Whenever a tourist visits Beijing, he/she will not come back without tasting Beijing Duck. It is slowly roasted and is succulent. Along with this famous dish, thin pancakes, sweet noodle sauce or hoisin sauce and finely sliced green onions are served. In Beijing, the freshly roast duck is sliced at the table by the chef just before serving, separating the skin from the meat. Then it is enjoyed by wrapping in a pancake. One can get to taste Beijing Duck in some good Chinese restaurants in Kolkata also.
During the Yuan Dynasty (1206 – 1368), the tradition of eating roast duck originated. In the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages, it was listed among the imperial dishes. Beijing roast duck remained one of the famous dishes on imperial court menus in the early 15th century of the Ming dynasty. The old Bianyifang Restaurant was the earliest roast duck restaurant in Beijing, according to the local history. During the Jiajing reign (1522 – 1566), it opened. The ducks were roasted here with radiant heat. There was a golden brown appearance of the ducks roasted in this manner and they felt crisp to the touch. The flesh was tender and tasty. The roast duck was a favourite delicacy of the upper classes during the Qianlong period (1736 – 1796).
A number of restaurants opened following a famous restaurant as they want to make profits from a reputed name and satisfy the growing demand for roast duck. These restaurants opened under the name Bianyifang. The name of the Bianyifang Restaurant changed to the Chongwenmen Roast Duck Restaurant in the late 1960s. It resumed its former title again in 1979. There are more than 20 traditional duck dishes in its menu. The four delicacies, which are wing and web, liver, heart and pancreas, are also included in them. During the ‘Oriental Duck Festival’ of Chowman, one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in Kolkata, foodies can enjoy tasty Beijing Duck to their heart’s content.
There are 3 steps in a proper way to eat Beijing Roast Duck. With the help of a pair of chopsticks, pick up a slice of duck and dip it into the soy paste. Take a thin pancake and lay the slice of duck on the top of it and add some bars of cucumber and shallot. Finally, with the pancake, wrap the stuff into a bundle. Put it in your mouth and enjoy the heavenly taste.