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Peking Duck: Can I Ask For the Carcass?

A lot of times, it seems like restaurants don't give you all the meat on the duck when you order Peking Duck, just the skin with a little bit of the outer layer of meat attached. Some places use the meat to make additional dishes like a stir fry or soup that is also served to you, but a lot of places don't. At restaurants that don't give you additional duck dishes, can I ask to have the carcass so I can pick at it the next day, or is this frowned upon? My reasoning is that if I pay for Peking duck, I should be able to have the whole duck. I've had Peking duck many times where they just take the rest of the duck away after carving and I never see it again even though I could see there was still plenty of meat that could be extracted from the bird.

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  1. Hmmm. I've never seen anyone ask and I've eaten a lot of Peking Duck. My guess is that such a request would be frowned upon, but possibly acceded to. You can make a wonderful broth from the remnants of a roast duck, especially if you ask for extra juice when you buy it.

    1. that's all the meat that's on it, except for maybe a small amount that might be in the crevices and such. they don't hold anything back from it. you might be able to use it for stock, but the restraunt might do that as well.

      1. If there is any real amount of meat left on the carcass after they carve it for you, you shouldn't frequent that restaurant. Everytime I've had Peking Duck the carcass came out pretty stinkin clean.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ESNY

          There are many ways of serving Peking duck. My favorite is to have just the crispy skin sliced without the meat. So, it's always best to ask the restaurant which style of service and accompaniments will be included to avoid surprises and/or disappointment. Here's a photo of a plate with just the skin and the appendages -

          Peking duck 2-ways @ The Kitchen, Millbrae -

        2. I do this, and not just with peking duck.

          I make sure to let the server know (beforehand and discreetly) that a nice *fat* tip is coming his way and it's never an issue.

          I want the carcass for making stock, however; not for picking it for leftover meat.

          1. I've been served Peking duck three-style, with (1) the usual crispy skin with crepes or buns, (2) a stir-fry of the meat with vegetables, and (3) a soup made from the carcass.

            1. As far as asking for the carcass, Kirk and his Missus experience is relevant and interesting:



              1 Reply
              1. re: Ed Dibble

                One can always ask. My mother also hates to see a meat-laden carcass go back into the kitchen, never to appear again at the table in any form. When we've asked for it, most times the waiter will say it's used by the kitchen for other things or that there is an added charge if we want to take it that is above and beyond the menu price. The carcass material cost has already been figured into the kitchen's profit margin.

                Peking duck discussion on SF Bay Area board -

              2. When we go for Peking Duck they give us different choices of how we would like it served. The first is always the skin on the crepes, and the second would either be lettuce wraps (made from the meat of the carcass, which costs more), or just having the carcass chopped up and served to us (jam geen).

                I've found that only a few restaurants give the third option of having the soup lately. It could be because it takes longer.

                1. I'd guess that if it were a place that made you order Peking Duck a day in advance, getting the carcass would be duck soup, because they presumably did in one duck just for you. I don't think "paying for Peking Duck" entitles you to the whole duck otherwise. Not long ago I was at a fancy schmancy banquet in Shanghai and the "Peking Duck" was served with the skin only, and nobody seemed to expect otherwise. I guess the meat and bones were use to nourish the hoi polloi.

                  Give me some skin, man!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    I think there are two different methods of preparation and carving. The first is a style known as "skinned duck" where really the most important aspect is that primarily the skin is served, accompanied with the crepes. The second is the "peking duck" where a combo of meat and skin are served with the starch... and although I thought for the longest time that the two terms were exactly the same, my mother disagrees.

                    As for the carcass business... I guess there isn't anything too bad if you request it, but there's the line of deciding what you're paying for: Are you paying for the pieces the waiter slices or the whole thing? When you get a whole rotisserie chicken do you ask for the head and feet as well? Of course, if you went to a Chinese deli you'd probably get the head as well if you get a soy sauce or blanched chicken.

                    1. re: Blueicus

                      Fortunately, my wife gets the head (and the feet) when she buys live chickens from Chinatown.

                      1. re: Blueicus

                        In my experience in Chinatown, they only give you the head if you ask for it. I do, but presumably they put it to some good use if you don't, although it seems to go on the scrap heap.

                    2. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking for the carcass. It might be frowned upon in some places, but who cares. You will never reap the reward of duck broth if you don't ask.