Roasted Duck and Pomelo Salad

I know this photo sucks – my kids played with the camera and did something with the settings and I didn’t find out until after the food was eaten!

Roasted Duck and Pomelo Salad

from my column in Tampa Tribune

Two weeks ago, I took a trip to Los Angeles to teach a couple of cooking classes and to visit family. So, I thought it would be a great idea to bring both of my boys along with me since tickets were only $250 each round-trip for a direct flight from Tampa to Los Angeles.

It was a deal too good to pass up, as I’m a Wal-Mart shopper and easily wooed by a bargain. I wouldn’t normally buy tangerine-flavored fingernail polish, but if it’s on sale for 35 percent off? OMG. I cannot resist. Give me the entire lot of them.

So, when I saw that the airfare was practically half off, I quickly purchased the tickets, not really thinking of the consequences of spending five hours in a small, enclosed flying contraption with no easy access to reinforcements, aka husband, teachers or relatives. Tag team, FAIL.

Thank goodness for the rolling minibar and $3 Snickers. That newlywed couple in the next aisle going to Hawaii for their honeymoon? My money says they probably swore off having children for the next 11 years. Who knew that flying with kids would be such great birth control? Next time your teenager talks about sex, have ’em sit next to us on an airplane. Cheaper than an intervention or therapy.

We arrived safely, and after wading through the thick smog and maneuvering in traffic, all I wanted was to clear my body with a light, refreshing salad. Mom knew exactly what to fix to make us feel welcome at her home.

Pomelo is a Chinese grapefruit. The skin is thick, rather fibrous, but easily peeled away after scoring with a knife. Like a grapefruit, you don’t eat the membrane because it can be pretty bitter and tough. The flesh is firmer, the flavor more delicate. You can find pomelos at most Asian markets, though also look in your regular market too – they are yellow, bigger than a grapefruit and sometimes as big as a soccer ball!

To eat, score the thick skin with a sharp knife and peel away as you would an orange. Open up the pomelo and with your fingers, pry apart each segment, peeling the flesh away from the membrane and pith. For the recipe, you can substitute with grapefruit or orange.

OK, now let’s talk about one of my favorite foods in the world: roast duck. It’s a pain in the butt to make at home, mostly because it’s difficult to find fresh duck in supermarkets. But why bother when for $15, you can buy a whole, perfectly roasted duck at the Asian market. Its sweet, shiny, mahogany-colored skin is highly addictive. You’ll see it hanging whole, displayed in a glass case, and workers will chop it up Chinese-style for you to take home. Usually most stores will sell the duck either half or whole.

For this recipe, buy a half-duck, which will leave you with plenty of leftovers for midnight noshing. You can certainly substitute with a roast or grilled chicken.

This recipe is adapted from “Street Food in Vietnam,” by Michelle Lo (which is a great book, Andrea recommends it too. but Mom bought it in Hong Kong and I can’t find it on Amazon)

Awesome recipe – I’m tagging it as one of my favorites.

Roasted Duck and Pomelo Salad

1/2 small pomelo
1 cup cucumber slices
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
2 breasts of roasted duck, shredded
Handful of mint and Thai basil (or regular basil)
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped

2 tablespoons fish sauce
11/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon water
11/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons minced chilies (I omitted the chilies in my salad cuz the kids were also eating it)

Peel the pomelo, and remove all membrane from the pulp. Cut pulp into small sections. Toss pomelo with cucumber, cabbage and carrots, and place on large platter. Arrange shredded duck, mint and basil on platter. Top with chopped peanuts. Whisk dressing ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and serve alongside the salad platter.


One of my favorite moments

at the Aquarium



What happens when you let ignorant idiots be in charge of product development

Japanese Tea

Wouldn’t you be bothered if Starbucks sold, “Italian Coffee…..beans from France”???

