Cantonese Roast Duck

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roast Duck
The Cantonese roast duck is often seen hanging in a row on the when you order your food at the street food stall.


3-4 lbs. duck
2 tsps Chinese Five spice powder
2 tsps Salt
1 star anise or 1 tsp. anise powder (If you’re not going to hang the bird to dry, the powder is a better option)
1 tsp sugar
3 tbsp maltose or clear honey
2 tbsp warm water to melt the maltose/honey


1. Prepare the duck by cutting off the ends of the wings and removing the oil sac under the tail.

2. Mix the five spice powder, salt, star anise and sugar together and rub the mixture on the  insides of the duck. Sew the vent up very securely. (the sewing is optional) [I did not sew it up and it worked as well]

3. Pour a kettle of boiling water over the duck, then dry the outside of the duck with paper towels.

4. Mix the water and maltose/honey to make a thin syrup. Paint the outside of the duck with the syrup. Hang the duck in airy place for 4 to 6 hours. The duck does not need sun, only wind. (I didn’t hang the bird, instead I let it rest on a wire rack indoors, had a fan blow at it and turned it every 3 hours).

5. When the duck is dry, hang it in a hot oven (400°F, gas 6) with a drip tray underneath for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F, Gas 5. Continue cooking for another 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. Allow 15 minutes per 1 lb and 15 minutes extra. (I also didn’t hang the duck, but let the bird rest on the wire rack with a drip tray beneath it and I turned the bird once the colour looked appealing to the eye.  If you are going to let the bird rest on the wire rack, it is important to let it cook breast side up before turning).
6. Leave the duck to rest then carve to serve. Hoisin sauce (if available) is a good dipping sauce.