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Dec 11, 2005 08:57 PM

What's that flat duck hangin' in the Chinatown window?

  • h

Down in Chinatown I'll often get either the roast chicken, the white cooked chicken (sometmes wrapped in paper), or the roast duck. But I also sometimes see a duck which looks like it's been flattened by a steam roller. Can someone tell me what this is, and what's the best way to use it? (Other than just cut it up and eat it, that is). Thanks

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  1. It's sometimes called "banjo duck" because it resembles the stringed instrument. In Chinese it is called "pei-pa". It is roasted hanging up. Don't confuse it with dried salted duck, which is uncooked and is usually not dark brown.

    Banjo duck is drier, crispier, and less fatty than the roast duck. We prefer the moister roast duck.

    You got the recipe right -- cut it up and eat it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Joel Teller

      Here's a link to the Chinese "pipa" or banjo.

      Link: http://www.chinesecultureonline.com/d...

      1. re: Joel Teller

        Not to be a nit-picker, but it's the sanxian that's usually called the "Chinese Banjo."

        The flattened duck that's not cooked but salt-cured, BTW, is usually known as Nanjing Duck.

        Link: http://chcp.org/music/sanxian.html

      2. re: Joel Teller

        Joel's got it right. It's a pei-pa duck and it's a bit saltier (to my taste). Not much you do except cut it up and eat it .... I prefer the whole duck, which is much better for peking duck too(wrappers, scallions, hosin sauce) ... buy it whole and then bring it home and toss it on foil into the oven to heat it up ... some more of the duck fat will come out so make little 'sides' on the foil so it does not fall into the oven and start smoking. You can buy the wrappers in Chinatowns (called mooshoo skins)... you steam or put in the microwave to make them soft. yumyum .... bon appetite

      3. If you take it home whole and can slice the meat and skin from the body in decent size piece you can get thin rice pancakes and use the duck like Peking Duck.

        This duck can be said to the Cantonese verison of Peking duck.

        I like Uncle Joe like the other verison better because from the bones I get a wonderful broth for soup noodles.

        The chicken wrapped in the paper is salt "baked" chicken a Hakka style dish.

        I picked a five spice duck today from a deli and the taste was fine but it was little too fat for me.

        1. Thanks, all. There's a recipe for soft-shell crab in New York magazine, June 13, which essentially sautees the crab and then uses it like Peking duck; they specify using "Steam Pita Bread" from May May on Pell St as wrapper. I haven't had a lot of luck with 'Chinese pancakes" (other than making them once), and thought I'd try the steamed pita with duck from Chinatown. Maybe for a late-nite new years eve supper....

          1 Reply
          1. re: HowardL

            This idea bout serving your own Peking duck referenced below sounds great to me. But what was the problem with the won ton wrappers you used?