Taiwan ducks don't make the cut for Beijing chain

Mon Dec 8, 2008 5:27am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - One of China's most famous Peking duck restaurants is set to open its first outlet in Taiwan, but the ducks will have to be imported from the mainland because the island's birds are too skinny, state media said on Monday.

Quanjude, founded in the dying days of the last emperors in 1864, will open in the southern Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"The Taiwan branch would have to source specially fed ducks from the mainland to keep the dish's original flavor, as Taiwan's ducks were not fat enough," the report paraphrased company chairman Jiang Junxian as saying.

But the branch's opening date has yet to be set because agreements on work permits and imports of the needed raw materials have not been signed, Xinhua added.

Quanjude already has branches in Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and military-ruled Myanmar, the report said.

While ties between Taiwan and China have been warming following the election of a more China-friendly president on the island earlier this year, deep mutual suspicion remains.

The two sides have been ruled separately since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of a civil war, and Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Despite the political differences, Taiwan and China have close economic ties, though it is still unusual for Chinese businesses to set up on the island due to Taiwanese restrictions.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)

<p>Roast duck is prepared at Quanjude restaurant in Beijing August 4, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>