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Aug 27, 2008 10:53 AM

Peking Duck in Beijing

The Chowhound Team split this post from its original location on the Los Angeles board. If you're looking for Peking Duck in the L.A. area, please go to this thread:

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Remember, you're talking about eating Peking (Beijing) Duck at a Cantonese (Hong Kong) restaurant. These cities are thousands of miles away from each other, and the preparations are totally different.

Comparing the soups are like comparing Manhattan and New England clam chowder, or Carolina vs Texas BBQ, NY or Chicago pizza. They may be called by the same name but they're utterly different. What causes confusion is that the name, Beijing/Peking Duck, stays on the title even when it's being made by a Cantonese restaurant..... this can throw off people who are not familiar with China and think they're getting something they're not. For the record, traditional beijing duck never uses buns... only pancakes. The buns are a giveaway that you're getting Cantonese version Beijing duck. In addition, traditional Beijing duck is roasted in a special oven built just for that purpose, and smoked with wood from specific fruit trees. It's kind of like pizza from Naples.... if it doesn't follow the established guidelines, it's not authentically traditional Peking Duck.

Mr Taster

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  1. Ditto this, twice.

    Any time you go to a Cantonese place for "Peking Duck" what you are getting is roast duck ... I don't care what the menu says, or what the signs on the wall call it. This is true for Sam Woo (all iterations and spellings) and all the major and minor HK banquet style restaurants (from Elite to Triumphal Palace to NBC).

    This isn't to say that the duck at Cantonese places aren't good. It's just that as tasty as the duck might be, it ain't Peking Duck.

    FWIW ... Lu Din Gee doesn't really even serve true, authentic Peking Duck. You can call your pizza "neopolitan" but unless you follow certain guidelines (e.g. a Verace Pizza Napoletana Association certification), it ain't it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Or like "kosher style" delis vs hechsher certified kosher delis. Though at least in LA, the "kosher style" delis tend to be more delicious than the authentically kosher ones.

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Mr Taster

        Not true, actually: the Pico Kosher Deli is a treasure, and the home-cured deli meats at Jeff's are first-rate. Though why I feel compelled to assert this on a Beijing duck thread is a mystery, even to me.

        1. re: condiment

          On my two visits to PKD I ordered the chopped liver (bland, bland, bland) and pastrami (rubbery). I think I ordered kasha varnishkes.... was a long time ago, with a similarly bland experience. These are three ashkenazic Jewish staples, all served up poorly.... what am I missing here?

          Mr Taster

    2. The cooking techniques are not the same for Cantonese roast duck and Beijing duck. I don't know why Cantonese restaurants use 'Beijing duck." Perhaps they're trying to get non-Chinese speakers a frame of reference? Perhaps they're trying to make a quick sale? Even in Cantonese, we have different terms for Cantonese roast duck and Beijing duck. Those terms are never used interchangeably. Having said that, properly-cooked Cantonese roast duck is heavenly.

      1. I was just in Beijing for the Olympics and had PD at about 5 different places from small to large, from cheapish to elegant and from unknown to carrying an over-blown reputation.

        ALL the places served both pancakes AND buns (usually with sesame seeds) with the duck. I don't know if it is tradiational or not but buns are certainly ubiquitous in Beijing duck joints nowadays.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ciao Bob

          Hi Ciao Bob,

          Very nice! :) Similar to selfportrait's request, I'd love to hear your comparison of the Peking Duck places in Beijing compared to places you've tried in L.A.


          1. re: Ciao Bob

            I spent 3 weeks eating Beijing in July, 2006 (as part of my 7 month "Greater Asia" Chowtour) and had PD at Quanjude, Liqin and Made in China and nary a bun was in sight.


            Mr Taster