Monday, January 26, 2009

January 25, 2009: Wu Chung mock duck

WARNING: Some viewers may find the following image disturbing.

Yes, that's mock duck meat. In a can. I bought it for little more than a dollar at the local IGA, dizzy with the opportunity to eat more things Michael would probably disapprove of. This time, though, I couldn't help wondering if this was something I should disapprove of myself. But looking at the label, I read only ingredients I recognised - gluten, soy sauce, sugar, salt and soy bean oil.

What came out of the can bore more resemblance to a rubber chicken than a feathered or fleshy bird. It proved not to be as rubbery as I feared when I sliced it, the texture akin to the seitan I've occasionally bought from health food shops.

As a strategy to ensure I wouldn't go hungry, I trialled the mock duck as a component of my usual fried brown rice. I omitted the fried egg and rapidly stir-fried the mock duck in a little sesame oil and a lot of Chinese five spice, setting it aside as I cooked the vegetables and rice and stirring it through at the end.

And you know what? It wasn't bad, not bad at all. Not as succulent as some of the mock meats I've enjoyed from other Asian supermarkets and restaurants, but completely servicable as a supporting player in the meal. I might even try sneaking it into Michael's rice sometime!


  1. Good find! I used to enjoy peking duck before I went vegetarian (with the pancakes, spring onion, hoisin etc)... but didn't think to do it with mock meat, that just might work!

  2. Oh, I remember this stuff. It actually isn't that bad, although with mock meat, Chinese-style, I am pretty spoilt because my uncle works in that vegetarian place in Box Hill on Whitehorse Rd, when I was a vegetarian and we had banquets, he would make around five different dishes that I could eat for it.

  3. I've had this stuff numerous times, but honestly not the biggest fan of the stuff. It's ok if there's nothing else. But I prefer the stuff made from dried bean curd (Wikipedia has an article calling it Tofu Skin - in Chinese we call it Fu Zhu [腐竹]). Some of the better Chinese Vegetarian restaurants do make use of it. There's many ways to prepare it.

    Anyway, I think the world of Chinese Vegetarian cooking is huge! Perhaps also try looking into Thai Vegetarian cooking (from my experience, all proper Thai restaurants will offer a Vegetarian version of most of their meals if requested. Just make sure to say no fish sauce). There's a bit of Chinese Vegetarian ingredients in it.

    I brought 2 Vegetarian cookbooks (in English of course) when I was in Thailand recently. Both are pretty good, one is called "The Best of Thai Vegetarian Food" by Sisamon Kongpan (you can find it online), don't remember the name of the other one. I've found Thai Vegetarian cooking to be quite good and tasty!

  4. Oh wow, how unfortunate does that look.

    I agree with William above, there is heaps of opportunity in Chinese vegetarian food. :o)

  5. I'm glad this happened while I was away. It looks tolerable in the final product, but once I'd seen it in its original state, I think I'd have been taking a pass.

  6. I've seen canned mock meats so many times and have been tempted to give it a go - yet always ended up popping it back on the shelf. There's something suspicious about mock-creatures in a can!

  7. Oh Cindy, I am not too sure about this one. Looks a bit dubious.

  8. ah, i've been eating this stuff for ages. and you don't know creepy until you've tried the mock abalone in the same brand!

  9. Jesska, Peking mock duck is certainly worth pursuing but I'm not sure if this will be the best base ingredient! I had some great mock duck at Camy's so I know a better alternative must be out there somewhere. :-)

    Bunches, your uncle works at the Vegie Hut? Lucky you! I've had the pleasure of sampling their yum cha only once so far. Definitely on another plane to this stuff.

    Hi William! Thanks for the tip on tofu skin - I think I've eaten it out once or twice, and have seen it in an Asian grocery or two. Maybe it's time I gave it a go at home! I'd definitely enjoy expanding my repertoire of vegetarian Thai and Chinese recipes. :-)

    AVAT, I've long had a keen eye on the Chinese meals you eat and blog - there's a lot there that I've yet to experience.

    You're not off the hook yet, Michael - there's leftovers in the freezer.

    Hayley, your suspicion is understandable - they're certainly no match for some of the vacuum-sealed and frozen mock meats.

    SWF - I had to give it a go, just once. :-)

    Philippa, I noticed mock abalone on the same shelf! I was never much of a seafood eater so I let that creepy can be. :-D

  10. HI im in melbourne as well,

    I m wondering where are the good places to buy seitan if u can give me store adresses it would be much appreaciated. (Yes im vegetarian as well)


  11. Hi Anon,

    If you're after this particular product, I bought it from the IGA on the corner of Princess and Drummond Streets in Carlton. It's probably also available from many Asian groceries throughout Melbourne.

    I've previously bought other brands of seitan from Organic Wholefoods and Vincent Vegetarian Food (follow the links for addresses and other details).

  12. Hi Cindy thanks very much for your help. I did end up finding it. Much appreciated.

    Also if you are interested, I make my own seitan using Gluten Flour and I found a very good recipe which gives me a perfect chewy yet soft texture. Just leave a msg here if anyone is interested.

  13. Yes, please share your recipe! Since finding a source of gluten flour last year, I've been intending to try making my own seitan. Leave it in a comment here, or email me: wheresthebeef_blog[at] . Thanks!

  14. I just bought some of that mock duck.... also a bit scared but determined!!

  15. I'll be interested to see what you think of it, Niki!

  16. This stuff is awesome, but what you need to do is tear it up, coat it in flour and spices, and fry it- then mix a delicious sauce into it. Mmmmm

  17. That sounds pretty good, Anon. :-)