Salt and Pepper Fried Duck Tongues

WAIT!! Don’t turn away just yet. If the idea of duck tongues is too much for you, know that you can make this exact recipe with shrimp instead and it’s equally tasty; in fact, this recipe is based on Salt and Pepper Shrimp (椒盐虾), a common Chinese dish that’s one of our favorites. I’ll probably do up the shrimp version of the recipe in the future.

Okay, now that I’ve coaxed you into staying, let’s talk about duck tongues. They’re very different from what you may be expecting from tongue – usually considered dense, muscled, and tough – and are instead tender and succulent. They carry an inherent richness which reminds me of escargot. They have a tender bone in the center of the tongue, that’s mostly cartilage; many people come to relish the slight crunch of eating the whole tongue, bone and all. They’re also very affordable considering their status as a delicacy: US Wellness Meats offers a pack of 50-60 tongues (which I used in making this recipe) for well under $10.

Serves two

1/2 lb duck tongues
1/2 tbsp each tamari or coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 egg white
2 bird’s eye chiles (or similar fresh chiles), deseeded and sliced (more to taste)
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp each salt and white pepper
20 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, lard, or duck fat

Rinse and pat dry your tongues with some paper towels.

Combine the tamari, wine, honey, and fish sauce, then mix with the tongues. Put everything in a ziploc bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes, but up to an hour.

Prep the remaining ingredients as the tongues marinate. Combine the starch, salt and pepper.

Once the tongues have marinated, drain them of any extra liquid and pat dry with paper towels again (do not rinse them).

In a large mixing boil, add the egg whites and whip with a whisk until bubbly and slightly frothy, about 2 minutes.

Add the tongues and mix them with the egg whites, and then pour off any remaining liquid. You want the tongues to be coated but not swimming. Add the starch/salt/pepper, and again mix with your hands until evenly coated.

Heat up the oil in a wok on high heat until shimmering, about 1 minutes, then toss in some of the garlic, maybe about 1/10 of the total amount. Once it starts sizzling, add the tongues and stir fry, tossing almost constantly, until well browned and crispy, 3-4 minutes.

When they’re nice and crispy, remove the tongues and garlic with a slotted spoon and set on some paper towels to drain.

Add the rest of the garlic to the wok, reduce the heat to med/high, and stir fry until golden brown and crispy, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the chiles during the last minute of cooking. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Arrange the duck tongues in a serving dish and pour the garlic and chiles on top, then sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

20 thoughts on “Salt and Pepper Fried Duck Tongues

  1. I’ll defintely try this with the Shrimp first as I’ve been looking for a healthy version of salt and pepper shrimp. And since I’m resolving to eat more organ meats I’ll have to try the duck tongue as well. Looks like one of the ‘safer’ options for organ meats.


  2. I think that I would like these better than some of the ones that I have had in Shanghai. I have usually had them when they are soft and I don’t really like the texture. The taste has been good though. I think the crispy texture would be great.


  3. I have to bite my tongue not to huff and puff now: I have NEVER eaten duck tongue and I would have no idea where to get them. At the same time I am itching to try them!!! Bummer! :-)


    1. Cameron, I’ve only seen duck tongues through online vendors like US Wellness Meats. Maybe ask you local farms if they carry them or know where to go? is also a good resource.


      1. Thank you for your response! You have been an inspiration for my own food blogging. Keep up the good work! I know this is off topic but i dont know where else to ask… Do you know of any good volunteer work where i can use my culinary abilities?


        1. Also in Portland; you can find duck tongues and lots of other amazing food at the asian grocery store in beaverton, right on 117th and canyon behind the petsmart.


  4. This recipe was great – the duck tongues crisped up nicely in the relatively small amount of lard I used (rendered myself). A few things that I changed: 1) Used soy sauce instead of tamari (I’m not on a Paleo diet – just love duck tongues!) 2) Corn starch was fine 3) Wipe out my wok before frying up the second batch of garlic, to get rid of the burned bits of garlic 4) I would use less garlic next time – while tasty, I found that the extra crisped up garlic bits didn’t stick to the duck tongues so I just had a pile of leftover garlic. But yummy recipe and will definitely use it again!


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