- Wuhan duck
Wuhan duck refers to several dishes from the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province, China. The dishes are specific parts of a duck, including the tongue, head, feet, liver, kidney, and most popularly, the neck, often referred to as "spicy duck neck". Common to all of these dishes is the colour, a deep reddish-brown, and the extremely spicy flavour. These items are sold in numerous provinces throughout China.
otally different from Peking duck, Wuhan duck is known for its peppery and spicy flavor. At first, it was only a street food sold on Jingwu Road and Hanzheng Road, which make up the well-known night food market in Wuhan.
Triggered by the release of movie and TV drama Life Show in 2002, based on the novel written by Wuhan-born author Chi Li, Wuhan duck quickly spread to Nangjing and Shanghai in 2003, then this year moved on to Beijing, Qingdao, Changchun, Harbin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
On Gui Jie, the best-known spicy-food street in Beijing, there are more than 30 shops. "Apart from the first two stores that opened in 2002, the rest were established within the past half-year," says Wei Dong, manager of the Da Tanggong store.
Using name of the lead character in the novel/movie/TV show, Lai Shuangyang Food Company promptly got media exposure as well as customers, who were intrigued by the name. The taste must have been just as fascinating, attracting many people after-hours to line up for its grub.
"It is handy to eat while on the run. I like the burning spicy duck neck, which refreshes me. I enjoy the lingering taste," says Feng Lu, a young girl waiting in the queue.
Da Tanggong is next to Lai Shuangyang. Its clean and bright restaurant, rare for duck stores in Gui Jie, is eye-catching filled with customers even on weeknights. Many foreigners love to go there, as Wei Dong, the manager, a jovial man in his late 30s, speaks fluent English.
Shuang Jiutang is a newly emerged chain of Wuhan duck shops. The owner, Sun Liang, a Shaanxi man in his early 30s, opened a branch in the dense residential area near Tuanjiehu. "Duck neck is a good food to go with beer. The more you chew its bones, the more taste you will savor," says Bai Yutang, a frequent customer.
"In recent years, the most popular red dishes have been spicy crayfish (mala xiaolongxia), fragrant spicy crabs (xiangla xie) and spicy fish in soup (shuizhu yu). Now it's Wuhan duck neck's turn," predicts Sun.
Chef Lu Yousheng of Jing Jiutang explains the different Wuhan duck items available for consumption:
Duck neck: Known as "living meat," it is said to be the most delicious part of a duck. The meat is tightly attached to the bone, making it difficult to gnaw - which maybe is its greatest pleasure, besides the burning and spicy flavors.
Duck foot: Some find the soft and delicate skin of the duck foot appetizing, and the bone is crispy.
Duck head: Few people can enjoy its true taste. The duck head has five different areas of flavor, which require a diner to explore it with patience.
Duck wing: This is the first choice for those who like eating duck; it's meatier than the neck or other parts.
Duck gizzard: Cooked with mild peppery and spicy flavors, the fragrance from the broth adds to its lingering taste.
Duck intestine: With Jing Jiutang's unique cooking method, it is fresh and crisp without any odd smells.
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