Beijing Roast Duck

According to a Chinese saying, no visit to this city is complete if you miss seeing the Great Wall or dining on Beijing Roast Duck (Beijing Kaoya). As a famous and delicious food with very long history, Beijing Roast Duck is an excellent choice if you want to understand more about Chinese cuisine, culture and customs.


Popular Beijing Roast Duck Restaurants:

The appealing and tasteful Beijing roast duck
Beijing Roast Duck Pictures

History of Beijing Roast Duck

It is thought that the dish, like the  tradition of roast turkey in America, owes its origin to the roast goose that is still popular in Europe on festive occasions. Westerners like Marco Polo brought certain European customs to China and may have introduced the concept of roasting poultry to their Chinese hosts during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). Ducks had long been domesticated in China and the plump ducks proved to be an excellent substitute for goose in much the same way as the American colonizers found the native turkey to be. However, there is another school of thought based upon certain records that show it has a much longer history dating back as far as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 - 589). Up until the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), ducks were roasted in the area around Jinling, today's Nanjing. However, the later Yuan Dynasty rulers moved their capital city to Beijing from Jinling and took with them their cuisine thus making this dish popular in the city that was eventually to make it its very own specialty.

The ducks were originally roasted in a conventional convection oven until Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) when this dish became a delicacy in the imperial menu and were highly regarded by emperors and other members of the ruling classes. The ducks used during this period were a special breed namely the White Beijing Duck and a new method of cooking was employed, by suspending the ducks over the flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking have resulted in the two major present day schools of roast duck preparation.

The initial method has been perpetuated by very few restaurants among which Bianyi Fang (Convenient and Comfortable) Restaurant, established in 1861, is the most famous. There serves Beijing Roast Duck with a well-preserved traditional flavor. The second method is relatively well-known and used with great success by the Quan Ju De Restaurant. Today, Quan Ju De means this delicious food to many Chinese people as well as foreign visitors.


How to Cook Beijing Roast Duck

Over a long period of development exceeding some 140 years, consummate and precise procedures and Peking Duck recipe have been firmly established:

First, a suitable White Beijing Duck will be chosen for preparation. After the bird has been plucked, air is pumped between its skin and flesh. A small incision is made for the removal of the entrails.

Secondly, and once the bird has been thoroughly cleaned, a wooden skewer is inserted through it to facilitate its hanging and ultimate heating; the body cavity is filled with water and the incision that had been made is closed.

Thirdly, the skin of the duck is air dried and brushed with a layer of sugar.

Fourthly, the duck is then put into a large oven, using a smokeless hardwood fuel and heating to about 270 degrees Centigrade for 30 to 40 minutes. The duck is turned frequently during the roasting process to ensure even cooking.

Then the delicious dish is ready! It will be a shining date-red in color and unique in flavor; It is characterized by its crispy skin and tender texture. Besides the traditional one, many restaurants offer an All Duck Banquet - various dishes cooked with the offal and juices of the duck, surrounding the main dish. It will be sure to give you satisfaction and enjoyment when dining.

In addition, there are some points to which you need to pay attention when having this dish. The best seasons for eating it are spring, autumn and winter. The hot Peking Roast Duck will be brought to the dining table by the chef where he will slice it into more than 100 thin flakes, each having its piece of crispy skin.


How to Eat Peking Duck

The way to really enjoy the succulent meat is as follows: first take one of the small, thin pancakes provided and spread it with plum sauce, small slices of spring onions and then add some pieces of duck. Finally roll up the pancake and take a bite. You will be surprised by the terrific taste!

- Last modified on Dec. 09, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Beijing Roast Duck
Asked by CANAVARRETE | Dec. 07, 2018 05:55Reply
Beijing Wangfujing Branch of Quanjude
Hello! I wanted to know if there any possibility to book a table on Christmas (24th of December) for 7 people.
There any telephone or website. I want to be sure to get a place because I hear that it is always full.
Answers (1)
Answered by Jane from USA | Dec. 09, 2018 23:06

Its booking hotline is 010-65253310 and you can call them to consult.
Asked by Michele from USA | Aug. 19, 2018 02:37Reply
Roast duck restaurant near Beijing Friendship Hotel?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa | Aug. 22, 2018 00:57

About 1km northeast is a Quanjude Restaurant, and you can go there to have the duck.
Asked by Adrian from CHINA | Oct. 06, 2016 21:26Reply
Beijing Duck near the airport
Where is the nearest/best restaurant for Duck? We have a few hours to kill whilst waiting for a flight.
Answers (1)
Answered by Cindy from PAKISTAN | Oct. 07, 2016 04:19

I just know the duck is available at the Hilton Capital Airport Hotel at T3. Ask the airport staff about its location and go for a try.
Asked by Danya from SAUDI ARABIA | Apr. 09, 2015 09:42Reply
What is the best Halal duck place in Beijing? My father is very picky but would love to take him
Answers (1)
Answered by George from CANADA | Apr. 09, 2015 21:16

Oh, I only know the best duck restaurant is Quanjude Roast Duck. There are many branches in this city. It has a history of nearly 150 years.

Wangfujing Branch of Quanjude is highly recommended. It's located at No.9, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District. And the opening hours are from 11:00 to 14:30, 16:30 to 20:00.

But I'm not sure it's a halal food restaurant.
Asked by Iza from MALAYSIA | Mar. 20, 2015 11:24Reply
Halal peking duck near qianmen
May i know where is the nearest halal peking duck restaurant in qianmen? And how much it will cost per pax?
Answers (2)
Answered by Helen from MALAYSIA | Mar. 21, 2015 01:07

Near that area, I cannot find a halal one, but there is a Fushouzhai Halal Restaurant, located near Jingmi Road, Shunyi District. The cost is about CNY 50 per pax.

In addition, in Qianmen Area, I suggest you the Quanjude (Tian’anmen Branch), which is the famous duck restaurant in this city. It is located at No. 44 of Dongjiao Alley, Dongcheng District. it may cost CNY100 – 120 per pax.
Answered by iza from MALAYSIA | Mar. 22, 2015 19:29

thank you so much dear ms. Helen.. :)
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