Peking Duck is a traditional Chinese dish with tender meat and crispy skin. Here are 20 of the best side dishes to serve with Peking Duck and make it a restaurant-worthy feast!
Peking Duck is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and for obvious reasons. Not only does the tender meat have a decadent flavor but the dish’s signature perfect, crispy skin takes great skill and a long time to achieve. It’s not a meal that most Chinese people make at home.
Many Chinese food restaurants in America that serve this dish require reservations as only so many ducks can be cooked in a day. That means it’s a wonderful challenge to try to replicate your own at home! The good news is you can enjoy the amazing flavor of authentic Peking Duck from home and the cooking process is not as hard as it seems.
Peking Duck is the perfect main dish for a Chinese feast, and what really makes it special are the Peking Duck side dishes. Keep reading to see my perfect side dish suggestions to go with this culinary masterpiece.
How is Peking Duck Made?
After the insides of the duck are cleaned out, the skin is separated from the meat with a pump of air.
The whole duck is dipped in boiling water to shrink the skin and the marinade is slowly applied with a pastry brush. The duck is then dried out for hours or even overnight.
The next day, the duck is hung to roast in a woodfire oven, allowing the fat to drip off and the marinade to sink into the tender meat. It’s a popular dish for a special occasion like Chinese New Year celebrations.
What are Traditional Peking Duck Side Dishes?
Traditional Peking Duck is served with thin pancakes (Chun Bing) also called Mandarin Pancakes, sweet bean sauce (Tian Mian Jiang) or hoisin sauce, julienned cucumber and scallions.
If you were to order a Peking Duck meal at a restaurant, it would likely come with each of these items.
The best way to eat it is to place the pancake in the center of your plate. Spread the middle with the sweet bean sauce. Add the delicious duck on top of the sauce and then add a few cucumbers and scallions on top of the duck. Roll the bottom of the pancake up over the duck and then roll it like a small burrito. Pick it up with your chopsticks and enjoy.
You might assume duck meat would taste similar to chicken or turkey, but the delicious taste is actually more like steak or red meat. Classic Peking Duck is cooked medium-rare in a way that retains moisture and flavor, and the crisp skin with plum duck sauce provides the perfect balance of sweetness and crunch to each bite.
When served traditionally with Mandarin pancakes, bean sauce, cucumbers and green onions, it’s a perfect mix of savory flavor with refreshing vegetables.
Peking Duck is usually made with a white duck called a Pekin Duck or Long Island Duck. This descendant of the Mallard is the most popular breed raised in America for meat. If you’re buying duck in your local grocery store and are worried about the kind of duck, it is most likely a Pekin duck.
Though you might assume the name of the dish Peking Duck came from Pekin Duck, that is purely coincidence. The dish was actually named after China’s capital town, Beijing, formerly known as Peking.
Chicken is a staple in most American households, but duck is actually lower in cholesterol and sodium and may be higher in some vitamins.
Whether or not duck is truly healthier than chicken will depend on how it is prepared. The skin of the duck is much thicker and fattier than chicken skin, which is part of what makes Peking Duck such a delicacy.
Duck meat has a dark pink color and is often cooked medium-rare like red meat. To be safe for consumption, duck must reach an internal temperature of 165 degree fahrenheit. If you’re making this dish at home I recommend using a meat thermometer.
Duck fat is used to add extra flavor to a variety of recipes. After roasting your duck, you can save the leftover liquid in the pan and refrigerate it to separate the fat from the liquid. The leftover white fat at the top can be used to make potatoes or any kind of fried vegetables.
It’s common once you have eaten your Peking Duck to save the remaining bones and create a soup with it the next day. Many restaurants expect guests to ask for the bones.
Boil the bones (and any meat left on them) with some water or chicken stock, ginger, and onions for one to two hours. Pour the stock into a separate pot, straining out any bones or chunks, add some Napa cabbage and cook until the cabbage is limp.
Some recipes call for adding a splash of milk along with some salt and pepper.
Favorite Peking Duck Recipes
- My Peking Duck recipe turned out much better than I imagined and was surprisingly easy to put together.
- If you want to try a spicy rendition of this dish try this recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary.
- If you’re still intimidated by the thought of roasting an entire duck, try this recipe for duck breast in the air fryer from The Top Meal
- This Peking Chicken from Simply Stacie is super easy to put together in the crock pot and while it’s not duck, it has great flavor!
- Restaurant-quality Peking Duck is cooked hanging in an oven, but most kitchen ovens are not big enough to hang a duck inside. Instead, you can place your duck on a rack or place it inside a roasting pan to allow the heat to travel all around it. Rotate it every 30 minutes during the cooking process to ensure an even cook.
- Separating the duck skin from the meat gives the fat somewhere to drain to and allows you to achieve the crispy skin this dish is known for. Don’t be intimidated by this step! You can use your hand to gently pull the skin away or slide the end of a bike pump into a cavity and pump some air through the skin.
- Once the fat is cooked away, your duck will be much smaller than it starts out. Take this into consideration when you’re purchasing your duck.
