THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT DUCKS that justifies their high ranking in the poultry pecking order. Bluebloods seemed to think so too. We’re told that these full-bodied, firm-fleshed birds waddled into the hearts and onto the dinner platters of many an Imperial member of China’s illustrious Yuan Dynasty. By the time of the Ming Dynasty, ducks were enjoying a new stage of refinement. Ming cooks worked to perfect the art of roasting their carefully-reared, feathered charges. Duck dishes also came home to roost on the common man’s feast plate. Which all means – China has a long, thriving tradition of valorising ducks for the palate and any of you who had the pleasure of visiting the country couldn’t have passed up the chance to order the most famous Chinese duck dish of them all – the plucky Peking Duck.
Plucky indeed – for it was rumoured to have famously broken an impasse in high-stakes talks between a Chinese Premier and a US Secretary of State, back in the 1970s. Having indulged in the good bird’s righteous textures and flavours, I wouldn’t discount the truth of the story. But why take my word for it and why just stop at the Peking Duck? Here’s a chance like no other to enjoy the classic and inventive duck delights of many Chinese regions – brought to you by Chef Zia only at Mumbai ITC Grand Central’s Shanghai Club. The Duck Delight festival will be running all the way from April 4th to April 13th.
Being a duck lover, I’ll probably end up tasting everything – from starters like Kaoya Chunjuan (roasted duck spring roll) and Meizijiang Chao Yasi (crispy duck served with chilli plum sauce) to Kaoya Tang (roasted duck soup) and gorge on main dishes like Hunan Shao Ya Rouy (stewed duck with Hunan sauce) and Jiang Shao Ya (Szechwan-style braised duck).