By Chef Diane
A man orders chop suey in a restaurant. The waiter brings out a pot with a lid but the man's afraid to eat it because every so often the lid lifts up a wee bit and a wee pair of eyes peer out at him. He calls the waiter over, points it out, and asks "Are you sure that's chop suey?" The waiter goes, "Oh sorry sir, my mistake - I've brought you Peking duck."
According to mahalo.com, Peking Duck has its roots in Yuan dynasty, who invented the dish in the 1200s. It became the Ming dynasty's favorite food in the 1500s. One of the oldest Peking Duck restaurants in Beijing has served Peking Duck for over 600 years.
By the mid-20th century, Peking Duck had become China’s national dish. Its popularity has spread across the world with many upscale Chinese restaurants around the world serving Peking Duck as one of their signature dish. Peking duck had historically been reserved for the nobles and upper class members of the Chinese community. It’s only been since the beginning of the 21st century that the average person in China could afford to eat authentic Peking Duck.
There are many steps involved in the process of making authentic Peking Duck. One of most distinctive process is when the chef inflates the intact skin on the duck to cook it. The duck is traditionally roasted in a brick oven with open fire to get the crisp skin. The skin is crispy, but so tender it melts in your mouth. Peking Duck can be eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and either hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce.
When my son was younger, I used to take him to different restaurants, to allow him to taste different foods as well as how to to practice his table manners. When I took him to a local Chinese restaurant, he ordered the Peking Duck. I had never tried this dish, so we shared it. It tasted like chicken...hahaha. Today is National Peking Duck Day, a dish that became popular in the United States in 1975. If you are feeling adventurous today, head down to a Chinese restaurant, and order up a dish for your enjoyment!