The secret of Peking duck by London's most famous Chinese chef? The fan

Nov 13 2023, 11:25
The perfect Peking duck depends on the glaze and an unexpected tool. The secret of Andrew Wong

Peking Duck: the most iconic dish in Chinese cuisine, according to Andrew Wong, a star chef based in London, with two Michelin stars at the restaurant that once belonged to his parents. Once a typical Cantonese restaurant like many in the West, with domesticated recipes and little depth, today it stands as one of the temples of Chinese cuisine in a city that, more than others, offers a rich international restaurant scene.

Wong's story is typical of a boy raised in the family business from which he wants to distance himself; his emancipation comes through studies in social anthropology at the London School of Economics. The sudden death of his father calls him back to the family business, and his studies open his eyes to the path he is destined to take.

He learned the fundamentals of cooking at Westminster Kingsway College, but it's a six-month journey to China that allowed him to discover the richness and variety of local and regional cuisine, along with values, traditions, techniques, and secrets of that culture, both gastronomic and beyond.

Upon returning home, everything changed: in 2012, he opened A.Wong, a name paying homage to his father Albert and mother Annie. New spaces, new design, but above all, a new cuisine and service that earned him Two Stars in 2017 and 2021 (the first Chinese restaurant in the UK and outside of Asia to achieve this).

What you can eat at A.Wong

From classic dim sum – to which he restores the original meaning: dim/touch sum/heart, shedding light on the historical and technical value that compares to European dough, made of starch, gluten, and flour – to the famous hand-pulled noodles. Then there's the Peking duck, the most famous dish in Chinese cuisine, which Wong no longer presents as a standalone dish but reinvents in his “Memories of Peking duck,” in the form of dim sum.

A complex and lengthy preparation, which requires the skin to be tightly stretched and separated from the meat. In the past, this step was done manually by hanging the duck and blowing air so that the skin would puff up; afterward, boiling water was poured to prepare the skin.

As challenging as it may be to find a similar process in this part of the world, you can try it at home or seek the cooperation of your trusted butcher. After all, it's not this step that is the most crucial, but rather the glazing. It's what makes the skin crispy, almost glass-like. How to achieve it? Andrew Wong explained it from the stage at Gastromasa in Istanbul.

The secrets of the perfect Peking duck

First layer


  • 1,880 kg white rice vinegar
  • 2 kg. water
  • 750 g red rice vinegar
  • 380 g Chinese rice wine
  • 1,150 kg maltose (it has a much higher melting point than regular sugar, doesn't burn, and doesn't turn black)
  • 19 g red rock sugar

Brush the duck well with this glaze and then hang it for about six or seven hours in front of a running fan that will dry the skin, making it like paper.

Second layer (optional)


  • 2,650 kg water
  • 120 g high-gluten flour
  • 100 g cornflour
  • 15 g baking soda
  • 30 g glutinous rice flour
  • 5 egg whites

Mix all ingredients in a bowl except for the egg whites, melt in a double boiler until it has the consistency of English custard. When the mixture has thickened, add the egg whites and then brush the duck or dip it directly.

Hang the duck again to dry in front of the fan for at least six or seven hours (depending on the room's humidity, it may need to be left for more than a day).

Bake in the oven, starting at about 120 degrees, dry it a bit more, and then raise the temperature.

If the procedure has been executed correctly, when you cut the skin, you should see a slight crack, like a honeycomb, where the skin is puffed up.


A.Wong | London | 70 Wilton Road |

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