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Comments 45

  1. canarygirl

    HAHAHA! I totally hear you about flying cross country with kids. I once flew by myself. With. 4! Children. To the United States. From The Canary Islands. Did you faint yet? It was…….an experience. Your duck salad sounds delicious, Jaden! πŸ™‚

  2. LunaPierCook

    I never had the opportunity to fly with kids … but I’ve flown with kids and ain’t havin’ no more. BTW, I thought you loved and cherished Andrew and Smarty-Pants at all times?? πŸ˜‰

    I found “Street Food in Vietnam” available here but I don’t know that I’d be able to read it. The list of recipes is amazingly wonderful though!

  3. Sowjanya

    Did you give the kids vodka or did you have it ;);). hahaha. I am flying tomorrow with my 17 month old and dreading it.

    Are those mint leaves in the salad?

  4. Jen

    holy cow. I can buy a whole duck for only $15??? What asian market is this?? darn living on the westside of LA…i don’t have stuff like that!!!

    thanks again for the class…as always I had a blast. I tried to re-make the chicken lettuce cups (along with the fried rice from the first class) for a potluck last night…i think I may have missed something in class because mine did not taste NEARLY as good as the one we did in class!! πŸ™‚

    Come back soon!!

  5. The Big Guy

    I’ll have to keep an eye peeled (heh) for pomelo next I’m out and about…

    As for Duck…
    I loves me some good roasted duck. Which leads me to ask:
    Has anyone ever tried the US version of Peking Duck?
    I’ve had it at QuanJuDe in Beijing and at the Spring Deer in Hong Kong.
    After the amazing experience and tastes at these places, I’ve been a little hesitant about trying it here.
    (If you have had good Hunan cuisine in China, the US version of Hunan is a real disappointment.)

    Any comments?


  6. Da Kine

    I’m glad I’m not the only mother gone whack wild crazy with her off spring on a plane (alone!). We just got back from a visit to San Diego with my 2 and 4 year old daughters. What a fricking nightmare, never again.

    My husband has never had duck, so your salad would be a good way to introduce the darn redneck to it. BTW, we live in Houston. A California girl for 32 years and then we’re in Texas….WTF???????

  7. Texicali

    Thus my name, that’s why you don’t meet your Tex-ass husband online and move from California (Santa Maria) to Texas. But that’s 9 years ago, so it’s all good.

    The salad looks absolutely inviting, can’t wait to make this one for my family. My kids like to eat the healthy stuff, don’t know how healthy duck is, but they’ve never tried it before.

    Thanks Jaden πŸ™‚

  8. katy

    Oh yum! I love duck – when I was a real vegetarian, it was the one thing I would cheat for (fortunately, it wasn’t available to often)! I never thought about buying one in Chinatown — our farmer’s market has fresh duck, but I am two blocks from Chinatown at work, so I should really see if I can find one!

  9. wookie

    As usual, your photos are beautiful.

    We love duck! I think this is a salad that I can get my DH to eat! Of course, trying to find a roast duck in Indy is going to be a challenge.
    Maybe a seared duck breast, sliced thin?

    BTW, your herbs always look so fresh and vibrant. Do you grow your own?

  10. Mike

    Heh.. Try flying Boston to London with 85 teenagers, ranging 15 to 18, with only 4 chaperones. I was one of the teens, it was over 20 years ago, and I still don’t want kids….

  11. wonders

    Is the pomelo that thing called lo yau (slightly sounding like butt in chinese)? We usually have that during chinese new year and my mom would cook the rinds into a dish. Usually something stewed.

  12. Brave Sir Robin

    Duck is my favorite food.



    There are no Asian markets within 120 miles, and my local grocer only carries frozen, FSM knows how old ducks.

    Duck is a rare treat at my house.

    This, however, looks divine. I guess I could buy two ducks, roast the breast, confit the leg/thighs, make stock with the wings, and still try this out.

    I have seen pomelo before in my store, but I’ve never tried it. Is it seasonal? I don’t recall seeing it lately.

