NATIONAL PEKING DUCK DAY
National Peking Duck Day, on January 18th, recognizes the national dish of China.
This dish is considered a delicacy due to its elaborate preparation and intense flavors. Since the Yuan Dynasty, established by Kublai Khan, Peking Duck’s roots are steeped in tradition that chefs have perfected over thousands of years.
The crispy, flavorful skin is the signature element of Peking Duck.
Chefs prefer the White Beijing duck for preparing this dish. However, in the United States, the preference is for the Pekin duck. They are raised for 65 days before being brought to slaughter. First, chefs pluck the duck and pump it full of air between the skin and the meat. The meat is then covered with boiling water, skewered, and hung to dry. While drying, the duck is glazed with a sugar coating and left for 24 hours. This whole process adds to the crispness of the skin.
The duck is then roasted hanging from the center of the oven to allow the fat to drip, basting the skin as it does. When presented, the Peking duck is often sliced artfully by the chef before the diners. Traditionally served in three portions, a Peking duck meal begins with the crispy skin, which diners dip into sugar. Following the skin, the next course is composed of thin pancakes stuffed with tender duck meat, hoisin and bean sauces, and cucumbers, onions, and garlic. The final serving is a duck soup or broth.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL PEKING DUCK DAY
Whether you try making Peking duck or dine out, celebrate the day! You can also watch A Christmas Story to get a serving of Peking. How will you celebrate? Use #NationalPekingDuckDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL PEKING DUCK DAY HISTORY
While we’ve never had Peking Duck, we’ve also not identified the source of this food holiday. However, we think it’s a swimmingly delicious way to celebrate!
Peking Duck FAQ
Q. How long does it take to make Peking duck?
A. It takes a least 48 hours to complete Peking duck from start to finish. The dish requires a complex process resulting in the dish’s signature crispy skin and tender, flavorful meat.
Q. What are the three traditional servings of Peking duck?
A. Traditionally, chefs serve Peking duck in three dishes. The first is the skin which guests dip into sugar. Then, the chef will serve the tender duck meat stuffed inside thin pancakes. A variety of sauces are served with this course. Finally, a duck soup or broth is served.
Q. Why is Peking duck inflated?
A. The skin of the duck is inflated so the fat can be rendered from both sides of the skin. The fat also bastes the duck meat.
Q. What gives Peking duck its rich, dark color?
A. Maltose syrup poured over the duck creates the rich, dark color.
January 18th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Thomas Jefferson asks Congress to appropriate funds that would support the Corps of Discovery. At the time, Jefferson made the request secretly. Led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark, the expedition departed on May 14, 1804.
The first landing of an aircraft on the deck of a ship took place in San Francisco Harbor. Pilot Lt. Eugene B. Ely successfully landed his Curtiss pusher biplane safely on a 119-ft landing platform placed on the deck of the U.S.S. Pennsylvania.
The International Olympic Committee restores Jim Thorpe’s gold medals after more than seventy years. In 1912, the phenomenal athlete won gold in the decathlon and pentathlon events at the Stockholm Olympics in Sweden. Six months later, the Olympic Committee stripped him of his medals because he had been paid to play baseball in 1909 and 1910. However, an Olympic rule in effect in 1912 required the committee to contest the athlete’s amateur status within 30 days.
January 18th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Peter Roget – 1779
The retired physician pursued his love of words and completed Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.
Daniel Hale Williams – 1856
A physician of many firsts, Dr. Williams is credited with the first successful heart surgery on July 10, 1893.
A.A. Milne – 1882
The children’s author is best known for creating the Hundred Acre Woods and the characters who live there, including Winnie the Pooh.
Cary Grant – 1904
One of the classic Hollywood legends, Grant shined in comedy and action roles. He saw both critical and commercial success throughout his career and yet, Grant never won an Academy Award for any of them, though he was nominated twice.
Shelby Hearon – 1931
The American novelist published her first story Armadillo in the Grass in 1968. She earned the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award for her novel Owning Jolene.
Curt Flood – 1938
The centerfielder played professional baseball for 15 seasons in major league baseball. During his career, Flood played for the Cincinnati Redlegs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Senators. The three-time All-Star also earned seven Gold Gloves and ended his career with a .293 batting average.