Nanjing Salted Duck
2016-09-01 15:31:00

Nanjing Salted Duck

The appetizing salted duck is a popular dish in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province. [Photo provided to]

It may be less famous than Peking duck but when it comes to taste, Nanjing salted duck ino way inferiors in .

Known as Jinling in ancient China, the earliest records of the dish date back over a thousand years ago to the Six Dynasties (AD 222-589).

A keystone of Jinling cuisine - part of Jiangsu cuisine and one of the eight culinary styles of China - Nanjing salted duck was identified as China's geographical indication agro-product in 2012.

Set on the south bank of the Yangtze River, the city has a long history of raising ducks. Some historians believe that ducks were raised as livestock in the former capital as far back as two thousand years ago.

At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the dish became a firm fixture on the dinner table of many families and was also popular with Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. As one legend has it, the emperor issued a decree to kill all the roosters in the city, presumably to solve a noise problem. The lack of chickens to eat is thought to have given rise to the prominence of duck dishes in Nanjing.

Nanjing salted duck is braised using a moist-heat cooking technique to make the meat succulent and leave the skin taut. The duck is then pickled for a few hours and hung out to dry, before being simmered in a broth of ginger, onion and star anise. The result is a plain-looking dish packed with flavor.

Nanjing salted duck is most commonly eaten around the time of Mid-Autumn Festival in September. The dish also goes by the name Osmanthus Duck, due to the availability of sweet osmanthus, which is often added to the cooking broth.

Favored by a large popularity for hundreds of years, the dish was included in the Eight Most Popular Nanjing Dishes in 2014 in a campaign launched by a local newspaper Modern Express.

During Nanjing's Youth Olympic Games in 2014, salted duck was on the menu to give world athletes a taste of Jiangsu-style dishes. Editor:Nicky