Peking duck, the legacy of Imperial China

Peking roast duck is an ancient dish dating back to Mongolian invaders.  Although those raiders may have invented the dish while they roamed across China, the imperial kitchens of the Ming Dynasty refined it during the 1600s into the type of dish served in restaurants today.

The Huffington Post ranked Peking duck as one of “10 Foods Around The World To Try Before You Die”.  As I won’t be making a pilgrimage to Beijing any time soon, I figured the next best thing is a Food Explorers Expedition to a Chinese restaurant that serves this imperial favourite.

The Peking duck served at Yangtse in Mannheim is roasted using the hung oven method developed by “Quánjùdé” (全聚德), a restaurant founded in 1864 during the Qing Dynasty.

Our Peking Duck experience began with a bowl of flavour-packed “Duck Bone Broth”, served hot. Up next was “Peking Salad” – a celeriac salad tossed with slices of duck meat, in a slightly spicy dressing.

Some “Duck Bone Broth” and “Peking Salad” to whet our appetite

When the ducks were ready, they were wheeled out into the dining room on a large platter by a knife-wielding chef.  The chef then proceeded to carve the whole duck in front of us.  We had to watch closely as the skilled carving took only minutes.  The crispy skin tasted divine on its own, and the corresponding juicy slivers of breast meat were served with steamed pancakes, sweet hoisin sauce, julienned spring onions and cucumber batons so that we could create our own “Peking Duck Pancakes” (tip: use hands to roll them!).

The carving of the Peking Duck and the making of Peking Duck Pancakes

The rest of the duck was served as a stir-fry with vegetables, and also used in the accompanying fried rice.  We concluded our meal according to Chinese tradition – by having some seasonal fresh fruits.

Making a stir-fry dish out of the remainder of the Peking Duck, served with fried rice

The atmosphere in Yangtse is typical of a mid-range Chinese restaurant – it is not a quiet place.  Probably not the best place for a romantic date, as the Chinese like a noisy and upbeat atmosphere when having a gathering and meals are no exception.  There are private rooms available at the restaurant in case you prefer somewhere a little quiet to enjoy your meal.   We booked one of the private rooms for our Expedition.

Restaurant Yangtse, Steubenstraße 46, 68163 Mannheim


Looking for more ideas on where to dine in the Rhein-Neckar region?

Check out other reviews of places where Food Explorers have eaten.

Members can access our Directory of Restaurant Picks for tried-and-tested places to eat.  This directory is compiled by members for members – we do not receive any payment for the listings.

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