Authorities will allow a well-known Chinese Peking duck restaurant to open branches here, but will bar the import of ducks from China because of fears they might be infected with bird flu, an official said yesterday.
An official of the Council of Agriculture said former People First Party (PFP) legislator and now a businessman Hsieh Chang-chieh (
"Bird flu has been found in China," said the official. "We will not allow the import of birds from any affected countries."
Five people are known to have died in China from the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease. The country has reported 28 outbreaks of birds since Oct. 19.
Taiwan has reported no indigenous cases, but last year several birds smuggled from China and intercepted by the Taiwanese coast guard tested positive in a Taiwanese lab.
Hsieh told the local Chinese-language newspaper the United Daily News that he would use Taiwanese ducks when he opens his first franchise of the Quanjude restaurant in October.
He was quoted by the newspaper as saying he would send chefs to Beijing to study Quanjude's special way of raising the birds by stuffing them with grain in an attempt to replicate the Beijing's restaurant's flavor.
Peking duck is considered a special treat in northern Chinese cuisine.
The Quanjude version of the dish is renowned for its tender meat and crispy, oil-glazed skin.