You’re probably familiar with this popular dish, it is often seen on menus in Chinese restaurants in the UK, perhaps you’ve even tried it. Based on the more famous Peking Duck (or Beijing Duck), Crispy Aromatic Duck is actually a relatively new dish, having been created in the UK in the 20th century, to cater to local tastes.
The crispy aromatic duck is seasoned with spices before being cooked by steaming or roasting in an oven. To serve, it is deep fried so that the skin is crispy. The meat is chopped or often pulled at the table, for serving. The duck is served in thin wheat pancakes which are made on a hotplate, and warmed by steaming before serving.
This dish is usually served with either hoisin sauce, or plum sauce. ‘Hoisin’ literally translates as ‘seafood’ however, this sauce does not contain seafood, but alludes to the sweet fresh flavour of the sauce. This sauce is sweet and salty, with a robust savoury fermented soybean flavour, making it a good match with roasted duck and pork.
Crispy aromatic duck is most commonly served with cucumber sticks and spring onion slivers. The freshness of the vegetables provide a balance to fatty meat and rich sauce in the dish. The seeds of the cucumber are usually not used for this dish, being too watery for this purpose.
Peking (Beijing) Duck
By contrast, Peking Duck has the skin separated from the meat by pumping air under the skin. This allows the fat to render while roasting and leaves the duck with a crispy lacquer of skin. The duck is usually carved in front of the diner and typically served in a series of courses; skin dipped in sugar, meat served with pancakes, soup or stir-fry.