The History of the Beijing Duck

The Beijing duck, a staple of Chinese iconography and a worldwide player and cultural cuisine, has a long a complicated history which stretches back to as early as the Yuan Dynasty (120-1368). This article will take a walk through the famous dish, its history and impact on the world.


The Beijing Duck began as an imperial dish of high standing. It was reserved for the upper classes and remained one of the most famous dishes on court menus. As the dish was passed down through generations, the method of cooking and preserving the good remained intact, where the duck would be hung from a hook in the ceiling of the oven and roasted burning wood. However eventually, the method changed, using searing heat to give the duck a crispy and glazed finish. The dish remained a delicacy of those of high status in society during the Qinlong period, and was passed down to modem day where many of the lower classes gained access to the delicious dish.

How it is eaten

The meals generally start with fresh seasonal fruit, followed by chosen started and side dishes. The duck will then be carted out by a chef who will prepare it in front of you. After already having waited for so long, this experience leaves a mouth-watering suspense as the meat is carved and presented for your meal. As the breast, back and wings are skilfully carved and decorated on the plate, finally, the meat is eaten with the traditional pancakes and other dainty delicacies.


The Beijing duck is celebrated all around the world, and in Beijing itself many restaurants have been named after the famous restaurant which pioneered the dish back in the Jiajing regn (1522 – 1566). The Old Bianyifant Restaurant went on to inspire at least nine roast duck restaurants to carry the name in the early 1900s, and its influence continues to grow to this day.
Overall, the dish offers a staple introduction into Beijing and a worldwide representation of Chinese cuisine at its best. As China grows and changes, the dish remains as succulent and delicious as ever.