Saturday, April 2, 2011

eating 4 peking ducks at one sitting
in singapore and in most other countries, when you order peking duck, you will normally order one to be shared by all the diners at the table. not so in the case of this restaurant in boxhill, melbourne, australia. you are advised to order one duck for every 2 or 3 persons at each table. last sunday, there were 9 of us, so we pre-booked 4 ducks for the party. yes, you need to order the ducks one day in advance. i was told that there was one instance when a group of 14 ordered 3 ducks. the owner of the restaurant felt so slighted that he told them not to eat at his restaurant again.

the name of the restaurant is simon's peiking duck. it is named after the owner and chef, simon lay, who goes around serving the duck and chatting with customers. on that sunday when we were there, all the tables in the restaurants were filled but he still found time to exchange a few words with us at our table. he also instructed us on how to fold the pancake to hold the duck's skin and meat.

instructions on folding the thin pancake: spread one spoon of sauce, place one piece of cucumber and one piece of spring onion; fold up at 6 o'clock, 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. you can also do the 6 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 9 o'clock and get the same result.

on a notice-board outside the restaurant, you can find information on how the duck is prepared. stuff ginger, shallots, aniseed and 5-spice powder in its belly, sew it up using a long needle and pump air into it, between the body and the skin to separate them.

next, it is plunged into boiling water to shrink the skin. then it goes into a wok rolling with vinegar, maltose and soy and oyster sauces - this is the glaze that gives the skin its shine and flavour. the duck is then hung (up) for 6 hours to dry before roasting.


Uncle Phil said...

On our recent trip to Beijing, we dined at the Quanjude restaurant and ordered its world famous "Peking Duck" as one of the many highlights of our China tour.I must admit that the best Peking duck I have ever tasted. Anyone trying to cook Peking duck at home after following instructions on the board should realise that part of the zealously guarded proecedure lies in the conditions under which ducks are raised. The ducks are forced-fed for the recipe! Just like the French forced-fed goose or ducks for their foie gras or fattened liver.

yg said...

phil, the peking duck served here is different from that served in s'pore. the colour is different, not as dark, and they served the skin with quite thick amount of meat intact. the skin is also not as crispy as the better ones in s'pore. i don't know where he gets his ducks but simon lay, the owner, jokes that they come from the botanic gardens!