At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016


My parents and my brother almost certainly never enjoyed Cantonese Roast Duck, so I am more or less making up for their lost opportunities. Because Cantonese Roast Duck is a very great good. And Cantonese Roast Duck was yesterday's supper, consumed with extreme pleasure at tea-time in a place which has fowl and flesh hanging in the window.


Cantonese Roast Duck (燒鴨 'siu ngaap') is NOT difficult to make at home. Acquire the fresh duck two or three days beforehand. Trim it, rinse it. Heat up a solution as follows: Three cups water, six tablespoons soy sauce, four tablespoons of sugar, one or two thick slices of ginger, three or four whole star anise. When it boils, hold the duck over a broad basin and ladle the solution over it and also into the cavity, catching the liquid underneath. Reheat the solution to a boil, repeat. And do so again.
This will tighten the skin and let it crispen up when roasted.

Now shove a big bottle or funnel up the backside of the bird, and place it, sitting thereon and touching nothing else, in the refrigerator.
Let it dry for a day or so.

On dining day, take it out of the refrigerator and heat the oven up to four hundred and twenty five degrees Fahrenheit (220 Celsius).
Bung the bird in the oven, and roast for about an hour to an hour and a quarter, about twelve minutes per pound.

Rotate the bird a couple of times. For part of the time it is best to cover with kitchen foil to prevent excessive darkening.

Remove the bird from the oven, and let it stand for thirty minutes.
To serve, chop it into large chunks.

燒鴨飯 ('siu ngaap fan')

On the other hand, why go to any great effort, when a good Cantonese roast meats place will do it so much better? And, if you like to decide on lunch at the spur of the moment, and habitually eat by yourself due to a regrettable singularity, it is so much more convenient to visit Stockton Street or the corner of Powell and Broadway, with your only advance preparation being the choice of an appropriate briar and a pouch of tobacco for the long smoke afterwards.

Roast Duck Rice is a portion of chopped duck, a mound of cooked rice, and some blanched vegetables underneath the meat to soak up some of the wonderful juices.

The blanched vegetable underneath, this time, were broccoli florets.
I dislike broccoli, as I believe I may have mentioned.
I ate the vile weed anyway.

Next time, I may ask them for some honey mustard, to accompany the broccoli. Broccoli with duck juices is, admittedly, not bad, and infinitely better than Newman's least favourite vegetable normally tastes.
But it is, nevertheless, broccoli.

It was probably the very best roast duck I have ever had there.
Rich, juicy, bursting with savoriness, and utterly enjoyable.
I waddled out with a smile on my face.

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