Peking 'Mcduck' plan upsets foodies
Quanjude, one of the oldest Peking duck restaurants in Beijing, will soon replace most of its traditional wood-burning stoves with fully automatic electric ovens, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The 'foolproof, hi-tech' oven designed by German engineers would cut the restaurant's century-old, sophisticated and mysterious duck roasting technique down to the push of a button, Quanjude (Group) general manager Xing Ying told the Beijing Morning Post.
The shift is part of the chain's plans to standardise production and franchise its operations worldwide.
'We still have some difficulty making Peking ducks as standardised as hamburgers, but we are getting close,' Mr Xing told CEO & CIO magazine last week.
But the move to automate the stoves has generated strong resistance from duck aficionados. Some Quanjude outlets in Beijing told the Beijing Morning Post they would stick to the old roasting methods as long as possible because tradition, culture and spirit would disappear in the standardisation process.
Chen Cai, an administrative director of a French company in Beijing, said Quanjude would be dropped from her company's list of top restaurants once electric ovens were adopted. 'It will be no different to McDonald's. It will be a joke to take distinguished guests dining in a franchised store,' she said.