- Making a few pricks in your duck will give the fat a path to run out. You want as much fat as possible to drip out of the duck while cooking.
What to Serve with Peking Duck
Vegetables: bean sprouts, julienned cantaloupe, garlic, pickled radish
Wraps: Lotus leaf buns (mantou), spring roll
Fruits: cherries, apricots, apples, oranges
Sides: white rice, green beans, garlic tofu, stir-fried noodles, mashed potatoes, cucumber salad, green salad, stir-fry vegetables, glazed carrots, roasted brussels sprouts, arugula salad, french fries, sweet potato mash, potato wedges, au gratin potatoes
Recipes to Serve with Peking Duck
Thin, soft and pliable, Peking duck pancakes (from Red House Spice) can be easily made from scratch. They’re perfect wraps for any fillings of your choice.
Tian Mian Jiang
Sweet bean sauce (tián miàn jiàng, 甜面酱) (from The Woks of Life) is a thick, dark brown condiment and seasoning made from wheat flour, sugar, salt, and sometimes fermented soybeans. As the name suggests, the sauce is sweet, though it’s also salty and adds umami to dishes.
Cucumber and Scallion Salad
This delicate cucumber scallion salad (from Foodie with Family) is about as simple as it gets; julienned seedless cucumbers and scallions are tossed with a simple dressing of rice vinegar, oil, and sesame seeds. It pairs beautifully with fish and delicate proteins.
How to make Korean style radish pickles (from My Korean Kitchen) using pink radish. It’s simple, easy and moreish!
Lotus Leaf Buns
Okay by now, maybe you’re tired of me talking about steamed buns. Buns, buns, buns. But before you avert your eyes, I will say that I’ve used the dough recipe for these Steamed Lotus Leaf Buns (from The Woks of Life) so many times that I just know it works. These homemade steamed buns are super fluffy and slightly chewy—just the way they should be—and they’re meant to be filled!
Mung bean sprouts (from The Spruce Eats) are one of the most popular vegetables in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. These crunchy vegetables are simply the sprout of mung beans, a legume that’s widely used in both savory and sweet preparations. As a stir-fry ingredient, they are very versatile and can be combined with other vegetables and all sorts of proteins, from beef to tofu, shrimp, or chicken. These plump, silver-white strands are also visually appealing, and their crunch is irresistible.
Chinese Spring Rolls
Traditional Chinese Spring Rolls (from China Sichuan Food) with shredded pork and vegetables, named as “three shreds spring rolls – 三丝春卷”.
How To Cook Long Grain White Rice in the Instant Pot
How to Make Brown Rice in the Instant Pot
Crispy Soy Garlic Tofu (from Christie At Home). Crispy tofu pan fried in a garlicky, savoury umami based sauce. This tofu dish is so good it may convert the people in your life to enjoy it!
Korean Cucumber Salad
These Asian-Style Honey Glazed Carrots (from The Busy Baker) are the perfect sweet and savoury side dish pan fried to perfection with a sticky honey soy glaze, garlic and ginger.
Cold Cucumber Salad
This easy cold cucumber salad recipe (from Greedy Girl Gourmet) is spicy & delicious but only requires 4-ingredients and 10 minutes to make. A perfect summer recipe, it’s not only super refreshing, you don’t have to slave in a hot kitchen to make it!
Vietnamese Garlic Noodles
Vietnamese Garlic Noodles (from Balance with Jess), or Mì Xào Tỏi, are the ultimate side dish! Plump chewy noodles are coated in a buttery, garlicky, umami-rich sauce that enhances any dish it’s paired with. It’s a crowd favorite for a reason!
Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice
Chinese Style Green Beans
These Chinese style, dry fried garlic green beans (from Drive Me Hungry) are blistered until perfectly wrinkled & sautéed with lots of garlic. Inspired by Din Tai Fung green beans. The perfect Asian side dish!
Spicy Szechuan Noodles
These spicy Szechuan noodles with garlic chili oil (from Drive Me Hungry) are ready in only 10 minutes! Wide noodles are tossed in a spicy, garlicky Szechuan chili oil sauce made with garlic, Szechuan chili peppers, soy sauce, and fresh herbs.
Garlic Bok Choy
Crisp, fresh, and bursting with loads of unexpected flavor, this Garlic Bok Choy Recipe (from The Forked Spoon) is guaranteed to be your new favorite side dish. Ready in just 10 minutes, enjoy this easy vegetarian side dish with chicken, beef, or fish.
Instant Pot Ramen
This recipe for Instant Pot Ramen (from Recipes From A Pantry) is super easy, healthy, and full of great umami flavor! With just a few simple ingredients, you can enjoy delicious Ramen noodles whenever the craving strikes.
Raw Courgette Ribbon Salad
Two green vegetables, plus one fresh herb, plus unconventional Earl Grey tea salad dressing, equals what? Our Raw Courgette Ribbon Salad (from Somebody Feed Seb) is both delicious and nutritious! Highly versatile, this 10-minute salad can be served as a side dish at your next BBQ party or make a perfect companion to your fish dishes!