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Many people find roast duck to be a dish that is delicious but often saved for a special occasion. But what kind of occasion could be any more special for eating roast duck than celebrating National Peking Duck Day? 

Take some time on this National Peking Duck Day to learn about, celebrate and enjoy everything that has to do with this delicious dish that hails from China!

History of National Peking Duck Day

Very few culinary dishes can claim as long an ancient history as Peking duck. Dating back as long as 700 years, this dish has a rich history that comes from the Northern parts of China and it is specifically named after the city of Beijing.

The first printed recipe for Peking duck can be traced back to the year 1330 when a rather complicated recipe called for roasting the duck inside of the stomach of a sheep.

In modern times, Peking duck has continued to evolve in style and the way that it is cooked. Most notably, the dish has changed from being cooked in a closed oven to cooking the ducks by hanging them in an open oven.

Peking duck is often sliced into very thin pieces that are served with a pile of thin pancakes. The meat is rolled up into a pancake and then dipped into a sweet sauce. It’s a delicious way to enjoy this tasty treat.

In classic and iconic restaurants in the Chinese city of Beijeng, Peking duck is served as a specialty dish. Some of these restaurants have been around more than 100 years and still are running today. One of these most famous restaurants is the one called Quanjude that has had tons of different famous political guests over the years.

National Peking Duck Day offers a delicious opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the hundreds of years of history that come along with this dish and the Chinese culture that cultivated it. 

National Peking Duck Day Timeline

500 BC

Duck is roasted in China

As a predecessor to Peking duck, ducks are roasted over open fires in the Northern and Southern dynasties of China.[1]

1330 AD

First recipe for Peking duck 

Written in the book, Yinshan Zhengyao (The Proper and Essential Things for the Emperor’s Food and Drink), an early recipe for Peking Duck appears.[2]

1416

Bian Yi Fang restaurant serves Peking duck

This restaurant in Beijing is one of the first to start serving Peking duck on their menu.[3]

1860

New style of cooking Peking duck

After traditionally cooking Peking duck in a closed oven (menlu), a new style of hanging the birds inside an open oven (gualu) begins.[4]

1864

Quanjude restaurant opens in Beijing

Peking duck becomes famous at this restaurant and has even been credited with positive relationships between US and Chinese governments.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-jul-07-fg-duck7-story.html

How to Celebrate National Peking Duck Day

Culinary days are some of the most delightful and fun days to celebrate because they always come with delicious and tasty endeavors. Consider some of these amazing ideas for getting involved with National Peking Duck Day:

Enjoy Peking Duck

In honor of National Peking Duck Day, the clearest way to get started is to head out to a favorite Chinese or Asian style restaurant with some taste buds that are ready to celebrate! Order some Peking Duck from the menu, complete with pancakes to roll the thin slices of poultry into. Then, dip it into the special sweet sauce and get ready for a flavor explosion!

Learn Some Fun Facts About Peking Duck

Raise awareness and spread the word about National Peking Duck Day by letting others know about it. One delightful way to do that is by memorizing and sharing fun facts with family members, friends and coworkers.

Get started with some of these bits of trivia that are related to National Peking Duck Day:

  • Peking duck is named after the wrong city

    Although Peking duck is named after the city of Beijing (another name for it has been Peking), the dish’s actual origins come from the then-capital city of Nanjing, which lies hundreds of kilometers to the south of Beijing.

  • Quanjude restaurant has grown significantly

    In its more than 150 years of operation, the famous Peking duck restaurant, Quanjude, in Beijing, has expanded and grown so much that it has franchises in places as far away as Australia, Canada and Portugal.

  • Quanjude has its own Peking Duck Museum

    Opened in celebration of its 150th anniversary, the Peking duck established the museum which contains all sorts of educational information, golden duck sculptures, art displays depicting the duck roasting process and much more. It also has a picture of US President Richard Nixon eating Peking duck with chopsticks in 1972.

  • Peking duck takes many steps to prepare

    There are up to 20 steps in the preparation of the dish, one of which is pumping the bird full of air to separate the skin from the body which, ultimately, makes the skin taste much crisper and more delicious.

Take a Trip to Beijing, China

Follow National Peking Duck Day to the extreme and get the most original experience of Peking duck, by taking a trip to China! Since Beijing is the place that the dish is named after, this capital city in the north would be the perfect place to start the Peking duck adventure.

While there, the first order of business, of course, would be to visit a restaurant and order up the Peking duck. If possible, try heading over to Quanjude’s spot, the famous restaurant that has served Peking duck to famous names such as President George Bush, Richard Nixon and Fidel Castro. In addition to their main location, Quanjude has venues that cater to visitor hot spots all over the city, in the Silk Market and other places.

While in Beijing, consider taking a guided tour, and don’t forget to check out some other amazing sites of this 3,000 year old city, including places like:

  • Great Wall of China. This section sits just an hour’s drive north of the city and can be experienced with a hike or a gondola during its 12-hour opening time each day. 
  • Beijing Summer Palace. Located in the suburbs of Beijing on the northwest side of the city, this site provides a beautiful oasis that includes a tower, hall, pavilion and gate, plus the impressive largest imperial garden in the entire country. 
  • Imperial Palace (Forbidden City). Also called The Palace Museum, this attraction is situated on the north end of the famous Tiananmen Square and has been a place of wonder and intrigue for more than five centuries. 
  • Nanluoguxiang Neighborhood. Get a feel for the culture of the city by wandering through this incredible neighborhood that boasts boutiques, vendors and market stalls. Of course, this might be a great place to enjoy some tasty Peking Duck! 

National Peking Duck Day FAQs

What is Peking duck?

Peking duck is a celebrated dish named after the Chinese city of Beijing (formerly Peking).[1]

How to cook Peking duck?

Peking duck is roasted on a wooden skewer and after the skin of the duck is marinated in white sugar or other flavorful agents.[2]

Where did Peking duck originate?

Peking duck originated in North China in the imperial court during the Yuan dynasty, at least 500 years ago.[3]

How to pronounce Peking duck?

In English, Peking duck may be pronounced “pee-king duhk”.[4]

What does Peking duck taste like?

This dish has a strong, red-meat sort of flavor that is more gamey than chicken. The crispy skin offers a sweet balance.[5]

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