Forget foie gras, there's a new waterfowl delicacy in town - duck blood.

From duck blood tofu noodles to other solidified duck blood curd dishes, Auckland Chinese restaurant operators say these are now in high demand.

Duck blood is a common ingredient used in China and Taiwan, but had been near impossible to find in Auckland restaurants - until now.

Yo Yo Duan, 33, co-owner of newly-opened Yuema Restaurant in Albany, said its duck blood in chilli oil was one of the more popular items on the menu.

Advertisement

"We believe that eating duck blood can cleanse our own internal organs and blood, and it is very popular especially among Northern Chinese," said Duan, originally from Henan.

"A lot of customers eat it because I think the dish reminds them of home."

The main ingredient of the dish, xuewang, is coagulated duck blood cooked with tripe, beef, bean sprouts and Sichuan pepper and chilli oil in chicken broth.

"The most difficult part about is getting enough supplies to meet demand, because duck blood is not widely available," added Duan.

I-Yeti Restaurant in the central city also serves duck blood tofu in spicy sauce, and staff said it was popular among Chinese international students.

Massey University China specialist, associate professor Henry Chung, said eating duck blood was very common in China especially during winter.

"It is probably the most important ingredient in Sichuan fire pot cooking," Chung said.

"There is an old Chinese saying that says your body would gain something in return from whatever you have taken in - so your blood would benefit from the blood you have consumed."

Legend has it that a poor man in Nanjing once killed a duck and used a bowl to contain its blood.

But he spilled some noodles into the bowl by accident, cooked them together and the dish turned out to be delicious.

A rich man who heard the story employed the poor man to cook it for his family, and duck blood soup became popular.

Chung said duck blood was an "untapped resource" and had the potential to be the next big export item.

Last year Taiwanese health authorities found duck blood supplies there to be contaminated with metallic biotoxins.

Duck blood in chilli oil at Yuema Restaurant in Albany. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Duck blood in chilli oil at Yuema Restaurant in Albany. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"I think this item would be popular coming from New Zealand, with its clean environment," he said.

"Who knows, we may create another successful 'gooseberry story' where we market it to its country of origin, China."

There are currently four primary processors that were registered to process ducks for human consumption here, according to the Ministry of Primary Industries.

"If duck blood is being supplied from NZ businesses they must operate under the Animal Products Act 1999," a ministry spokeswoman said.

"The production of duck blood must also be included in their registered risk management programmes."

She said the ministry conducted regular checks to ensure they followed their registered programmes and managed food safety risks.

"These programmes are designed to make sure that products are fit for their intended purpose, for example human consumption," the spokeswoman added.

WHERE TO HAVE DUCK BLOOD:

• Yuema Restaurant, 12A/14 Corinthian Drive, Albany
• I-Yeti, 450 Queen St, Auckland