Friday, January 18, 2008
The most famous Peking duck restaurant in town is called Quanjude.
They have locations all over the city and the main branch on Wangfujing shows off pictures of people like US President Nixon dining there when he came for his historic visit in 1972.
Since then every other tourist has made the pilgrimage to the place to try the famed bird.
The restaurant's history dates back to 1864 in the Qing Dynasty and now it's more known for its various duck dishes, from Peking duck to braised web feet, duck hearts and livers.
And Peking duck is best prepared by roasting the duck over a fire made with wood from fruit trees to give the meat a sweet flavour.
But this is all changing with the "time-honoured brand" going electric.
The ducks prepared at Quanjude will now be cooked -- in electric ovens.
This development was made in order to maintain consistent quality, as Quanjude went public last November to expand its business across the country.
The company sells some 3 million ducks a year and raised 388 million yuan (US$52 million) on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Looks like investors are banking on the roast duck business to take flight.
But back to this modern development.
The electric ovens are computerized and were jointly developed by Quanjude and a German company.
In order to retain the fruit smell and taste, natural fruit juice will be sprayed on the ducks prior to roasting.
Before Peking duck lovers shun Quanjude completely, the restaurant promises a few locations in Beijing will continue the roasting tradition.
However, knowing that your bird came out of an electric oven just doesn't have the same exotic flavour as one that was prepared the same way it was over 140 years ago.