Preparing Cantonese Duck at Restaurant Sra Bua by Tim Raue

By Andrew Cottrill . December 5, 2015

If you ate a delicious Cantonese duck at Restaurant Sra Bua by Tim Raue at the Hotel Adlon last week, there’s a good chance it was prepared by me (and I’d like my watch back).

That’s right, the guys at Sra Bua invited myself and Mr. Philip Eggersgluess to their impressive restaurant to show us what they do, and to get us to do it for them. Namely: prepare their December special, Cantonese-style crispy duck prepared in two ways.

A cocktail in one hand, a beautiful, free-range bird in the other, we got to work. And trust me, when Mick Jagger wrote the lines “I can’t get no satisfaction” he’d obviously never heard the snap as you break a duck’s wing-tips off.


The end result would be one of those crispy, red birds you see hanging in the windows of Chinese restaurants, a perfect Peking duck, but that was still three days (of constant basting) away. Right now we just had the raw, unseasoned bird. The process – which involved reaching inside the duck, sticking a needle into its skin, inflating it and tying it up, before smearing it with a sticky marinade – might sound more like the order of the day in the Berghain’s Laboratory than cooking, and proved to be just as much fun to do. Truly, one hasn’t lived until they’ve used a bicycle pump to inflate the skin of a duck (to ensure the ultimate crispy skin, of course).

Sadly, we didn’t get to try our own creations – as they still needed to be hung somewhere cool (they got the idea from Michael Jackson) and marinated for three days – but the chefs at Sra Bua were kind enough to put on a duck banquet for us. The same meal is available to you all throughout December and costs just €80 per duck (which can be divided between various-sized groups depending on how hungry you all are).


Here’s the Cantonese duck menu Sra Bua are offering:

First Course: Entenbrust, Topinamburpürre, Rotkohl-Purple Curry

Second Course: Entenkeulenragout “Choi Bao”, Kopfsalat

Cost: €80 per bird

And what can I say about the food? There’s a reason that Sra Bua call their dish ‘Cantonese duck’ instead of ‘Peking duck’, and that’s because they do not stick to the traditional recipe. As a modern, European restaurant, Sra Bua take a contemporary approach to Asian food, mixing in German and other European sensibilities to create food that is both exotic and somewhat homely. The food they create fits both people who are adventurous with their food and those who just miss their Oma’s Sauerbraten.

Perhaps, as an alternative to the festive season’s normal offerings, it’d be worth adding a bit of warming spice to your Christmas parties by opting for the Cantonese duck at Restaurant Sra Bua by Tim Raue. I can guarantee there won’t be one Knödel in sight.


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