portions, a meal of Peking duck begins with a crispy skin, dipped in sugar by diners. After the skin, the thin pancakes are filled with tender duck meat, hoisin and bean sauce, cucumber, onion and garlic. The final meal is duck soup or broth.
How to cook?
The ducks were fattened and then slaughtered, plucked, dissected and washed thoroughly with water. To separate the skin from the fat, a way to pump air under the skin through the neck cavity was devised. The duck is then briefly soaked in boiling water before being hung to dry. While hanging, the duck is coated with maltose syrup, the inside is washed again with water. Let stand for 24 hours, the duck is baked in the oven until golden brown.
Peking duck is traditionally grilled in a closed or hanging oven. Closed kilns are built of bricks and fitted with metal bars. The kiln is preheated by burning Gaoliang sorghum straw at the base of the kiln. The duck is placed in the oven as soon as the fire goes out, so that the meat is cooked slowly thanks to the convection of the heat in the oven.
Ovens were developed in imperial kitchens during the Qing Dynasty and adopted at the Quanjude restaurant chain. It is designed to roast up to 20 ducks at a time using an open flame that is lit with hard wood from a peach or pear tree. The ducks are hung on hooks over an open flame and grilled at 270°C (525°F) for 30–40 minutes. While the ducks are cooking, the chef can use a pole to hang each duck near the fire for a period of 30 seconds. Almost any part of a duck can be cooked. Quanjude restaurant even offers their customers an "All Duck Party" in which they cook duck bones with vegetables.
Besides the traditional methods, different recipes of making Peking duck have been compiled by chefs around the world to make this dish at home.
How to serve?
Traditionally prepared Peking Duck is sculpted in front of diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic fish sauce. Meat is enjoyed with steamed buns, green onions and sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are offered to accompany the meat, typically cucumbers. Diners spread the sauce and sugar of their choice on the pancakes. The cake is wrapped around meat with vegetables and eaten by hand. The remaining fat, meat and bones can be cooked into a broth, or minced meat sautéed with sweet bean sauce. Otherwise, they are packaged for the customer to take home.
How to Celebrate National Peking Duck Day
- Beijing Roast Duck dinner party. Duck isn't a popular dish in the United States, so why not throw a dinner party and treat your guests to a meal they don't normally get to try. If you are pressed for time, have your dinner served by professional chefs.
- To celebrate National Peking Duck Day is quite simple because you can come and visit a Chinese restaurant to enjoy a traditional Peking Duck.
- Are you feeling adventurous? Try to cook Peking Duck at home! If that's for you, try a few duck sauce recipes and see how you like them.
- Do you need a mini prize for your interesting party? You can think about giving away a duck!
- Give a calendar as a gift so they'll never forget the holiday again! Amazon has a huge selection of different themed calendars. Choose a food or dessert themed calendar.
ObservedNational Peking Duck Day has been observed annually on January 18th.
Tuesday, January 18th, 2022
Wednesday, January 18th, 2023
Thursday, January 18th, 2024
Saturday, January 18th, 2025
Sunday, January 18th, 2026