Smoking Fowl of Beijing 北京烤鸭 @ Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant at Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore.

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant at Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore.
Well-known for roasting the Peking duck to perfection, Imperial Treasure serves only the finest and most authentic iteration of this prized dish. With a solemn dedication to preserving the centuries-old methods of the Emperor’s imperial kitchen, each whole duck is roasted to crisp perfection by chefs from Beijing and sliced on the platter before your eyes.

Peking is the old name for Beijing and Peking duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered a national dish of China.

The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with mandarin pancakes, shredded scallions, cucumbers and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce.

Duck has been roasted in China since the Southern and Northern Dynasties. A variation of roast duck was prepared for the Emperor of China in the Yuan Dynasty. The dish, originally named “Shaoyazi” (燒鴨子), was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages (飲膳正要) manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui (忽思慧), an inspector of the imperial kitchen. The Peking Roast Duck that came to be associated with the term was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty, and by then, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus. The first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416.

By the Qianlong Period (1736–1796) of the Qing Dynasty, the popularity of Peking Duck spread to the upper classes, inspiring poetry from poets and scholars who enjoyed the dish. For instance, one of the verses of Duan Zhu Zhi Ci, a collection of Beijing poems was, “Fill your plates with roast duck and suckling pig”. In 1864, the Quanjude (全聚德) restaurant was established in Beijing. Yang Quanren (楊全仁), the founder of Quanjude, developed the hung oven to roast ducks. With its innovations and efficient management, the restaurant became well known in China, introducing the Peking Duck to the rest of the world.

By the mid-20th century, Peking Duck had become a national symbol of China, favoured by tourists and diplomats alike. For example, Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State of the United States, met Premier Zhou Enlai in the Great Hall of the People on July 10, during his first visit to China. After a round of inconclusive talks in the morning, the delegation was served Peking Duck for lunch, which became Kissinger’s favourite. The Americans and Chinese issued a joint statement the following day, inviting President Richard Nixon to visit China in 1972. Peking Duck was hence considered one of the factors behind the rapprochement of the United States to China in the 1970s. Following Zhou’s death in 1976, Kissinger paid another visit to Beijing to savor Peking Duck. Peking Duck, at the Quanjude in particular, has also been a favorite dish for various political leaders ranging from Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl.

The ducks used to prepare Peking Duck originated in Nanjing. They were small, had black feathers, and lived in the canals around the city linking major waterways. With the relocation of the Chinese capital to Beijing, supply barge traffic increased in the area. Often these barges would spill grain into the canals, providing food for the ducks. By the Five Dynasties, the new species of duck had been domesticated by Chinese farmers. Nowadays, Peking Duck is prepared from the Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos domestica). Newborn ducks are raised in a free range environment for the first 45 days of their lives, and force fed 4 times a day for the next 15–20 days, resulting in ducks that weigh 5–7 kg (11–15 lbs). The force feeding of the ducks led to an alternate name for the dish, Peking Stuffed Duck (simplified Chinese: 北京填鸭; traditional Chinese: 北京填鴨; pinyin: běijīng tián yā).

Fattened ducks are slaughtered, plucked, eviscerated and rinsed thoroughly with water. Air is pumped under the skin through the neck cavity to separate the skin from the fat. The duck is then soaked in boiling water for a short while before it is hung up to dry. While it is hung, the duck is glazed with a layer of maltose syrup, and the inside is rinsed once more with water. Having been left to stand for 24 hours, the duck is roasted in an oven until it turns shiny brown.

Peking Duck is traditionally roasted in either a closed oven or hung oven. The closed oven is built of brick and fitted with metal griddles (Chinese: 箅子; pinyin: bì zi). The oven is preheated by burning Gaoliang sorghum straw (Chinese: 秫秸; pinyin: shú jiē) at the base. The duck is placed in the oven immediately after the fire burns out, allowing the meat to be slowly cooked through the convection of heat within the oven.

The hung oven was developed in the imperial kitchens during the Qing Dynasty and adopted by the Quanjude restaurant chain. It is designed to roast up to 20 ducks at the same time with an open fire fueled by hardwood from peach or pear trees. The ducks are hung on hooks above the fire and roasted at a temperature of 270°C (525°F) for 30–40 minutes. While the ducks are cooking, the chef may use a pole to dangle each duck closer to the fire for 30 second intervals. Almost every part of a duck can be cooked. The Quanjude Restaurant even served their customers the “All Duck Banquet” in which they cooked the bones of ducks with vegetables. Besides the traditional methods to prepare Peking Duck, recipes have been compiled by chefs around the world to produce the dish at home.

The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally carved in front of the diners and served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes (simplified Chinese: 春饼; traditional Chinese: 春餅; pinyin: chūn bǐng), spring onions and sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber sticks. The diners spread sauce, and optionally sugar, over the pancake. The pancake is wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and eaten by hand. The remaining fat, meat and bones may be made into a broth, served as is, or the meat chopped up and stir fried with sweet bean sauce. – info source: Wikipedia

Somehow the spectacles in the background belonging to my friend of 27yrs friendship reminded me of <a href="http://l2ee2l.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">The Mouse</a>...

