National Peking Duck Day
National Peking Duck Day is a holiday observed on January 18th annually, honoring the dish that hails from Beijing and has been prepared in China since the Imperial Era. For those unfamiliar with this dish, Peking Duck is a whole duck that has been slaughtered after 65 days and is seasoned with a particular blend of spices before being roasted in either a hung oven or a closed one.
The History of Peking Duck
Roasted duck can be traced back to China during the Southern and Northern Dynasties, a period of Chinese history that lasted from 420 to 589. Therefore, roasted duck has been made for at least the past 1,600+ years, if not longer, in China. During the Yuan Dynasty, a particular type of roasted duck was prepared for the Emperor in China and was named “Shao Yazi” during the 14th century. Although this wasn’t technically Peking Duck, it was closer to modern versions than it had previously been. It wouldn’t be until the Ming Dynasty, during the 14th through 17th centuries, that Peking Duck began to take shape. By the middle of the 19th century, the recipe for this dish would be fully fleshed out by Imperial chefs.
Interesting Facts About Ducks
Since there would be no Peking Duck without ducks, we thought we’d take the time to research some interesting facts about these not-so-foul fowls. So, if you want to learn more about these birds, then check out the following facts. On the other hand, if you would rather not know more about something that you’re going to eat, then feel free to skip ahead to the next section.
- All ducks are part of the bird family Anatidae, which includes geese and swans as well.
- There are approximately 175 birds in the Anatidae family, but not all of them are ducks.
- Ducks can be found on every continent except for Antarctica.
- Mallards are a duck species found all over the world.
- An adult female duck is a hen, and an adult male duck is a drake.
- A baby duck is called a duckling.
- Ducks’ feathers stay dry thanks to an intricate feather structure and a wax coating produced by the duck’s uropygial gland.
- Ducks are precocial, meaning they are covered with down and can leave the nest within a few hours.
- A female duck will lead her ducklings up to over a half-mile to find a suitable source of water for feeding or swimming.
- Most duck species are monogamous for a breeding season; however, ducks do not mate for life.
- Female ducks will line their nests with reeds, leaves, mud, grass, twigs, and even feathers from their own breast.
- There are over 40 different breeds of domestic ducks.
Observing National Peking Duck Day
National Peking Duck Day can be celebrated by simply going out and having Peking Duck for dinner, or if you’re adventurous, making your own at home. There are numerous recipes online for this dish, so just about anyone should be able to make it. While observing this food holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #NationalPekingDuckDay on your social media accounts to encourage everyone to observe this tasty holiday.