Delectable Peking Duck – Prepared with Precision
Peking duck is a luxurious dish often requested in most Chinese restaurants. What makes this dish so special? The celebrated Peking duck, patiently roasted over wood, prepared with skill and care, is designed to impress your taste buds. The duck skin is a bit sweet and beautifully crisp, the duck meat flavourful and succulent – served with a sauce intended to add another dimension to the experience. Watching the waiter carve the duck right beside your table with such artistry and skill adds to the pleasurable anticipation of finally eating this distinctive and exemplary dish.
Some restaurants’ version of this dish is so-so — not spectacular at all. But in the hands of excellent chefs in the best restaurants in Hong Kong Central, the dish can become nothing short of magnificent.
When skilfully prepared, Peking duck is a sumptuous dish from whichever angle you look at it. Its skin has a beautifully rich gold-brown hue. When you bite into it, it crackles from the sheer crunch that adept preparation is able to achieve. Its meat is flavourful and succulent. There is nothing better than thin slices of Peking duck inside a paper-thin Mandarin pancake accompanied by tangy scallion and light-tasting cucumber – the entire already flavour-dense blend made even more so by a light coat of sweet-pungent and garlicky Hoisin sauce over it.
Mott 32’s Peking duck dish, masterfully prepared by Chef Fung, stands head and shoulders above those served in other Chinese dimsum restaurants. It is because of the extra care by which the ducks are selected, prepared, and cooked.
Selection of the type of duck is important. Mott 32 uses only the Pekin breed from Nanjing – small, deep-flavoured, with low-fat skin that readily lends itself to acquiring the perfect crisp texture that is essential to the dish.
Chilling is another important consideration. Mott 32 uses an air-drying duck fridge. An air-chilled duck does not gain superfluous water-weight – weight that distills its flavour, making it less tasty, and rendering it difficult to achieve the ideal crispy skin.
What is the method behind preparing this quintessential Chinese savoury dish?
Once the chef receives the duck, he butchers it, plucks it clean, guts it out, then rinses it with water thoroughly and painstakingly. For Chef Fung of Mott 32 for whom farm-to-table freshness is important, this means the choicest and freshest Pekin ducks with the most intense flavour.
Air is pumped under the layer of skin so that the skin is disengaged from the flesh. This is important for attaining the crisp skin texture that is of paramount importance.
The chef then removes the entrails through incision then soaks the duck in water that is in a brisk-boil state He then hangs the duck up so that the air dries it out. Every so often, he will brush the duck with a marinade of maltose-syrup and several flavourful spices, giving it a wonderfully complex taste and a beautiful shiny and appetizing glaze.
The duck is air-dried thoroughly – at least a full day so that once cooked, the skin will have the crisp crunch for which the dish as prepared by Mott32 is celebrated. The duck is then ready to be roasted to a beautiful golden brown.