Meaning "drink tea", yum cha is a Cantonese tradition that originally stemmed from roadside teahouses, and was a small, bite-sized snack eaten with tea at breakfast time. Here's a modern dish served with fresh plum sauce.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (47 votes)


  • 2.2 kg whole duck, neck and wingtips removed
  • 1½ tsp five-spice powder
  • 4 large (about 700 g) fresh or canned plums
  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 oranges, peeled, rind thinly sliced
  • 1 telegraph cucumber, cut into batons
  • 3 spring onions, shredded
  • 30 Peking duck pancakes (see Note), steamed

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time overnight
Resting time 20 minutes

Rinse duck under cold running water, then pat completely dry inside and out with paper towel. Combine 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp five-spice powder in a bowl, then rub all over duck to cover. Place duck on a wire rack set over a tray and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place duck in a deep roasting pan and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking halfway and spooning out any excess fat, or until just cooked through. Increase heat to 200°C and cook for a further 20 minutes or until skin is very crisp and golden. Remove from oven and rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make fresh plum sauce, halve each plum, discarding stones, then cut into 3 wedges. Place in a saucepan with sugar, star anise, remaining ½ tsp five-spice, cinnamon, ginger, soy sauce and 250 ml water. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for 15 minutes or until plums are just starting to break down, then remove from heat and cool completely. Stir in lime juice and season with salt to taste.

When duck is cool enough to handle, shred meat and skin into thick pieces. To assemble, fill each pancake with duck, orange rind, cucumber and spring onions. Drizzle with fresh plum sauce, roll up and serve.



• Frozen pancakes are from Asian food shops.


Photography Chris Chen