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Pipa Duck vs Roast Duck: Which One to Choose?

Summary of key points

The main difference between pipa duck and roast duck lies in their cooking methods and flavors. Pipa duck, also known as paper-wrapped duck or bean curd skin-wrapped duck, is a traditional Chinese dish where the whole duck is marinated and wrapped in bean curd skin before being deep-fried.

Roast duck, on the other hand, is typically cooked by roasting in an oven or hung over a fire. The result is a crispy and flavorful skin with tender and juicy meat.

The flavor profiles of pipa duck and roast duck also differ due to their cooking methods. Pipa duck has a more intense and fragrant taste from the deep-frying process, while roast duck has a rich and savory flavor from the slow roasting.

Both dishes are delicious in their own ways, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. Pipa duck may be a more indulgent option due to its deep-frying, while roast duck may be a healthier alternative with less oil used in the cooking process.

In the grand scheme of dinner debates, few things spark more passion than the showdown between Pipa Duck and Roast Duck.

We all crave that crispy skin. It’s a game-changer.

In my family, we’re divided. I’m Team Pipa; my sister swears by Roast.

We’ve had many a dinner table clash over it.

Here’s the scoop for you.

Each duck has its loyalists. Texture? Flavor? You pick.

We’ve eaten more duck than we care to admit.

For science, obviously. So, pull up a chair. We’re about to settle this.

What is Pipa Duck?

Pipa Duck – a famous Chinese dish – will tantalize your taste buds.

It originates from Tianjin and gets its name from the traditional Chinese musical instrument, the pipa, since it looks like it.

It’s made using a meticulous cooking technique.

First, the duck is marinated in aromatic spices, then air-dried for several hours to remove moisture from the skin.

The duck is roasted in a special oven, giving its skin a golden, crispy texture.

It’s hung by its neck on hooks, so it cooks evenly.

The flavor of Pipa Duck is remarkable – savory spices in the marinade infuse the meat, creating a rich, aromatic taste.

Pipa Duck stands out from other roast ducks.

After cooking, it’s pressed between two boards to remove fat and make the skin even crispier.

What is Roast Duck?

Roast duck is a delectable treat. It has a crunchy skin and succulent meat.

This dish hails from Chinese cuisine and is now enjoyed all over the world.

To make it, the duck is marinated in a mix of spices and then roasted till golden brown and crispy.

The meat is tender and flavorful, making it a favorite. The roasting gives roast duck its special flavor.

The skin is crunchy while the meat stays juicy. This creates an amazing taste sensation.

Roast duck is also very versatile.

You can eat it on its own as a main course or use it in dishes like noodle soups, stir-fries, and salads.

Its rich taste goes well with various ingredients, giving you lots of culinary options.

Differences Between Pipa Duck and Roast Duck

Pipa Duck and Roast Duck may look similar, but they’re actually unique.

Their cooking methods, flavors, and textures make them stand out.

1 – Cooking Method

When it comes to cooking duck, two popular methods exist: Pipa and roast.

Each provides its own distinct flavors and textures.

Pipa, or “hulu duck,” is a Chinese specialty from Suzhou.

The name refers to an old musical instrument, which the bird’s shape resembles.

It’s marinated in spices, then hung upright and roasted.

This yields tender meat with a crispy skin, packed with flavor.

Roast duck is a more familiar option.

The bird is seasoned with herbs and spices, then cooked until golden and crispy.

The result is a classic taste that shows off the natural flavors.

Each method has its own unique details.

Pipa’s shape adds visual appeal, while its marinade allows deep flavor penetration.

Roast duck offers simplicity and versatility with seasoning, and its crispy skin is a delightful contrast to the tender meat.

It’s up to you to decide which method to choose.

Both offer delicious dishes, so go ahead and try one for your next duck dish.

2 – Appearance and Presentation

When deciding between Pipa Duck and Roast Duck, appearance matters.

It affects our dining experience and perception of quality.

Pipa Duck has golden-brown skin, carefully scored for crispiness.

This adds texture and makes it look elegant.

Roast Duck, on the other hand, has mahogany hue and glossy skin.

Plus, it smells amazing.

Both dishes have unique features that make them stand out.

Apart from looks, their flavors differ too.

Pipa Duck is delicate, while Roast Duck has robust tastes.

This is due to different cooking techniques and seasoning choices.

3 – Flavor and Seasonings

When it comes to flavor, Pipa Duck and Roast Duck offer totally different tastes.

Each has its own unique seasonings and cooking methods.

Pipa Duck is a traditional Chinese dish.

Its aroma and flavors are amazing.

It’s marinated with star anise, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns.

Then, it’s slow-cooked until the skin is crispy and the meat is tender.

The blend of these flavors make it a real treat.

Roast Duck has many roots in different cuisines.

The marinade has soy sauce, five-spice powder, and honey.

Then, it’s roasted until the skin is golden brown and the meat is tender.

