China National Dish: All About Peking Duck

If you are planning to visit China, then you must try out China National Dish – the Peking Duck. It is one of the most famous and iconic Chinese dishes around the world. In this article, we will explore the history, preparation, serving, and other interesting facts about Peking Duck.

History of the China National Dish

Peking Duck has a long and fascinating history dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It was first prepared in the royal kitchens for the imperial family and aristocrats. Later, it became a popular dish among the common people, and various restaurants started serving it. The dish was initially called “shao ya,” which means “roast duck.” However, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), it was renamed “Peking Duck,” and the recipe was further refined.

Preparation of Peking Duck

The preparation of Peking Duck is a complex and time-consuming process that requires great skill and precision. The first step is to select a specially bred white Beijing duck, which is raised for 65 days and force-fed to fatten it up. Then, the duck is cleaned, inflated with air, and coated with a sweet and savory mixture of maltose syrup and spices, including ginger, cinnamon, and anise.

The duck is then hung in a large oven and roasted over fruitwood at high temperature until the skin turns golden and crispy. This process takes around 40-50 minutes. The duck is carved tableside by a skilled chef, who separates the skin from the meat and serves it with thin pancakes, scallions, and a sweet bean sauce. The meat is usually stir-fried or made into soup.

Serving of Peking Duck

Serving of Peking Duck is a unique experience and an art form in itself. The thin pancakes are first warmed in a bamboo steamer, and then a slice of crispy skin, scallions, and sauce are placed on each pancake. The pancake is then rolled and eaten with the hands. The remaining meat is usually served in a separate dish, either stir-fried or made into a soup with tofu and vegetables.

Interesting Facts about the China National Dish

  • Peking Duck is not only famous in China but also around the world. It is considered one of the top ten dishes in the world by CNN Travel.
  • The traditional way of eating Peking Duck involves dipping the crispy skin in sugar before eating it. This is called “sugar-coated duck.”
  • The most famous restaurant for Peking Duck in Beijing is Quanjude, which was founded in 1864 and has branches all over China and the world.
  • Peking Duck is a symbol of good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture and is often served at important events like weddings and banquets.
  • The Guinness World Record for the most people eating Peking Duck at the same time is held by a Beijing restaurant, which served 3,064 people in 2013.

Health Benefits of Peking Duck

Peking Duck is not only delicious but also has some health benefits. Duck meat is a good source of protein, vitamin B, and minerals like iron and zinc. The skin of Peking Duck is high in collagen, which is good for skin health and anti-aging. However, Peking Duck is also high in fat and calories, so it should be consumed in moderation.


Peking Duck is an iconic dish of Chinese cuisine with a rich history and unique serving style. Its crispy skin, tender meat, and savory flavor make it a must-try dish for anyone visiting China. However, it is also important to consume it in moderation and enjoy it as a special treat.


  • What is Peking Duck?

Peking Duck is a famous Chinese dish that is made by roasting a specially bred duck until the skin is crispy and golden.

  • How is Peking Duck served?

Peking Duck is served with thin pancakes, scallions, and a sweet bean sauce. The crispy skin is separated from the meat and served with the pancakes, while the remaining meat is usually served in a separate dish.

  • Where can I try Peking Duck?

Peking Duck can be found in most Chinese restaurants around the world. However, for an authentic experience, it is recommended to try it in Beijing, where it originated.

  • Is Peking Duck healthy?

While Peking Duck is a good source of protein and vitamins, it is also high in fat and calories. Therefore, it should be consumed in moderation as a special treat.

  • How is Peking Duck prepared?

Peking Duck is prepared by cleaning and inflating a specially bred duck, coating it with a mixture of maltose syrup and spices, and then roasting it over fruitwood until the skin is crispy and golden. It is then served with thin pancakes, scallions, and a sweet bean sauce.


  • “The Food of China” by E.N. Anderson (ISBN: 978-0300100964)
  • “The Chinese Kitchen” by Deh-Ta Hsiung (ISBN: 978-0756631612)
  • “The Essential Wok Cookbook” by Naomi Imatome-Yun (ISBN: 978-1623156057)
  • “All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China” by Carolyn Phillips (ISBN: 978-1607749820)

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