According to a Chinese saying, novisit to this city is complete if you miss seeing the Great Wall or dining on Beijing Roast Duck (Beijing Kaoya). As a famous and delicious food withvery long history, Beijing Roast Duck is an excellent choice if you want to understand more about Chinese cuisine, culture and customs.
It is thought that the dish, like the tradition of roast turkey in America, owes its origin to the roast goose that is still popular in Europe onfestive occasions. Westerners like Marco Polo brought certain European customsto China and may have introduced the concept of roasting poultry to their Chinese hosts during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). Ducks had long been domesticatedin China and the plump ducks proved to be an excellent substitute for goose in much the same way as the American colonizers found the native turkey to be.However, there is another school of thought based upon certain records that show it has a much longer history dating back as far as the Northern andSouthern Dynasties (420 - 589). Up until the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 -1279), ducks were roasted in the area around Jinling, today's Nanjing. However,the later Yuan Dynasty rulers moved their capital city to Beijing from Jinling and took with them their cuisine thus making this dish popularin the city that was eventually to make it its very own specialty.