Aqua Group’s regional Chinese restaurant adds a Sichuanese twist to the world’s most popular Chinese poultry dish

Peking duck is the quintessential Chinese show-stopper—the plump bird with glowing, lacquered skin, carved and presented within minutes and best enjoyed with steamed pancakes. There are a handful of great restaurants serving some of the best Peking duck in Hong Kong, notable ones including Sha Tin 18, Xin Rong Ji, and Duddell's. Some are more traditional while others innovate when it comes to the pancakes, condiments or fillings. Few modify the way the bird itself is cooked, however, until now—as Aqua Group’s Hutong launches a different kind of Peking duck this November.

Peking duck, like char siu and sweet and sour pork, is one of the most popular and most recognised Chinese dishes. The theatrical carving of the duck takes years of training to perfect, including the handling and exact curving of the blade while cutting, and the precision required in order to slice quickly so as to keep the skin crisp and ready to be served right away. The pancakes should be thin, tender, and with a bit of elasticity to it. Traditionally Peking duck is served with batons of fresh cucumber and scallions, and sweet fermented flour sauce, though many restaurants now incorporate fresh fruit such as melons and condiments such as sweet plum sauce for a contemporary touch to the dish.

See Also: Where To Find The Best Peking Duck In Hong Kong, 2020 Edition

Hutong’s new flaming Peking duck is a twist in itself. The bird is marinated with Sichuan-style seasoning which includes Sichuanese green chillies, star anise, ground black pepper, and the restaurant’s homemade chilli paste. The duck is air-dried for 36 hours and roasted in the oven for 40 minutes, after which the bird is presented table-side, with a flambé finish using with a combination of Chinese rose wine and rum. The bird is quickly carved as the heat evaporates the alcohol, enhancing the crispness of the skin with a lingering floral sweetness from the rose wine and rum. The new flaming Peking duck is served with the usual condiments and trimmings, together with fruit toppings such as shredded papaya, cantaloupe and honey mustard sauce. The new flaming Peking duck is only available during dinner service and is priced at HK$418 for half a bird and HK$818 for a whole one.

With the launch of Hutong’s new Peking duck dish, the restaurant’s Moon Gate Bar offers two new duck-inspired cocktails to match with the poultry offering. The Peking Treasure blends duck fat-washed Hennessy V.S.O.P. with Angostura bitters, homemade five-spice syrup and a pinch of cinnamon and is served with a plate of osmanthus-glazed duck flakes with chilli sauce, and sesame seeds. The Golden Orchard has more Western influence, where Somersby apple cider, Tio Pepe sherry, and St. Germain elderflower liqueur is topped up with Veuve Clicquot champagne.

There are dishes we have not seen evolve very much as guests tend to enjoy them just as they have always been served. Peking duck is such a quintessential dish with huge cultural significance that we have not seen many major shifts in tradition. We know that it takes much more than a good bird and theatrical carving to make a great Peking duck—consistency is important as well. We have high hopes that the modifications will fit the bill when it comes to making a better bird. 




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