Meals of the Mundo: Duck Tongue

On July 14, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

Ok, I get it. It’s duck tongue. I haven’t said anything else yet, and you’re already disgusted. If not, you should be. Because it’s the tongue. Of a duck. Hence the name: duck tongue. It doesn’t sound pretty. It doesn’t look all that pretty. But it is quite tasty. Stay with me through this one.

I have a rule, and it’s one I try to stick to no matter our location or the primary elements in the native cuisine. If the locals eat it, I eat it. Or rather, I try it at least once. In Cambodia, I tried amok. In Laos, I tried river weeds. In Carcassonne, I wanted to try cassoulet, but that was way too expensive. These will all be upcoming Meals of the Mundo of course. But now we’re focusing on duck tongue.


We named our duck tongues Daffy, Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.


In China, we found they eat much more of the animal than we do. “We” means America, but could probably refer to most Western countries. In a 24-hour period in China, I ate duck tongue, rabbit head, and chicken feet. These are not unusual meals at all in China. Generally, we discard all of these parts (though I have seen chicken feet in U.S. stores). In China, these are all on the menu. As an example, when we ordered fish at a Szichuan restaurant, we got the entire fish. I had a piece (cross-section?) that had a fin sticking out.

We were in Beijing with Cassie’s friend from grad school, J.J., who took us to an excellent restaurant. She asked us what we wanted to eat, then ordered a tremendous amount of food for us. She asked if we wanted to try duck tongue. Cassie instantly said no. I instantly said yes.


Cassie, J.J., and I after two of us ate duck tongue.


A few tips if you’re ever going to eat duck tongue. First, don’t eat the whole thing. This may seem obvious to everyone but me. Look at the first picture above. Those twisty things sticking out on the left side are not, in fact, edible. They are the sinewy, ligamenty, stringy, hard(y) pieces of something that connect the tongue to whatever it’s connected to. (I’d really rather not contemplate what’s at the other end of a tongue.) Again, don’t eat that. All you’re doing is biting off the thing that actually looks like a duck tongue.

Second, don’t bite all the way down. There’s a hard part in the center of the tongue that is also inedible. It’s like an ice cream cone with chocolate in the middle, except you don’t eat this chocolate. Only the ice cream. Ok, with that covered, you basically just gently bite off the end. It’s quite good and quite tender. It’s also not a lot of food, so a plate of duck tongue comes with a whole bunch of them. If you wonder where the tongues come from, they’re from all the ducks that magically turn into Peking Duck.


Peking ducks don’t need their tongues.

Duck tongue doesn’t really remind me of any other meat. It’s certainly nothing like cow tongue, which I’ve had a few times before. It’s not gross at all… once you get over the fact that’s the tongue of a duck. Whatever sauce it’s served with definitely has a lot to do with the flavor.


Seriously?! You’re going to make this at home? And serve it to your kids? I didn’t think so. In this Meals of the Mundo, I won’t include a recipe. If you’re diehard enough to try making duck tongue at home, you’re certainly diehard enough to Google a recipe for it. You’re on your own there, Ace.

Cassie warned me that I need to start adding foods that are a little more appetizing. We started with cola de toro, and now we’re eating lengua de pato. I promised I would not make rabbit heat our next Meal of the Mundo.

Next up: rabbit head! Kidding.

Let’s switch continents and go with a drink instead of a food.

Next up: palinka from Hungary!

Subscribe to 42nd Class

7 Responses to “Meals of the Mundo: Duck Tongue”

  • Disgusting, but glad to know the whole animal is used, and that Cassie didn’t bother. Same obtains in Italy – i.e., they eat the whole animal.

    • Is duck tongue any more or less disgusting than cow tongue or duck heart? Both of those are delicious too!

  • I also had duck-tongue in China! And the feet. 🙂 And I tasted cow-brain…. Not exactly my cup of tea… 🙂 Chicken-feet has also been tasted in Hong-Kong.

    • Good for you! I didn’t have cow brain, but when I ate rabbit head, the brain was definitely hanging out in its little brain cavity. I had chicken feet the next night – way too much work for not enough food, but pretty tasty nonetheless.

  • Oh, some local foods we really don’t need to try :-). Duck tongue doesn’t look too bad. George tried fried grasshoppers in Mexico (salty and crunchy and eaten as a snack). That’s enough for now…

  • Loved this post. Laughed so hard my sides are sore

  • Hmmm…comparing trying amok to trying duck tongue seems a stretch 🙂 I’m glad people like you have an adventurous stomach and palate, so I can read about it without having to experience it myself.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.