Chinese The Chinese Cook Book

Pekinese Duck

One of the national treasures of China, Pekinese Duck is often attributed to Beijing in northern China although it actually originated in Nanjing which is about halfway between Hong Kong and Beijing, near Shanghai on the eastern coast. Duck is such a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine that I knew I had to feature at least one recipe with it from Wallace Yee Hong’s The Chinese Cook Book and, really, what other recipe is going to trump Peking Duck?

This was my first attempt at making Peking Duck and it certainly isn’t a venture for the faint of heart with its extended open air drying procedure. I kept it in the fridge overnight, myself and then dried it out using a fan for several hours the day of. The results may not have been perfect but it still resulted in a pretty tasty bird when all was said and done.

Traditionally served with Chinese pancakes, I made some green onion pancakes and a soy sauce dip to accompany the duck along with some homemade plum sauce. There are a few other duck recipes that I am interested in trying from the book, so it will be interesting to see how they compare.


1 whole duck
1 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp Chinese hot sauce (Sriracha, etc)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil


  1. Dissolve honey in 2 cups of boiling water. Set aside.
  2. Mix together salt and Chinese 5 spice. Set aside.
  3. Mix together rice wine vinegar, Hoisin, hot sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sesame seed oil. Set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then blanche whole duck in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and drain.
  5. Thoroughly brush the entire duck in honey water several times over.
  6. Season the inside of the duck with the salt seasoning mix.
  7. Allow skin to dry out in the open air until hardened (10-12 hours). I would recommend checking out some videos and tutorials. I myself didn’t hang it but placed it on a rack, refrigerated it uncovered over night and then dried it with a fan the day of for several hours.
  8. When ready to cook, rub the inside with your marinade.
  9. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Roast for 20 minutes at this heat and then lower to 250 degrees and cook for an additional 40 minutes. There will be smoke, it is okay the duck can take it.
  10. Allow to rest then serve the duck in two servings. One, just the skin sliced up with pancakes. Two, the duck meat served with plum sauce.