The creation of the traditional Peking duck dish is something that requires a careful knowledge of an age-old skill. Prepared the same way since the Imperial era, this Chinese dish is an important cultural cornerstone.
The crisp skin combined with the correct fat to meat ratio is something that can’t be replicated utilizing shortcuts of any kind. Far too many people have been fed an inferior product, and there’s a very telling difference between commercially prepared Peking duck and the authentically prepared dish.
An Overview of the Traditional Method
The traditional method of Peking duck preparation is as old as the Northern and Southern dynasties. The chef would choose a White Beijing duck, a breed heavily domesticated in China, and roast the duck to slow perfection. They did this using either a convection method, or a second method that suspended the duck above the flame.
The second method has been continued with a great deal of success throughout traditional Chinese restaurants. The preparation of the traditional Peking duck involves the following:
- Choosing and plucking an appropriate White Beijing duck
- Air is pushed between its skin and flesh, and an incision is made to remove its entrails
- The bird is cleaned and skewered with a wooden rod which allows it to be suspended above the flame
- The duck is sometimes soaked in boiling water to tighten skin and then filled with water and sewn shut once again
- After being thoroughly hung and dried the duck’s skin will be brushed or marinated using sugar or other traditional agents
- The last step involves the suspension of the duck in a large oven at a temperature of around 500F for between 30-40 minutes
The duck will be deemed ready when its skin has a beautiful reddish color and has the crisp texture that can only be achieved via traditional cooking methods. In restaurants that continue to embrace the old ways, the chef will bring the duck to the table and slice it into more than 100 thin and succulent sections.
Why is the Traditional Method Preferred Over Modern Alternatives?
An article by Veronica Lin highlights some of the problems with cutting corners and utilizing cheaper and faster electric ovens. In Lin’s interview with chef Lu Xiaofei, she uncovers the advantages that cooking in the traditional large fireclay oven provides over modern electric means.
Lu notes the chef’s ability to carefully monitor the cooking duck and to make immediate changes when necessary. This close attention to detail combined with the original fruit flavors infused with the woods creates a finished product unique to this timeless method.
How Far Chinese Chefs in California are Willing to Go to Preserve Tradition
The practice of preparing and serving traditional Peking duck is so sacred to the Chinese culture that local California chefs and activists lobbied to have health code exceptions made in their favor. These exceptions allow the duck to be hung in the windows of traditional Chinese establishments while being dried according to ancient methods of preparation.
Since the exception was made for Peking duck in the 1980s , chefs have continued to embrace and practice cooking methods that keep a cultural tradition alive and well for future generations.
Noods Noods Noods is an incredible festival featuring the unlikely combination of two very popular worlds – noodles and video gaming. Following the success of Noods Noods Noods in Southern California, the festival came to Oakland on April 7.
The event celebrated not only the craziest, most inspired, and delicious noodle creations and Asian-inspired food fusions, but also the upcoming official grand opening of Esports Arena Oakland. The skills of some of the best chefs and gamers in the Bay Area were on display.
Chili House SF & Z & Y Restaurant at Noods Noods Noods
Chili House and Z & Y Restaurant showcased our hand-pulled noodles at the event. The special noodle-coated sauce filled the mouth with waves of taste, beginning with a slightly sweet tang that was followed by a smack of satisfying, spicy hot burn.
Kung Fu Tea master Xumin Liu, who has been performing at Chili House since January also dazzled the crowds at the event. His Kung Fu Tea performances were a very popular attraction drawing appreciative audiences.
A Wall of Noodles
Noods Noods Noods Oakland was presented by Foodbeast and NISSIN, The Original Cup Noodles, the 46-year-old company that helped make instant noodles a mainstream dish. A noodle lover on the way in knew they were in the right place when they were greeted at the entrance by the impressive Tower o’ Cup Noodles display.
Inside, the outdoor noodle festival had two sections: the Marketplace with visiting food trucks from all over the Bay Area, and the all-you-can-eat (AYCE) section showcasing unique drool-worthy dishes from Bay Area restaurants. There were so many noodly and other types of Asian dishes that no one could come close to sampling everything on offer.
The idea of founders Paul Ward and Tyler Endres, Esports arenas are designed to fill a niche need for gamers. Traditionally, playing video games has been a solitary pursuit, even when playing online with others. Esports arenas are places where a player can share their gaming passion with like-minded fans.
At Noods Noods Noods Oakland, players could compete in the Super Smash Bros. Melee and Smash 4 singles tournaments with $5,000 in cash prizes. And of course, when they become hungry, there was no shortage of food.
What to do Now that Noods Noods Noods Oakland is Over
Noods Noods Noods Oakland provided the perfect opportunity to try some of the exclusive dishes and premiere food items from the Bay Area’s best restaurants. In a city with no limit on Asian food options, Chili House SF stands out. Chefs Han has earned international acclaim for serving both Sichaun and Beijing cuisine since 1988. Check us out online or call (415) 387-2658 to experience delicious and authentic Chinese dining.