Let me introduce you to ducky: a 40-day old, web-footed gal that was hanging around a farm in Shun-Yi, Beijing just hours before I made her acquaintance in the kitchen of Made in China, a Chinese restaurant in Beijing’s Grand Hyatt hotel.
She was plump and pale-skinned, having been slaughtered and plucked before arriving on the premise not long after dawn. She and around 80 others would to be gutted and cleaned on-site that day: the first step in a 48-hour process that would result in meat so succulent and skin so exquisitely crisp that the dish was an imperial classic before its secrets filtered down to the masses and it became a dish of national acclaim.
You see, ducky and her squad had a special destiny: they were amongst thousands specifically selected by the city’s restaurants that day to be transformed into the quintessential dish Peking duck – or Beijing duck as it’s commonly referred to today. Continue reading