Did you know?
Beijing roast duck (also known as Peking duck) has been eaten since Imperial times, its first mention dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368) when it appeared in a text written by an inspector of the Imperial kitchen.
It was my 20th birthday, instead of a birthday cake that year, my friends gave me a roast duck cake. They even went so far as to put the roast duck in a cake box. In all honesty though, I didn’t know I was going to get roast duck until I opened it. It was a quarter of a roast duck, and there were candles placed in between the sliced pieces of duck. Two large candles for “20”.
There’s another picture of me, from the same birthday “party”, holding a piece of the roast duck. I’ve got a little bit of fear in my eyes, and I’m holding the duck with just two fingers on each hand, to minimise physical contact. I don’t remember precisely, but I may have nibbled on the piece a little.
Roast duck was the unexpected theme of my 20th birthday because apparently, my name – Amelia (Ā méi lí yà) – when you sound it out in Chinese, translates (very) loosely to “beautiful duck”. Well, that’s what my Chinese friends told me to explain the presence of the roast duck. Unfortunately, what my dear friends were unaware of was that…
…I don’t eat duck. In fact, I may even have detested it a little then because it tasted too game-y for me.
In the end though, after all the roast duck was out of the way, that birthday was one of my more memorable ones. We (there were at least 10 people) started off the night having dinner at our local mamak stall, which led to loud and raucous birthday song singing at the nearby park. The night ended with a not traditional, traditional birthday food fight which saw us (me) running around the park trying to get away from friends trying to pelt me with food e.g. tomato ketchup, soy sauce, chilli sauce intended for the roast duck, flour and of course, eggs. It was the messiest and most fun birthday I’ve ever had.
I didn’t eat duck then, but I’m more adventurous and have the occasional pan-fried duck breast now. Just no roast duck cake, please.
Anyone else not a fan of duck? Or is it just me?