Have you ever wished for more creativity in restaurant menus? Why do Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Sichuan restaurants often offer the same dishes?

How to Make Taro-Infused Braised Duck

Recipe by Annie Tibber


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Have you ever hoped for restaurants to be more innovative with their menus? Why do Cantonese restaurants tend to offer the same dishes, and why is it similar for Shanghainese and Sichuan restaurants?


  • One duck weighing 4 to 5 pounds

  • Approximately 0.75 pounds of large taro (equivalent to 680g)

  • About 0.25 cup of cooking oil

  • A small piece of rock sugar, measuring approximately 3/4 inch long and about 1/2 oz. in weight

  • 2.5 slices of ginger

  • 4 cloves of garlic (smashed)

  • 1.5 scallions, with white and green parts separated

  • Roughly 0.13 cup of Shaoxing wine

  • Approximately 0.5 tablespoon of oyster sauce

  • Approximately 1.5 tablespoons of light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce

  • 1 cup of water


  • If you’re working with a frozen duck, start by thawing it and soaking the duck in water for 30 minutes to remove any blood and gamey flavors. Thoroughly clean the duck inside and out, then drain and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the duck into pieces measuring 1″ x 2″, ensuring you trim away the ducktail. Set it aside.
  • Prepare the taro by peeling off its outer skin. Rinse and pat the taro dry, then cut it into large pieces about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Heat a wok over medium heat and add the cooking oil. Shallow fry the taro pieces until the edges on all sides just start to turn brown. You may need to flip them once during frying. You may need to turn them over once while frying. If needed, you can do this in two separate batches.
  • Drain most of the oil from the wok, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Melt the rock sugar in the remaining oil over low heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and the white parts of the scallions, and let them cook for 1-2 minutes

Recipe: Instructions for Delicious Braised Duck with Taro

This taro-braised duck is a treasured family recipe that, like many traditional dishes, is seldom found in Chinese restaurants. It’s a testament to the art of Chinese home cooking!

Have you ever wished that restaurants could be a bit more adventurous with their menus? Why is it that Cantonese restaurants all seem to serve the same dishes? Why do Shanghai and Sichuan restaurants follow suit? This issue is not limited to Chinese cuisine; it often applies to Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, and Italian restaurants as well.

When I dine out, I yearn for something distinctive. Even the addition of a single new ingredient can elevate my dining experience. Because, as we all know, there’s more to explore beyond the standard restaurant offerings, including heartwarming dishes like braised duck that our grandparents and parents used to prepare, evoking feelings of home.

My first taste of Braised Duck with Taro was prepared by Bill’s father many years ago. Similar to many of our other cherished family recipes, you won’t find it on restaurant menus. That’s where we (The Woks of Life) come in to help bridge the gap!

Before you begin, please refer to our Chinese Ingredients Page for information on taro, as there are significant differences between small and large taro varieties. This braised duck with taro recipe calls for large taro tubers. If you can’t find taro, you can try substituting it with potatoes. And if duck isn’t your preference due to cost or availability, feel free to use chicken!

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