  13. courtney

    The idea of flying with kids scares me. Although they are so that it would alleveaite the situation. I love roast duck. May just sneak and use your shortcut of buying in a Asain Market. The MR. would love it!

  14. Loweeel

    Jaden — you’re wrong on this one (as frank pointed out a few hours earlier).

    It’s Green tea that’s flavored like Japanese Cherries (, not Japanese Green tea that happens to be cherry-flavored.

    Japanese cherries are a type of cherry, like wild ( (, sour (, etc.

    There are also different cultivars of the same cherry species (much like broccoli/cauliflower/etc. are all the same species) with different characteristics —

  15. Nate 2.0

    I love the photo. Pomelo is one of my favorite fruits. I have to try the salad. I bet it’s great on its own, even without the duck.

  16. GCS

    Someone pulling your leg…or not getting your humor at all is posting comments at the Tampa Tribune website. Wow…

    I did not know that pomelos ever came in Size S, I thought they were all large!

    Looks good, my husband loves duck. Might have to visit those markets.

  17. Gay

    Thanks for this recipe. Though we grow pomelo at home, we never really use it in salads but rather munch on it the whole day. πŸ™‚

  18. kat

    In Hawaii, we call them jabon. In Japan, they call it zabon. You should also mention that just like grapefruit, some people on medications cannot eat pomelo. πŸ™‚

  19. Christey

    My husband made duck the other night. I am very new to it, but it wasn’t that bad. I think I need it a few more times to get used to it, but he was all about the skin, and I have been very good at trying new things, but still can’t do skin on any animal, so maybe one day? πŸ™‚ but I LOVE that pic at the aquarium!

  20. diane

    hi jaden
    your duck looks good .roast duck is one of my favorite’s about that “orange beef” I’ve waited patiently for ? please , thank you

  21. Dianasaur

    You’re absolutely right about birth control. My husband and I have been married for 9 months, and every once in a while we babysit for friends of ours with a two year old and an infant. It’s to do them a favor, but also to remind us we don’t really want kids yet!

    As for duck, thanks for the tip about the Asian market. My boss is actually a duck hunter so I’m sure I could get some super fresh from him, but having it already roasted and cut would be a lot easier!

  22. John Cirocco

    If you really will purchase anything marked down (like my wife does), have you ever come home with an escalator?

    * da dum dum *


  23. cookinpanda

    The pomelo is my favorite fruit. It’s strange to say that. Most people don’t even know what a pomelo is. But I have serious love for the monster grapefruit-like thing. And have spent at least a month of my life living off a diet exclusively consisting of pomelos. I was a student on a tight budget (in China) at the time. Anyway, great idea, using them in salads. Really great. I’m very excited.

  24. RecipeGirl

    Duck salad sounds delicious to me!

    I’ve always loved flying across country with my son. Two might be tough, but I’ve managed to entertain my little guy pretty well on long flights…though I’m always exhausted on the other end!

  25. Lucy V

    Great looking salad, Jaden! I love it. When I saw the photo I launched into a daydream about roasting a duck. Then I saw it was even easier than it looked. Lots of ideas come from your posts. Thank you!

  26. daphne

    So agree with u on the roast duck. Much easier to get it off a decent resturant.

    and that coffee bean n tea leaf co.- disturbing indeed!

  27. Mike

    This sounds like a great combination of flavors! I only just happened to try pomelo for the first time yesterday (it felt wrong to live in Florida and to be so citrus retarded, “citretarded,” if you will) and now I could only imagine how this salad would be. There’s always room for duck!

    As for that tea, lol. It reminds me: I happened to glance at a bottle of some pomegranate green tea/iced tea thing yesterday, touting its amazing healing herbal super powers since it uses the ever exciting “chinese apple” (since green tea requires that all ingredients appear as if they are mystical Asian herbal remedies) with all sorts of spiritual and medical symbols plastered all over the bottle. I also got a kick out of the fine print, explaining only 5% juice and that this is not a drug and it has no healing properties, etc etc. Oops

  28. luyanghapon

    hi steamy! i am so grabbing this recipe- love it! by the way, i could just imagine you in THAT plane with THOSE boys…hilarious!