It’s a delicious umami-filled experience.

These two dishes differ in their preparation techniques.

Pipa Duck uses Chinese spices to give a unique taste.

Roast Duck uses a simpler marinade to bring out the natural flavors.

4 – Texture and Tenderness

Pipa Duck and Roast Duck: two types of duck that differ in texture and tenderness.

These factors can make or break the dish.

Texture is how the meat feels in your mouth, and tenderness is how easily it chews.

Pipa Duck has a unique cooking method.

It’s marinated in spices and air-dried for several hours for a crunchy exterior and juicy inside.

Roast Duck is cooked differently.

It’s generally roasted whole or in sections until it’s golden-brown.

This slow-cooking infuses flavors deep into the meat making it tender and juicy.

The flavor profiles also differ; Pipa Duck has a robust taste from the marinade, and Roast Duck has a milder flavor with natural juices.

It’s up to personal preference.

Pipa Duck offers crispiness and bold flavors.

Roast Duck has tender meat and a harmonious blend of taste.

Similarities Between Pipa Duck and Roast Duck

When it comes to Pipa Duck and Roast Duck, they share some striking similarities.

Both have succulent duck meat cooked to perfection.

Bursting with flavor with each bite.

And they are both seasoned with aromatic spices and herbs.

Pipa Duck’s crispy skin mirrors Roast Duck’s crackling texture, offering a delightful contrast.

However, the method of cooking sets them apart.

Roast Duck is typically roasted in an oven.

But Pipa Duck is flattened into the shape of a pipa (Chinese lute) and then roasted.

This gives it a unique presentation.

Despite the difference in cooking style, both ducks remain tender and delicious.

Making them both an extraordinary culinary journey.

Cultural Significance and Regional Variations

The cultural and regional variations of Pipa Duck and Roast Duck are interesting to explore.

Each dish has distinct characteristics that show the diversity of cultures and regions.

Pipa Duck is a traditional Chinese delicacy.

It represents good luck and prosperity at grand celebrations and important events.

This dish is named after its shape, which looks like a pipa, a traditional Chinese musical instrument.

There are variations of this dish in different parts of China.

These variations give the dish subtle flavor differences that local people prefer.

Roast Duck is a popular Western dish, especially in France and England.

People enjoy it for its crispy skin and tender meat.

Different countries have their own take on this dish.

French-style roast duck is flavored with herbs and served with an orange sauce.

British-style roast duck has a rich gravy made from the drippings.

Besides Pipa Duck and Roast Duck, there are other regional variations.

In Vietnam, Banh Cuon Thit Chay is a steamed rice roll filled with mock duck made from tofu or mushrooms.

In the Philippines, Adobong Pato is a type of duck adobo cooked in soy sauce and vinegar.

Best Ways to Enjoy Pipa Duck and Roast Duck

Pipa Duck and Roast Duck are scrumptious dishes.

Here are some tips to enjoy them to the fullest:

  • Pipa Duck with steamed buns is a great option. The tender duck meat and soft bun combine for a yummy contrast. Spread hoisin sauce on the bun for an extra burst.
  • Roast Duck has multiple ways to savor it. Serve it with plum sauce for a tangy twist. Have it with vegetables or noodles for a wholesome meal.
  • Get creative and use leftover duck to make fried rice or noodles. The duck’s succulence and flavor will elevate these dishes.
  • Pair your duck with a beverage. Red wine or Chinese tea will complement the flavors. Enjoy.


To summarize, both Pipa Duck and Roast Duck can make a tasty and savory dish from scratch.

Both should be cooked over an open flame, or on a griddle, for an added layer of flavor.

The type of duck you choose will depend on the tastes and preferences of your family and guests.

Those who enjoy milder flavors in their dishes are likely to prefer Pipa Duck, while those who crave more intense flavors might prefer the stronger taste of Roast Duck.

Nutrition-wise, Roast Duck is the healthier choice with its leaner meat and higher mineral content.

Whichever duck dish you choose, both have their own unique appeal that can bring great satisfaction to even the choosiest of connoisseurs.

Pipa Duck vs Roast Duck: Which One to Choose?

Choosing between Pipa Duck and Roast Duck? We've got you covered! Explore a concise guide highlighting the distinctions and qualities of each, aiding you in making the perfect choice for your dining experience.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Pipa Duck
  • Roast Duck


  • Choose between Peking duck and roast duck based on your flavor preferences and cooking method.
  • Follow the cooking instructions for your selected duck, ensuring it’s seasoned and prepared according to your recipe.
  • Cook the duck until it’s tender and reaches the desired level of doneness.
  • Serve and savor the delicious flavors of your chosen duck dish, appreciating the unique characteristics of either Peking duck or roast duck.
  • Explore different recipes and cooking techniques to fully enjoy the culinary diversity of duck dishes.
Keyword Pipa Duck vs Roast Duck
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