Where To Find The Best Peking Duck In Hong Kong: 2020 Edition
Once prepared in the royal kitchen and served only to the emperor, Peking duck is no longer an exclusive dish for nobles in China—though it is still a much sought-after delicacy for celebratory occasions. Every restaurant has its own way of preparing Peking duck, but it is almost guaranteed that it is served with extra theatrics. You know you’re in for a performance as the waiter brings out the glossy bird in a trolley next to your table and expertly slices it into pieces with just the right amount of thickness. In that spirit, we give you our top picks of restaurants—from old-timers to new favourites—that serve up the best Peking duck in town (don't forget to order at least 24 hours in advance).
1/6 Yan Toh Heen
Yan Toh Heen is often considered an all-rounder among high-end Chinese restaurants. But if you ask their regulars which dish the restaurant does best, many would tell you it’s their Peking duck.
Using a traditional roasting method, the duck skin is paper thin and crispy, while the meat remains succulent and savoury. Executive chef Lau suggests that the duck is best enjoyed in two courses.
First, the crispy skin is served with thin pancakes and a selection of six condiments (spring onion, pomelo, cucumber, red pepper, pineapple and green papaya) and three sauces (osmanthus plum sauce, traditional tianmian sweet sauce and black garlic gochujang). The second course is minced duck—wok fried tableside—served in lettuce wraps. It’s a common way to serve the duck meat, but Yan Toh Heen elevates the dish by serving it with crushed cashew nuts and fried vermicelli to add extra crunchiness.
2/6 Mott 32
Peking duck is considered a must-order item at Mott 32—for good reason. The ducks are sourced directly from Beijing, 42 days old and weigh roughly 2kg each to maintain high standards. What sets their ducks apart is the roasting process using applewood chips in a brick oven to create smoky, crispy skin and juicy meat.
The duck is served with homemade condiments and sauces, including finely sliced cucumber, scallions, raw cane sugar, freshly grated garlic sauce and hoisin peanut sauce. Guests are free to mix and match to create their favourite combinations. The steamed pancakes, also imported from Beijing, are softer and have higher elasticity than the average pancakes, which means they are less likely to break when wrapping the ingredients.
It’s no surprise that Peking duck takes centre stage at Duddell’s. The meticulous preparation of the duck, which includes 12 hours of air-dry before roasting it in the Chinese barbecue oven for 45 to 50 minutes below 220 degrees, is the key to give the skin a beautifully crisp layer while retaining moisture in the meat.
A total of 60 pieces of the duck skin are carved, in front of the guests, from the duck’s breast, back, sides and legs. As condiments, small plates of cucumber, scallion, chilli are served alongside handmade steamed pancakes and a “secret duck sauce”. The pancakes, which are relatively thicker than traditional ones, are pan-fried before being placed in a bamboo basket.
4/6 Sha Tin 18
Peking duck at Sha Tin 18 is masterfully prepared for optimal execution, which includes five ways to enjoy the duck. First, Peking duck—which takes 70 minutes to roast—is carved tableside to present the skin, duck breast meat and duck leg meat.
It is recommended that the traditional way to enjoy the crispy skin is to dip it in white sugar. Then, the duck breast meat should be placed on the steamed pancake, together with cucumber, leeks and traditional tianmian sweet sauce. The duck leg meat which comes with a thin layer of skin can be paired with the same condiments and sauce, with a touch of garlic paste.
For a full experience, guests can opt for two more courses made from the duck: duck meat wok-fried with bean sprouts wrapped in lettuce leaves; and duck soup cooked with beancurd and cabbage, which is comforting and extracts every last bit of flavour from the duck.
See also: 11 Best High-End Chinese Restaurants In Hong Kong
5/6 Xin Rong Ji
Xin Rong Ji may be known for its Taizhou cuisine, but their Peking duck—sourced from a private farm in Taizhou—is a firm favourite among discerning diners. Served straight from the oven, Peking duck here is carefully carved tableside, separating extra crisp skin from the tender duck meat.
The condiments and steamed pancakes are served to guests with individual portions, rather than sharing plates, so everyone at the table can enjoy the dish at their own speed. The dish is so popular that it determines the dinner seatings, so guests looking to order the bird should make a reservation a few days in advance to avoid disappointment.
6/6 Spring Deer
After decades in operation, Spring Deer remains one of the most well-known restaurant addresses for Peking duck in town. The decor is on the non-descript side, but what’s more important is the food, especially its house specialty—Peking duck.
Roasted to perfection and swiftly sliced tableside, the duck is exactly how it should be: thin and golden crisp skin with tender meat in one piece. It is served with steamed pancakes alongside traditional condiments such as scallion, cucumber, and sweet bean sauce.
Spring Deer, 1/F, 42 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2366-4012
See also: The Best Dim Sum In Hong Kong: 2020 Edition