A Peking Duck Dinner to Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary

By:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  4 days ago  •  32 comments

A Peking Duck Dinner to Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary

A Peking Duck Dinner to Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary

A photo from December 5th 2008.  It was a legal civil form of wedding with no guests or witnesses, so no need to dress.  Our traditional wedding ceremony followed late in January with guests, a reception, and more formal wear. 

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So Wednesday was our 10th Anniversary, which we celebrated by going to a roast duck restaurant a short walk from our home.

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Traditionally a mixture of spices and oils is rubbed on the skin of the duck, and it is hung in an oven over burning logs. Earlier in the day the oven door was open and the ducks hanging, but I didn't have my camera. In these two photos the door is only partly open. The photos were taken through an outdoor window and you can see the reflection of stools that were outside for people waiting for a table.

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From outside I took this photo of the chefs carving the ducks. In Beijing, the duck was carved beside our table:

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We go into the restaurant - above is a balcony ringing the room with tables. The restaurant was very busy, and we had to wait a half hour for a table.

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Looking to the right, again we see the chefs carving:

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There is a small salad buffet with veggies and sauces:

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We sit at a table that again differs from tradition as it has a hot pot of boiling duck soup in the centre which thankfully is not very spicy. We had ordered only half a duck, and the slices are spread on a metal plate. You can also see a small dish to the right with round paper-thin pancakes, and between the duck and the soup another dish with slivers of scallions, and a tiny bowl of thick plum sauce. The custom is to make a wrap with the pancake, duck, scallions and sauce, and eat it by hand.

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We order various veggies and meatballs to boil in the soup. Other dishes were brought to our table as well, and we drank hot tea.

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We finished our meal and the bill came right away. We had my wife's mother and niece with us, and the bill for enough food to fill the four of us was 160 Yuan. the equivalent of around US$27. There is no tipping in China.

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Outside, we walk past trees strung with lights.

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And we come to this structure prematurely celebrating the new year at the corner across from our home.

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So we had a photo taken of us as a memory.

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Buzz of the Orient
1  author  Buzz of the Orient    4 days ago

Has anyone else ever eaten a genuine Peking Duck dinner?  It is one of the three things, as has been said, that is necessary to do in order to know China.  Eat a Peking Duck dinner, climb The Great Wall, and watch the Peking Opera.  I've done all 3, and much much more. 

 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     4 days ago

Great photo essay Buzz. Congratulations to you and Mrs. Buzz. 

I've eaten Peking Duck, been to the great wall to I haven't watched the Peking Opera. After my experience at the Sydney Opera it probably wouldn't be a good idea. LOL

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @2    3 days ago

Thank you Kavika.  You cannot believe how NOISY the Peking Opera is, but it is an experience.

You were TO The Great Wall, but were you ON it.

 
 
Kavika
2.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    3 days ago
You were TO The Great Wall, but were you ON it.

Yes I was on the wall...Great experience.

 
 
Galen Marvin Ross
3  Galen Marvin Ross    3 days ago
We go into the restaurant - above is a balcony ringing the room with tables. The restaurant was very busy, and we had to wait a half hour for a table.

I believe it doesn't matter what country you are in this saying holds true in all of them, "You can tell a good restaurant by how busy it is", the duck looked delicious Buzz and, as far as how to eat it, as soon as you mentioned the pancakes, I figured the best way to eat them was to wrap the duck in it, I'm glad my instincts still work.

I've never really had a chance to travel the world but, if it came I would probably make Asia a first stop.

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
4  author  Buzz of the Orient    3 days ago

Absolutely, GMR.  NEVER go into a restaurant that is empty or almost empty at a mealtime.  If you've been looking at the photo essays I've been posting for about 8 years you will get a snapshot of how much there is to see in China, yet after twelve years here, I still have seen such a small percentage of what there is of interest. I wouldn't go NEAR Europe these days.

