This article was originally published on January 27, 2020 and was updated on May 30, 2022.
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. Man Wah
This stalwart at the Mandarin Oriental is so committed to the provenance of its ducks that it sources them straight from the Chinese capital. It is then roasted to a golden crisp, with succulent meat lying underneath. Deftly sliced and carved tableside and with a glossy, amber exterior, the skin of the duck is deliciously crispy—known in Cantonese vernacular as “golden coin.” Accompanied by gossamer-thin pancakes, the meat is moist and juicy without being overly fatty. Freshly steamed, handmade pancakes comes with refreshing condiments, including cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce.
The Peking duck is priced at HK$1,188 for a whole bird, or HK$688 for a half portion. Guests can complete the experience with a second course of their choice, with options including wok-fried minced duck with bamboo shoots and lettuce, braised duck meat with eggplant and salted fish in chilli broad bean sauce, or stir-fried duck meat with straw mushrooms and yellow chives in oyster sauce.