Babao Style Duck Stewed in Beer Recipe

Try this scrumptious babao style duck stewed brown sauce made of beer and a fermented, fragrant chile sauce that packs quite a flavorful punch.

| April 2019


Dragon Spring Restaurant in Babao is a large, two-story affair. It is owned and run by Wei Hanyan, a Zhuang minority woman who grew up in town, and serves dishes such as fried catfish in brown sauce, stewed beans, and this rich duck stew. The sauce the duck is cooked in—a brown sauce made with local beer, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and other flavorings—is full of ingredients rarely seen in other parts of Yunnan. It is a perfect example of how the foods made on the eastern edge of the province resemble those of neighboring Guizhou, with the chiles and pickles popular in Yunnan used alongside flavorings favored in southern China, such as oyster sauce and Chinese cooking wine.


  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a cleaver
  • 3 slices of unpeeled ginger, each about 1/2 inch by 1 inch
  • 1/2 duck (about 2-1/2 lbs.), cut across the bone into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 10 dried Thai chiles, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pint weak Chinese lager, such as Snow or Tsingtao
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. fragrant chile sauce (xiangla jiang)
  • 1-1/4 tsp. sesame oil 
  • 3/4 tsp. dark soy sauce 
  • 2 scallions, both white and green parts, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp. water


1.) In a wok, heat the oil over a high flame until very hot. (To test the temperature of the oil, submerge the tip of a wooden chopstick; it should produce a strong cloud of little bubbles.)

2.) Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 10 seconds, until fragrant.

3.) Add the duck and cook, gently pushing the meat back and forth with a wok shovel, for 1 minute. The oil should bubble furiously.

4.) Add the cooking wine and dried chiles and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.



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