 
 
Galen Marvin Ross
4.1  Galen Marvin Ross  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4    3 days ago

I have been seeing China through your lens Buzz and, I very rarely go into any restaurant that either the locals or, truckers refuse to patronize. One of the things I would love to have done in my life time would be to tour the "Forbidden City" but, I have an idea of its size and, I would have been able to do it in my thirty's and, forty's but, now I can barely walk down to the grocery store which is a block away from my home. I hate getting old.

 
 
TTGA
4.1.1  TTGA  replied to  Galen Marvin Ross @4.1    3 days ago
now I can barely walk down to the grocery store which is a block away from my home. I hate getting old.

Galen,

I had the same problem when I started babysitting four grandchildren.  Keeping up with them was a real problem, particularly when they went on wheels.  Then I had an Epiphany.  I disregarded that, wiped up the floor and had an idea instead.  I went out and got myself a bike, one with larger wheels than theirs.  That way I can go faster than they can with the same effort.  Besides that, I found that I was getting lots of healthy exercise.  Only problem is that the oldest boy (see avatar) has grown enough so he can, and always wants to, ride my bike.

Congratulations Buzz.  Looks like a great dinner.  I've been to Hong Kong, Taipei and Bangkok, but have never gotten around to the Peking Duck (possibly because the restaurants all required  24 hours notice).  In Bangkok, the best meal wasn't even Oriental, the hamburgers were the best I've ever had (I don't think they used beef).

 
 
Galen Marvin Ross
4.1.2  Galen Marvin Ross  replied to  TTGA @4.1.1    3 days ago
That way I can go faster than they can with the same effort.  Besides that, I found that I was getting lots of healthy exercise.  Only problem is that the oldest boy (see avatar) has grown enough so he can, and always wants to, ride my bike.

Isn't that the way of it with kids? My grandson is getting bigger every day, he'll be seven next month and, almost comes up to my chest, I'm 6 feet tall.

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Buzz of the Orient
4.1.3  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TTGA @4.1.1    3 days ago

Thanks for the good wishes, TTGA.

"(I don't think they used beef)"

You can never be really sure, TTGA.  Makes me think of this fortune cookie:

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Spikegary
5  Spikegary    3 days ago

A wonderful taste of China through your eyes, Buzz.  Happy Anniversary to you and the Mrs.  If I have time in Toronto when I visit, I like to go to China Town for some authentic Chinese Cuisine-always a step or three above the run of the mill chinese food from the local places.

Last time, I had the Hot and Sour Soup.  My sinuses were never clearer than when I finished.....

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Spikegary @5    3 days ago

Thanks Gary.  I've had that soup for breakfast - it's a good waker-upper.

 
 
TTGA
5.2  TTGA  replied to  Spikegary @5    3 days ago

Gary,

Try the hot mustard sauce on an egg roll.  It'll not only wake you up and clear your sinuses; it'll also make your ears pop.  Only the stuff made on site though, the kind in plastic packets isn't worth bothering with.

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.2.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TTGA @5.2    3 days ago
"Only the stuff made on site though, the kind in plastic packets isn't worth bothering with."

Absolutely. I learned that at least a half a century ago. When ordering takeout back in those days you had to specify the restaurant-prepared mustard, not the packets.

 
 
TTGA
5.2.2  TTGA  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5.2.1    3 days ago

Yep.  I talked to the lady running our local Chinese/Thai restaurant.  She told me that she was looking seriously into getting a gas mask to use when she makes it.  That stuff is STRONG.  Makes even the hottest Mexican food look like it's suitable for small children.

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
5.2.3  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TTGA @5.2.2    3 days ago

Even here, in the very heart of spiciness (Sichuan and Chongqing), I can't buy canned/bottled mustard like that - it has to be prepared in the restaurant.  Perhaps it loses its sting when it's bottled.

 
 
Trout Giggles
6  Trout Giggles    3 days ago

Congratulations on 10 years, Buzz!

