Ringing in the Year of the Dog with Hakkasan New York's Peking Duck
Peking duck can be found on menus throughout New York City, especially in January and February around the Chinese New Year—celebrated February 16 – March 2, 2018. The official dish of China’s capital (and so also known as Beijing duck), it’s served to symbolize the happiness you’ll hopefully enjoy in the coming year.
Such duck-induced happiness can be enjoyed year-round at Hakkasan New York, where chef Ho Chee Boon’s Peking version is always on the menu. We jumped at the chance to hear his secrets behind his rave-worthy delicacy:
(The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity)
The Daily Meal: What’s your sourcing process for the ducks?
Chef Ho Chee Boon: We use Jurgielewicz white Peking ducks from Berks County, Pennsylvania. Jurgielewicz ducks have the perfect meat-to-fat ratio for Asian- and Peking-style cooking. This results in very crispy skin and tasty meat that’s not dry. Also, Joe Jurgielewicz & Son Ltd. is a family-run business and the only veterinarian-run duck farm in North America. They are a sustainable and vertically run farm; they control every aspect of the duck from hatching, raising, processing, and distribution—a true farm-to-fork operation. They raise the ducks on an all-natural corn and soybean diet and without antibiotics to specific ages depending on seasonality and the size needed for us.
How do you prepare the duck—what are your tricks to making the skin so famously crispy?
First we marinate it in different spices—Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce, spring onion, salt—then let the ducks sit in the duck dryer cabinet to cool overnight. Other Chinese restaurants might use fans to dry duck skin, but we like to let them go at their own pace. We also slather vinegar and some cooking wine and honey on the duck skin before the overnight in the dryer cabinet to help it bake to be very crispy while keeping the duck meat juicy.
Can you describe the special way you serve this traditional dish?
The meat is thinly sliced and plated on top of 16 small, square pieces of steamed homemade Chinese bun. Then on top we add the onion and cucumber, and finally a small scoop of caviar. Caviar is usually eaten on crackers, and our duck skin with juicy meat is crispy and substantial enough to substitute for a cracker and it also brings a fresh ocean flavor to our version of the dish.