Pek­ing duck will give your ta­ble that wow fac­tor

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS - Babaoya, Jiangzhuang­nai, jiangzhuang­nai

The Christ­mas feast should fea­ture a cen­ter­piece dish that wows in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion and taste. While turkey and ham are the most tra­di­tional and pop­u­lar, it might be fun to try some­thing new for the big din­ner, and if you want to in­cor­po­rate some lo­cal, Chi­nese spe­cial­ties since we are in Shang­hai, here are some al­ter­na­tives to con­sider.

Pek­ing duck is an iconic dish that’s fit­ting for spe­cial oc­ca­sions and fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions.

Top restau­rants that serve Pek­ing duck as a sig­na­ture dish in­clude Dadong, the one Miche­lin-starred Pek­ing duck restau­rant (two branches in Shang­hai earned the star), Madam Zhu’s Kitchen and Xihe. They also do de­liv­ery via apps such as

Pek­ing duck is pre­sented as a set that in­cludes thin steamed pan­cakes, sim­ple sides and condi­ments. The best part is the crispy duck skin, which many peo­ple like to en­joy with a lit­tle bit of sugar as it can melt in the mouth.

The meaty parts of the duck are sliced and wrapped in the pan­cake with cu­cum­ber, leek and sweet fer­mented flour sauce, and the bones are boiled to make soup or con­gee, or deep-fried and sea­soned with pep­per­corn salt to make a fin­ger-lick­ingly de­li­cious dish.

or eight-trea­sure duck, is a Shang­hainese clas­sic that fills the whole duck with a glo­ri­ous stuff­ing of gluti­nous rice, Chi­nese ham, shrimp, dried scal­lop, bam­boo shoot, chest­nut, shi­take mush­room, chicken giz­zard, peas and more, which is then steamed un­til the meat eas­ily breaks away from the bones.

The sump­tu­ous juice of the duck sinks into the gluti­nous rice stuff­ing, while the com­bi­na­tion of meats and veg­eta­bles also gives the duck a unique fla­vor.

Sweet and sour man­darin fish is a clas­sic, fancy Chi­nese dish that’s of­ten served at ban­quets as the main cen­ter­piece. The fish with its blos­som­ing shape re­sult­ing from the checked cut of the flesh is fa­mous for its sweet and sour fla­vor as well as the spe­cial tex­ture of a crispy out­side and ten­der in­side.

There are also Chi­nese snacks and treats that can work re­ally well in Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions, such as the dif­fer­ent ways to en­joy gin­ger other than in good old gin­ger­bread or gin­ger­snaps.

a gin­ger milk curd that di­rectly trans­lates as gin­ger hits milk, is a very pop­u­lar Chi­nese dessert that orig­i­nated in Shunde, Guang­dong Prov­ince.

With some prac­tice, it’s easy to make gin­ger milk curd at home since only three in­gre­di­ents are needed — fresh gin­ger, milk and sugar. Tra­di­tion­ally the recipe uses buf­falo milk, but now cow’s milk is more com­mon.

The first step is to finely grate small pieces of gin­ger and squeeze out all the juice through a sieve and pour that into a bowl. Bring some milk to a boil and add sugar to taste, then take it off the heat so it can cool a lit­tle. The ideal tem­per­a­ture of the milk should be 70 de­grees Cel­sius.

Now, stir the gin­ger juice and pour the milk into the mid­dle. A cou­ple of min­utes later, milk curds will ap­pear and it’s now ready to serve. A suc­cess­ful bowl of should be able to hold a spoon on top.

Be­cause the cur­dling ef­fect is fun to watch, the dish is great to make with chil­dren.

Gin­ger candy made of gin­ger juice and brown sugar is a very pop­u­lar treat in south­ern China, not only be­cause of its sweet and spicy fla­vor, but also gin­ger’s warm prop­erty, which is very suited to places with a hu­mid cli­mate.

The gin­ger candy doesn’t have a fancy look but the taste is unique. Key in­gre­di­ents in­clude gin­ger, brown sugar and gluti­nous rice, and the tex­ture is achieved by pulling the candy con­stantly.

Candied gin­ger, on the other hand, is a treat that trans­forms gin­ger slices into a tasty snack. You can make your own at home by boil­ing gin­ger with lots of sugar. The younger gin­ger has milder taste while the older ones are spicier. A jar of home­made candied gin­ger is a good gift idea, too.

Brew­ing gin­ger with ju­jube, dried goji berries and brown sugar makes a sweet, win­tery drink that’s fit for any day. You can also use the com­bi­na­tion of pear and gin­ger to make a sweet soupy dessert.

Pek­ing duck is a cen­ter­piece dish for for­mal din­ners. — IC

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