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A dish developed for the Imperial kitchens from the excellent ducks reared in the area.
A true Peking duck is prepared as follows in the finest restaurants of that city - after being fed a rich diet of maize, sorghum, barley and soya beans, they are killed and air is pumped through the windpipe to separate the skin from the meat. This allows the skin to roast separately and remain crisp while the fat melts, keeping the meat moist. Hot water is then poured over the bird to close the skin pores and it is hung up to dry. During the drying process a solution of malt sugar is brushed over the duck, which is then roasted in wood-burning ovens. The result is a shiny, crisp and aromatic duck with a beautiful brown skin, moist flesh and no fat.
Traditionally, the skin was then served with pancakes, while the meat was stir-fried with bean sprouts as a second course, but nowadays it is all served together with Mandarin pancakes, cucumber (cut into matchstick-sized pieces), spring onions (cut into sticks) and either sweet bean or hoisin sauce.
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