With a large Chinese population in Malaysia, it comes as no surprise that many prized dishes from China have become commonplace. Some of them are just too good to miss, like Beijing’s famous duck dish, Peking duck.
The dish dates back to the Yuan Dynasty and following tradition when the duck is prepared, presented and consumed even today is important. The cooking technique is a long and specific process, which is why historically it’s associated with the dining of nobility. Restaurants that prepare the dish would choose a young, white-feathered duck to boil; the traditional method requires that air is pumped into the duck carcass so as to create a slight separation between the skin and fat, and then the duck is glazed and cooked in ovens big enough to hang the duck, so that the fat drains away. This allows the skin to become exquisitely crispy while the meat stays succulent.
This intricate dish was perfected in the kitchens of royalty by some of the best chefs in China. But many “foods of the Emperor” were finally exposed to the masses after the Qing Dynasty fell in 1911, when the chefs soon began their own restaurants — including ones serving Peking duck.
These days, Peking duck is now served at restaurants worldwide. It’s usually brought out on a rolling trolley, and the duck is carved in front of customers by either the cook or headwaiter in several stages. The skin can be served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce, or in steamed Mandarin pancakes rolled up with spring onions, cucumber and topped with hoisin sauce. The remaining meat is then stir-fried according to the diners preference, before being served with vegetables.
If you’d like to try Peking duck in Kuala Lumpur, one restaurant that takes immense pride in replicating this elaborate meal is Toh Yuen Restaurant (99 to 108 ringgit, a whole duck is enough for three or four people) at the Petaling Jaya Hilton hotel. A more inexpensive choice is Spring Garden (88 ringgit) at KLCC; Bukit Kiara’s Oriental Pearl Restaurant on Jalan Bukit Kiara serves up a pretty succulent duck (and is halal).
413 – 414, 4th Level, KLCC
T: (03) 2166 9881/9686
Toh Yuen Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
2 Jalan Barat, Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 7955 9122
Oriental Pearl Restaurant
Jalan Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
T: 03 2092 3118
By Sarah Hishan
Last updated on 26th February, 2015.