Korean Eating: Duck Stew 오리탕
When I used to go hiking with the teachers hiking club from Daeshin High School, afterward we’d find a local restaurant and replenish ourselves.
One my favorite meals was duck stew, or oritang (오리탕).
This past trip down south to visit the in-law’s in Gimhae, we decided to have some and I was surprised when I sat down to the table and had a very different oritang than I was used to. While it looked similar and it had duck as the main ingredient, it wasn’t as thick as the oritang that I had become accustomed to eating in the north. My father-in-law explained that this was actually oritang and what I had wanted based on my description was oribaesuk (오리백숙). I had never heard of the latter and was sure that my teacher friends had always ordered the former, but it seems there is quite a difference.Oritang is a clear soup made by slowly simmering duck with other vegetables, chili pepper may be added to make it spicier in some regions, and oribaeksuk is a dish made by boiling a duck stuffed with rice for several hours without seasonings and is quite similar to samgyetang or chicken stew except that oribaeksuk doesn’t have the ginseng, chestnuts or jujubes of the chicken stew. Once it’s finished, the oribaeksuk is simply topped off with some salt and sliced green scallions. I’ll have to order some soon to show the difference, but here is what oritang in the south looks like. Because duck is oilier than other meats, there was a slight film of oil on the top of the broth by the time we finished but the broth was light and hydrating. It was delicious even though it wasn’t quite what I expected.
Have you eaten duck while you’ve been in Korea? What did you think of it?