Sure, you can spend three days of your life properly roasting a Peking duck. You can head over to Buford Highway and hit up its mammoth Farmers Market or any number of grocers in the area to pick out your bird. You can bring it home, remove its innards, wash it, pat it down, and rub it with Chinese five-spice powder before hanging it to dry overnight. Then, the next day, you can use a straw to blow air under its skin, which is essential if you want the skin to achieve optimal lacquered crackliness during the roasting process.
But wait! Before roasting, you’ll probably want to baste the duck with boiling-hot, oil-slickened broth, brush it with a mix of soy sauce and maltose, and hang it overnight again. Then, all you have to do is roast it for few hours at 350 degrees (preferably in a wood-fired oven)—though of course it’s best if you hang the duck from the top of the oven to allow the fat to slowly drip, drip, drip into a pan below. That’s the only real way to guarantee that the skin on the finished product turns out just the way you’d hoped.
Or you can skip all but the very beginning of the very first step: Drive up Buford Highway. Your alternate, much shorter path is to cut over on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to New Peachtree Road, where you’ll find the Atlanta Chinatown mall and, in its food court, Hong Kong BBQ.
Pass through the bare-bones, cafeteria-style dining room hung with the red Chinese lanterns and umbrellas. There, in a window next to Hong Kong BBQ’s cash register, hang the ducks in all their perfectly roasted glory. A whole one, which you can take to go, will set you back $20.
5385 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee, 770-451-7277 (closed Wednesdays)
This article appears in our December 2019 issue.