Lao Ya Tang 老鸭汤 lit. Old Duck Soup
• Starts at ~30 RMB/small pot (2-3 people); ~45 RMB/medium pot (3-4 people); side dishes cost extra.
No, this doesn’t mean fermented duck and has nothing to do with Thousand Year Old duck eggs. This is actually a duck soup that is simmered for hours upon hours in a clay pot with ginger, spices, and vegetables (usually pickled daikon radishes or bamboo shoots) until the broth is saturated with flavor and the meat melts off the bone with the tiniest nudge of your chopstick. This specialty can be found all over the country, but seems to be especially popular in Chongqing (despite the fact that it isn’t spicy!) and you can find restaurants that serve this just about anywhere in the city. The duck and vegetables in the soup are the main feature of this meal, but generally people choose additional sides. Some may be ready to eat, like boiled peanuts or sweet pastries, others are prepared to be added to the boiling soup like in a traditional hot pot setting.