We at Inkstone certainly thought we knew duck, especially Peking duck. The imperial delicacy is a firm favorite of the whole team, though we hail from different parts of China.
Peking duck: are you doing it wrong?
We watched, in shock, as duck connoisseur Zhang Xin, 37, who runs the renowned Liqun Roast Duck in Beijing, showed us how to eat the dish. Not one of us eats it exactly the way that she recommends.
According to Zhang, a discerning diner should first dip a piece of roast duck into the sweet bean sauce and spread it evenly over the entire pancake. Two more duck pieces and a few slices of scallions go in next.
Then, the pancake should be wrapped in the middle and at one end (and only one end) leaving the other end open.
This is important: Zhang says traditional diners do not fold cucumber pieces into the wrap.
She says cucumber only became part of the duck combo after the year 2000. Instead, they should be eaten between rolls, as a palate cleanser for diners to freshen up their taste buds.
Dating back to the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), Peking duck was for hundreds of years an exclusive delicacy of the upper class.
Now locals and tourists can find the cuisine across the Chinese capital, which used to be known as Peking, and around the world.
The Liqun restaurant was founded in 1991 by Zhang’s father, 69-year-old chef Zhang Liqun, in the historic Qianmen area.
If you are also a Peking duck enthusiast, you probably have your own favorite way to eat the dish. These days, it's not uncommon to include cucumber or radish, or even add a bit of sugar.
How do you eat Peking duck?