National Peking Duck Day is observed annually on January 18th.
The national dish of China, this dish is considered a delicacy due to its elaborate preparation and intense flavors. Since the Yuan Dynasty established by Kublai Khan, the process for preparing Peking Duck is rooted in tradition and has been perfected over thousands of years.
The crispy, flavorful skin is the signature element of Peking Duck.
The preferred bird for this dish is the White Beijing duck or in the United States the Pekin duck. They are raised for 65 days before being brought to slaughter.
It is plucked, pumped full of air between the skin and the meat, soaked in boiling water, skewered and hung to dry. While drying, the duck is glazed with a sugar coating and left for 24 hours. This whole process adds to the crispness of the skin.
The duck is then roasted hanging from the center of the oven to allow the fat to drip, basting the skin as it does.
When presented, Peking duck is often sliced artfully by the chef before the diners.
Traditionally served in three portions, a Peking duck meal begins with the crispy skin which diners dip into sugar.
Following the skin, thin pancakes are filled with the tender duck meat, hoisin and bean sauces and cucumbers, onions and garlic.
The final serving is a duck soup or broth.
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