Beijing Roast Duck

Beijing Roast Duck
Only Bianyifang and Quanjude in Beijing, along with their branch restaurants, make the authentic Beijing Roast Duck. The restaurants represent two distinct duck-roasting cuisines. Bianyifang, founded in 1855, roasts its ducks by the radiant heat from the oven walls heated with sorghum stalks. Ducks thus roasted are crisp and golden brown. Quanjude, which opened nine years later but became more famous, cooks its ducks by hanging them over a flame fed with wood from date, peach or pear trees.
When roasted, the duck looks brilliantly dark red, its skin crisp and meat tender. The duck skin and meat are sliced off the duck before served in a pancake with green onions and beanpaste.
The earliest roasting duck in China was recorded in the thirteenth century and later became the Ming dynasty’s royal delicacy. As the Yongle emperor relocated Ming’s capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1419, the dainty came along with him. The opening of Bianyifang and Quanjude restaurants made Beijing Roast Duck available to the public.
To guarantee the quality of their ducks, the restaurants used designated sources of force-feed ducks as their supply. Raised with an ancient method, a new breed of Beijing force-feed ducks came into existence known for its white feather, plump body and tender meat. Today, the stock has already become extinct and 90 per cent of the duck supply for the Beijing Roast Duck is from the British Cherry Valley stock, the offspring of a hybrid of Beijing ducks with foreign breeds.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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