  29. Kathy

    The salad looks scrumptious! I cooked a whole duck a couple of weeks ago, as my supermarket (Sainsbury) had a half price deal on fresh mallards, so I’ve had it sitting in the freezer for months. The main problem was not the availability of duck, but finding those little pancakes to wrap the crispy duck in like you get in Chinese restaurants!

    In searching every supermarket for it, I discovered from a helpful sales assistant that we have a little Chinese supermarket in the locality (hidden away). It was another world in there – everything imaginable. I found a little packet of duck spice (frightening ingredients listed though I have to say, and bizarre photographs of luminous red shiny ducks on the front!) rubbed it all over my ‘victim’ and stuck it in the oven for hours whilst I went out to enjoy myself, whilst my duck turned the desired ‘crispy’ texture. Some hoisin sauce, pancakes, cucumber and spring onions (scallions) later, we had ourselves a feast indistinguishable from what you would buy at a Chinese restaurant. I was thrilled, and will be doing the same the next time I can get a cheap duck (around £7 or £$15). a whole duck made a hell of a lot of pancakes! Quack quack.

  30. Kathy

    Me again (sorry). Anyone reading this in the UK, the duck offer is still on at Sainsbury (see my post above). I just bought another for the freezer at £5.79. It’s a ‘Gressingham’ (not a Mallard) and comes fresh not frozen. My man is going to throttle me when he discovers that we can’t shut the freezer drawers again!

  31. susan g

    Ooo, memories of flying with my 2 boys, age 4 and 5, to Israel. First plane trip, first leg (DC to NY) was through a storm and we couldn’t sit together. Then many hours on the plane with the Fisher Price airport (taking it to my sister’s little boy) and puppets and more. I think there was much more room between seats then, even though it was a jumbo plane. They did pretty well, both ways. And oh yeah, I was pregnant too. Well, you’ll do it again and they’ll be older. If a little thing like this scares off potential parents, they shouldn’t have them. Real life is a lot scarier!

  32. Cakebrain

    Holy smokes this looks so good! It’s got my favourite ingredients: duck and pomelo! I’m all over anything with roast duck! I guess I usually don’t have enough duck meat/skin left over when I buy it roasted from the Chinese BBQ shop and therefore don’t have enough to make a salad. I’m going to have to purchase a whole duck in the future to ensure ample leftovers!
    I’m not looking forward to the day when I’ll have to go in a plane with my kids. I’m waiting as long as possible until they’re old enough to be distracted with a long movie or something. As it is, my 15 month old can barely last in her car seat for the 10 minute drive to the mall. I have to entertain them from the front passenger seat: I do live puppet shows, make fun of daddy, and as a last resort, I sometimes have to engage in producing funny bodily noises. I can’t imagine having to do that on a plane in front of all those other passengers.

  33. Hollie Dustin

    Loved the story, love the photos and recipes! Sorry about the ottoman! :>)Didn’t realize that you wrote for the Tampa looking forward to picking up a copy…I am in Punta Gorda.

  34. Judy in SATX

    Heeee! The first (and only) time I flew somewhere without my son, there was a screaming toddler who was NOT happy on my plane. Did I mind? Was I annoyed? Not a bit! Because all I kept thinking was “Yay! It’s not MY kid screaming!”.

    I have some frozen duck breasts from Allen Brothers in the freezer that I’m going to have to pull out to try this recipe!

  35. Bronwyn

    How about if it’s supposed to be Chinese Green Tea flavoured with Japanese Cherry? Makes sense then.

  36. magpie

    Hahaha… I do love their teas, though. I have two cans of the Toffee Rooibos in my cabinet now. I just came across your blog. Beautiful pics! I love Asian food and it’s practically all I cook, even though I’m a white girl originally from New Jersey (though I live in California now). I’m a vegetarian and I look forward to making your recipes!

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