Give In To Your Duck Side

By Gastronaut - Friday, Aug 23, 2013

The story of Hainanese duck dates back to more than 200 years. It is said that a Malaysian Hainanese immigrant returning to Hainan for a visit brought a live duck home with him from Malaysia. The duck yielded meat that is thick and succulent, and skin that is smooth with a thin underlying layer of fat. The folks of Hainan immediately fell in love with it. Farms were set up to raise the breed and many recipes to prepare this duck were born.


The duck-breeding process is meticulous: ducklings are fed freshwater seafood and worms the first 70 days. After that, the duck was fed rice and beans as the main diet for another 20 days to “fatten” it up. When the bird reached about 3kg, it was ready for the slaughter.


Over the years, one recipe – Jiaji Duck – has become so popular in Hainan that it is sometimes considered the island’s ‘national dish’. Oddly enough, the dish is not well known outside of Hainan itself. But like, perhaps the more famous Hainanese chicken, Jiaji Duck is simple to prepare, with seasoning and cooking times being key to bringing out the best flavours of the meat.


Jiaji Duck



2.5kg Duck
80g Ginger (grated)
10cloves Garlic (finely minced)
3tsp Salt
4L Water


Dipping sauce (mix thoroughly):
20g Ginger (minced)
3cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Chili (minced)
2tbsp Calamansi juice
1tbsp Duck broth (read step 4 below)
½ tbsp Sugar


1. Mix ginger, garlic and salt into a paste. Rub paste thoroughly over the entire duck including its cavity. Wrap with cling-wrap and chill duck overnight.
2. Bring duck to room temperature.
3. Boil water. Put in the duck and keep the water temperature to around 90°C during simmering.
4. Remove the duck once it is cooked, which should take around 30 – 40 minutes. Save the broth for dipping sauce.
5. Let it cool before chopping into bite-size chunks.
6. Serve with dipping sauce.