Not to be confused with Peking or Cantonese roast duck, Pipa duck is visibly flatter than the aforementioned kinds of poultry

Even seasoned epicures sometimes confuse Peking-style duck for Cantonese roast duck and vice versa. What happens then, when Pipa duck is added to the equation? To cut down on any confusion, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is the duck served with steamed soft pancakes, spring onions and a sweet bean sauce?
    If yes, then it's Peking duck.
  2. Is the duck stuffed and seasoned with ingredients such as five spice powder, star anise, sherry and hoisin sauce?
    If yes, then it's Cantonese roast duck.
  3. Is the duck rotund or strangely flat of form?
    If the duck seems flatter than usual, chances are you're eating Pipa duck.

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Not unlike the plural noun 'drumsticks', which is associated with both poultry and percussions, Pipa is an instrument as well as a style of food preparation. In fact, Pipa duck was named for its resemblance to the Chinese string instrument.

Arguably crispier than Peking duck, Pipa duck is splayed open before being roasted; increasing the bird's surface area produces an extra crunchy exterior. 

Where to try

Since experience is the best teacher, sample the famed Pipa duck in person. Only a handful of Chinese restaurants serve the specialised duck dish in Hong Kong; foremost is Yixin Restaurant in Wan Chai, an institution which is synonymous with this siu mei dish of yesteryear. Another place that makes a recommended rendition of the Pipa duck is Tao Li in Tsim Sha Tsui, which selects meatier rice-fed ducks for roasting.

The Pipa Duck is available as a half-portion from Yixin Restaurant for HK$230; and at Tao Li for HK$238.

Yixin Restaurant, G/F, 50 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2834 9963

Tao Li, 2/F, New World Millennium Hotel, 72 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong; +852 2313 4222

See also: Top 10 Local Chicken Dishes In Hong Kong

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