January 18th

National Peking Duck Day -

Updated on by

Every year on January 18th, lovers of Chinese cuisine rejoice as we celebrate National Peking Duck Day. This day is dedicated to honoring the delicious and iconic dish, renowned for its delicate balance of crispy skin and succulent meat, traditionally enveloped in a thin pancake with sweet bean sauce and spring onions.

Whether you’re already a fan or yet to discover its delights, this day provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy this cherished staple of Chinese cuisine and delve into its deep-rooted history.

History of National Peking Duck Day

The roots of the Peking Duck dish can be traced back to the Yuan era (spanning from 1271 – 1368). During this period, it was revered as a part of the imperial cuisine as noted in Hu Sihui’s food and drink recipe manual - Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages, in 1330. By the time of the Qing era (1644 – 1911), Peking Duck had taken center stage as one of the most celebrated dishes.

The Peking Duck is traditionally prepared with an intricate technique that involves inflating the bird to separate the skin and fat. The duck is then expertly seasoned and slow-roasted in a specially designed closed or hung oven to achieve a crispy skin. The Peking Duck is typically carved tableside in thin slices, served with steamed pancakes, scallions, and a decadent sweet bean or hoisin sauce.

Even though the exact inception of National Peking Duck Day might remain enigmatic, this day provides a chance to savor a culinary marvel that has stood the test of time and pay cordial tribute to Chinese culinary artistry. It offers a splendid reason to invite friends or family to enjoy a festive feast at a neighborhood Chinese eatery.

National Peking Duck Day Timeline

Beginnings of Peking Duck

An early version of the Peking duck can be traced back to the Yuan era (1271-1368).

First mention of Peking Duck

The earliest known mention of Peking Duck is in the Yuan Dynasty, when it was listed among the dishes in the imperial court's menu.

Peking Duck in Ming Dynasty

During the Ming Dynasty, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus.

Refinement of Peking Duck Preparation

Methods and utensils used to rear, kill, clean, and roast Peking ducks were refined.

Opening of Quanjude

Quanjude, probably the most famous Peking Duck restaurant globally, opened in Beijing.

Introduction to the Western World

Chinese premier Zhou Enlai serves Peking duck to western politicians, including Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon.

Popularity Continues

Nowadays, Peking Duck is a familiar dish in various parts of the world and represents Chinese culinary tradition.

Ideas to Celebrate National Peking Duck Day

1 faq icon

Duck Cooking Class

You could consider giving a cooking demonstration or participate in a web-based culinary experience specifically about cooking Peking Duck. This presents you with a fantastic opportunity to acquire and master the intricacies of making this iconic dish.

2 faq icon

Peking Duck Contest

Why not facilitate a fun and lively Peking Duck cook-off in your local area? It's a superb way of fostering community spirit while commemorating National Peking Duck Day.

3 faq icon

Visit a Chinese Restaurant

Visit a nearby Chinese restaurant and order Peking Duck. Experiencing this dish made authentically will offer you an excellent benchmark for how it's traditionally prepared and served.

4 faq icon

Learn about Peking Duck History

Why not make this a learning opportunity for your kids? Teach them about the rich cultural history and significance of Peking Duck in Chinese food tradition.

5 faq icon

Share on Social Media

Showcasing your love for the day, you could post photos or Peking Duck recipes on your social media network with the appropriate hashtag #NationalPekingDuckDay.

7 Interesting Facts About Peking Duck


Icon of Beijing

Peking Duck isn't just a dish; it's a symbol of Beijing. Many associate it immediately with the city in the way that the Statue of Liberty represents New York.


Strict Preparation Process

The process of preparing a Peking Duck is stringent, time-intensive, and follows time-honored traditions. Key among these is that only a specific variety, Pekin Ducks, are raised for around 45 days to ensure a superior meat quality.


Special Roasting Technique

Roasting a Peking Duck involves an open oven that's fed with fruit tree wood. The choice of wood, usually from peach or pear trees, imbues the duck with a distinct and desirable fruity, smoky flavor.


Not Just the Meat

Though the Peking Duck's meat often takes center stage, it's worth noting that traditionally, every part of the duck finds use. Apart from the sliced meat and skin, bones create a delightful broth, and even organs like the heart, liver, and stomach are stir-fried.


Endorsed by Celebrities

Through the years, several recognizable names such as David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the UK, and Facebook's creator, Mark Zuckerberg, have expressed their fondness for Peking Duck.


Restaurant Specializing in Peking Duck

Quanjude, a culinary landmark in Beijing since 1864, gained fame and made Peking Duck globally known for its specialization in preparing this delectable dish.


World Record

The largest serving of roast duck at 3,689.68 kilograms (8,134.4 lb) was achieved by The People's Government of Yiliang County (China).

National Peking Duck Day FAQs

Next National Peking Duck Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 January 18th Wednesday
2024 January 18th Thursday
2025 January 18th Saturday
2026 January 18th Sunday
2027 January 18th Monday
What is the pattern? Every January 18th

National Peking Duck Day Word Search

  • Duck
  • Peking
  • Cuisine
  • Delicious
  • Roasting
  • Marination