I would love to have a genuine Peking Duck dinner some day. I will probably have to go to China for it tho. It sounds delicious

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
6.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    3 days ago

Thanks, Trout.  Even though Toronto has a great Chinatown (as Spikegary noted), in fact TWO of them, I don't recall ever being in a restaurant that served Peking duck until I was here.

 
 
Trout Giggles
6.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1    3 days ago

One of the best Chinese meals I ever ate was in Chinatown in Manhattan

 
 
Sparty On
7  Sparty On    3 days ago

Very nice Buzz.

Congrats!

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
7.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Sparty On @7    3 days ago

Thanks Sparty (and thumb uppers)

 
 
Ender
8  Ender    3 days ago

Great pics Buzz. The meal doesn't seem that expensive. I was thinking a lot more. A half hour wait isn't that bad, especially for a good restaurant. Food looks great. Never had duck.

The new year is coming up fast. : )

Happy Anniversary !

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
8.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ender @8    3 days ago

The wait was actually pleasant.  We were still able to sit inside (because my age is pretty obvious, besides my being a foreigner, often gets me a seat when there aren't any available) and my wife knew one of the waitresses and she brought us some little fruits to eat while we waited - and it gave me time to take some of the photos.

Thanks for your good wishes.

The New Year is not only a good thing, but I get to celebrate 3 of them each year.

 
 
PJ
9  PJ    3 days ago

Buzz - Congratulations to you and your wife on reaching your 10 year anniversary!  jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gif  

Thank you for sharing your evening.  I could smell the duck from here.  Are there any traditions that are incorporated into the meal when it's a special occasion like an anniversary?  

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
9.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  PJ @9    3 days ago

Thanks PJ.  Nobody knew it was our anniversary except ourselves, and I don't think they would have done anything special unless I had arranged it. Had it been a restaurant that we would frequent (only the second time we ate there in the two years we've been living in this location) and the owners/staff knew us, then I expect they might have done something special.  Anyway my wife is a great cook and she loves to cook so we usually only go to restaurants on special days like birthdays. On specific days, there are some restaurants that put together a special menu, which is very fancy and more expensive, and usually you would be restricted to use only that menu, such as during Valentine's Day. 

 
 
charger 383
10  charger 383    3 days ago

Happy Anniversary

I have learned a lot about China from your posts and enjoy them

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
10.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @10    3 days ago

Thanks, Charger. I'm aware that you always view and appreciate my articles.

 
 
pat wilson
11  pat wilson    3 days ago

Hi Buzz, Great article ! I had Peking Duck here in southern California. It was very much like your description, with plum sauce, scallions, etc. I only wish it had had the thin pancakes like your dinner. This place served fat, puffy white doughy buns. 

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
11.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  pat wilson @11    3 days ago

Although I've had Peking Duck in a few different cities, the very best I ever had was 12 years ago in almost ancient restaurant in Beijing that was reputed to prepare and serve the best Peking Duck in China for generations. The skin was crispy, not soft like in most other places. There the chef sliced the duck in front of us at our table.  This photo was taken of me beside our table back then:

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dave-2693993
12  dave-2693993    3 days ago

Thank you for the story and photos Buzz.

Congratulations once again too.

The dinner looks delicious.

We had what was called Peking Duck at nice restaurant while on the honeymoon with my ex. It was in Pompano Beach and can't remember the name of the place. As I recall, we were pleased with the meal.

 
 
Buzz of the Orient
12.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  dave-2693993 @12    3 days ago

You're welcome, and thank you. You could have had the genuine thing if it was prepared, roasted and served correctly. 

 
 
dave-2693993
12.1.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @12.1    3 days ago

I wish I could remember all the details. I recall quite a bit of fuss and caring about how it was served.

I still have a very fine porcelain tea set from that restaurants souvenir area. It is almost  paper thin and seems coated in powdered mother of pearl.

 
 
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