Somehow the spectacles in the background belonging to my friend of 27yrs friendship reminded me of The Mouse… I’m sure if Mouse were here, he would tell me at least one sock is off 😉

Chef from Beijing preparing to slice the Peking Duck in front of our eyes.

Chef from Beijing preparing to slice the Peking Duck in front of our eyes.

Scallions and Cucumber sticks are the usual "garnishing" together with the Sweet Bean Paste. The sugar is for the crispy "backside" skin, remember?

Scallions and Cucumber sticks are the usual “garnishing” together with the Sweet Bean Sauce. The sugar is for the crispy “backside” skin, remember?

This was the third portion, the dark meat of the duck, also my favourite. The skin here were not lean. They had a layer of fats which kept the lower torso and thigh meat moist and juicy.

This was the third portion, the dark meat of the duck, also my favourite. The skin here was not lean. They had a layer of fats which kept the lower torso and thigh meat moist and juicy.

Each bite was heavenly with spurts of fats and juice intermingling and bursting in your mouth.

Dark (front) or White (background) – your choice! The dark meat’s skin were thicker, although crispy had a slight bounce and chew in texture when comparing to the clean incisive bite of the breast skin.

IMG_5466PekingD©BondingTool

Does anyone here share the same happy feeling as I upon looking at the glistening translucent layer between skin and meat?

IMG_5467PekingD©BondingTool

Each bite was heavenly with spurts of fats and juice intermingling and bursting in your mouth.
Awesome!

Time to eat! Your choice or white or dark meat - to be wrapped in mandarin pancake or eaten as is, dipped in sweet bean paste sauce.

Time to eat!
Your choice or white or dark meat – to be wrapped in mandarin pancake or eaten as is, dipped in sweet bean sauce.

蘿蔔糕 or Radish Cake sometimes also known as turnip cake (if turnips are used) is a dim sum classic and my old friend insisted of having a plate of this. I must admit I liked it a lot as I found this common dish prepared rather uniquely here. Instead of shredded radish, they actually have pre-cooked soft radish chunks inside.

蘿蔔糕 or Radish Cake is a dim sum classic and my old friend insisted of having a plate of this. I must admit I liked it a lot as I found this common dish prepared rather uniquely here. Instead of shredded radish, they actually have pre-cooked soft radish chunks inside the savoury steamed then pan-fried rice batter cakes with tiny bits of Chinese sausage.

Can you spot me?

Can you spot me?

Lim and I have known each other for 27 years! Oh mine, how time flies… I have lots of white hair sprouting and I’m very glad he has more 😀 We’ve been wanting to meet over a meal since forever and then he went to Switzerland. He’s been back for a couple of months or more now so we’re having lunch today, finally! Anyway, the good thing about lunching with long time buddies (old is a sensitive word in the presence of mature friends, lol…) is the freedom to multi-task at the table. While Lim was talking, I was clicking away at food with my eyes and hands but be assured my ears were all his. On the other hand, he may be responding to an email on his smartphone, so my turn to wait. No, you’re right, I did not wait… I ate 😉

Luckily, the XLB (xiao long bao) was out of stock and the very apologetic sweet lady captain forgot to place the order for our “seasonal vegetables with shimeiji mushrooms”. Otherwise we would have to stuff ourselves silly with no room left for coffee.

P.S. Legend has it that long ago, straw was inserted in between the skin and meat and the kitchen helper blew through the straw to create air pockets, separating the skin and meat (which accounts for the crispy texture). I imagine my aunt shaking a finger saying, “so unhygienic!”. Today, cooks have machines to do that. And yes, Peking duck is simply a roasted duck and the one I had sure was smoking good!

Happy catching up with old (oops!) friends 🙂

Our bill after taxes S$110.64

Our bill after taxes S$110.64

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant
Paragon, #05-42/45,
290 Orchard Road,
Singapore 238859.
Tel: (65) 6732 7838.

Business Hours:
Monday to Friday
Lunch: 11.30am to 2.45pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Saturday
Lunch: 11.00am to 2.45pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Sunday
Lunch: 10.30am to 2.45pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm

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Comments
6 Responses to “Smoking Fowl of Beijing 北京烤鸭 @ Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant”
  1. cate b says:

    Oh. My. We visited Shanghai and Beijing in2005 – while in Beijing we ate TWICE at a restaurant that served this exact duck dish. So incredibly good – my mouth is watering.

  2. Looks tasty, btw i had a new hobby nowdays,
    instead asked the restaurnt to “simply” stir fry the leftover carved duck meat for about 7 USD, i like to bring it home and do a lil make over to the meat, mostly for stuffing ang ragout…hehehe

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