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OLYMPICS/ Spotlight

Peking Roast Duck feels heat over electricity
Updated: 2008-01-15 11:11


BEIJING - Traditional Chinese roast duck chain Quanjude, which has changed its English name to "Quanjude Peking Roast Duck - Since 1864", has upset purists with a plan to use electric ovens instead of wood.

The new method applies German-developed computer technology to roast Peking Duck instead of the age-old method of chefs turning the ducks on a spit in a firewood oven, the China Youth Daily said on Monday.

"We commoners not only eat Quanjude duck for its flavour, but also for the hundreds of years of tradition and culture that our ancestors left to us," Han Xiaofen was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Of 3,066 people surveyed, 77 percent were opposed to using electric roasters, and 63 percent were worried that the move would popularise the brand as a fast-food chain.

"If Quanjude uses electric ovens to cook its ducks then what difference is there from KFC?" a customer complained.

Quanjude, whose history dates back to the Qing Dynasty in 1864, raised 388 million yuan ($53.49 million) on the Shenzhen bourse in November when it became the first Chinese food and beverage company to go public.

The company, which sells more than 3 million ducks a year at its nine restaurants and 61 franchised outlets, plans to expand before the Olympics and make a name on the international scene.

The restaurant chain's name change is part of efforts to raise English language standards ahead of the huge influx of foreigners expected to visit Beijing in this Olympic year.

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