Peking Duck

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What is it that makes this Peking Duck different from Cantonese Roast Duck? First of all, Cantonese Roast Duck is actually originated from Peking Duck believe it or not. The original Peking Duck recipe, is said to be more than 700 years old. This dish is only served to the imperial family/court and nobles as commoner does not have the luxury to enjoy this dish.  During the Ming Dynasty, the recipe and technique spread southward to what is known today as Hong Kong.  Hong Kong or Cantonese people are very particular about food (meant that in a good way), meaning they are foodies.  What makes Hong Kong a foodies paradise is it’s location.  Up north they have the mountain and farm land while south they have the sea.   It’s also an ideal location for trade with other countries.

The Cantonese people adopted the recipe and technique and modify to satisfied their taste bud.  What they modify or add is that they flavored the inside of the duck with ingredients like star ansie, five spice, salt, hoisin sauce, ginger, green onions and so forth. On the outside (skin) they didn’t change a thing, the process of inflating and splashing with hot water, maltose and vinegar still remains the same.  The duck is typically roasted in a closed oven rather than on an open pit.

In Peking version–the skin is the most important part of the whole duck.  They don’t really flavor the inside of the duck as much as Cantonese version, but they do one thing differently that really distinguish the taste.  In Peking version, while roasting in an open fire pit or hung oven, the source of fuel is wood.  Not just any kind of wood, the wood has to be from apple, peach and/or pear tree.  As it burn, it give off a sweet aroma/scent and that aroma flavor the skin while roasting.  Another aspect that separates the cantonese version from peking version, is that in peking version the duck is carved and served with green onions, cucumber, pancake and hoisin sauce.  The bone is then used to make duck soup.  While the Cantonese version, you just served it by cutting the duck into individual pieces (meat with bone) with rice and eat it.

Almost forgot one important thing.  In peking duck, the duck they used are called Pekin duck and they are raised in Nanjing, China.  These duck tend to have lower body fat content compare to regular ducks in the market, which make them an ideal duck to use for roasting.  The Cantonese version, also use this breed of duck as well to make their roast duck.  The regular ducks has a much more fat content and they are typically use to make soup, like duck soup with taro and rice noodles, for instance.

The bottom line here, it’s still essentially Peking duck even if it’s Cantonese style because one originate from the other one.  So I hope this give you a better understanding the difference between the two style.  If not, I failed as a writer.     。・゚゚・(>д<)・゚゚・。

*Please note that 45 min. at 300 F or 139 C is for Convection Oven ONLY.  Conventional oven requires a longer cooking time.

Level: Difficulty
Time: 2 Days

2 cups of vinegar
2 cups of honey
2 cups of water
1 Maltose
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp Five Spice Powder
1 tbsp Ginger Root Ground
1 tbsp salt
4 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
Licorice Root Sticks
Star Anise
Dried Citrus Peel
Green Onion
Tortilla wrap (optional)

Pump air underneath the skin through the neck cavity to separate the skin from the fat and the flesh. This skin will expand like a ballon. The more it expand the more crispier the skin. This process will make the skin very crispy. Note: this process can also be done after soaking the duck in boiling water and splashing with vinegar.

Cut off the wings and the feet.

Then make a incision on the bottom as shown here, remove the innards. Keep the hearts and gizzard, I’m going to make a dish off of them in the future episode.

Wash the duck thoroughly. Wash the cavity a few times to remove any residue.

Here are the ingredients we are going to put inside the duck.

Next, combined the ingredients into the hoisin sauce. Then put the mixture inside the duck’s cavity. Put in 1 slice of ginger and one green onion. You can also put in 1 star anise to give the Roast Duck a more fragrant taste. This will give it an aromatic flavor on the inside.

Use a skewer to sew up the cavity. First, hold the skin together then slowly puncture through, then overlap the skin and continue sewing until there is no holes left. Make sure there is nothing leaking out of it. I use a hook to hang the duck, if you don’t have one you can just use strings and tied it around it’s wings and neck.

Next, refrigerate the duck for 24 hrs laying the duck belly side down.

Next in a pot add in 2 gallon of water, add Licorice, star anise, and dried citrus peel. This add an aromatic flavor to the skin.
Boil for about 15 to 20 min.

We are going to make glazing for the duck. In a bowl add 2 cup or ml of honey, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 cup or 473 ml of vinegar and 1 maltose. The maltose is very sticky so we want to make it into a more manageable form. Boil 2 cup of water and add maltose into the hot water. Then mix the maltose with the other ingredients.

Next, soaked the duck in boiling water for 15-20 secs. This process quickly tightens the skin back up.Then pour the mixture over the duck one at a time.

Hang the duck to dry for a minimum of 5 hrs. use a fan to blow the duck dry until the skin become springy.

Preheat the oven to 350F, after you put in the duck turn the temperature to 300F and cook for 40-45 min. Put a drip pan underneath to catch the fat. Turn the duck 180 degree after 20min of cooking, this ensure even cooking and browning of the skin. After the duck is fully cooked, turn the fire off and leave it in the oven for additionally 15 min. This will let the juice be reabsorb into the meat making the meat very juicy and tender.

Now, I’m going to show you how to cut the meat. First, locate the sternum, make a cut near the sternum, then make a cut on the side of the duck. Next, cut sideway diagonally.

Now it’s done, serve it with spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce.


  1. Thanksgiving is coming, do you think this will work on a turkey?

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    • Hi Xao, it will work with turkey since the skin is much thicker than chicken but not as much as duck. I recommend you to use a smaller turkey as it will be much easier to handle and faster cooking time without burning it. If it’s too big it takes longer to cook and the skin will be burnt. Thus preferably a smaller turkey will be better, somewhere around 5-6 lb or 2-3 Kg

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  2. Where did you buy the pump? Thanks,

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  3. Hi,
    How can I cook in a conventional oven (home oven) that is not as tall as the one in the video ?


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  4. Thanks for your instruction in details. How heavy is The duck about?

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  5. If only the Cantonese had the finesse to carve the meat of the duck (like the original style of serving the Pekin duck). Instead they just chop the duck into pieces with bones like how ethnic South East Asians eat. Nothing wrong, just slightly uncultured. Serving chopped poultry with bone attached should be a culinary sin

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