Peking Duck (or Beijing Duck) has long been a centerpiece of Chinese cooking. As early as the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), a variation of the Peking Duck has been served for the Emperor. The Peking Duck that we know now was fully developed in the Ming dynasty and became one of the staples of the imperial court menu.
The first restaurant specializing in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in 1416. In 1864, Qianjude was established. These two restaurants are still acknowledged today as the best Peking Duck places in China. It was also thanks to Yang Quanren, who founded Qianjude, that the hung oven for making Peking Duck was invented.
The ducks used to make the dish originally come from Nanjing. Nowadays, the dish is prepared from from Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos domestica). The ducklings are raised in a free range environment for the first 45 days of their lives and then force fed 4 times per day for the next 15 to 20 days. The ducks are ready when they weigh around 5 to 7 kg.Read the full story about Chinese Christmas dinner.
Read more about food from China.