Sunday, November 23, 2008

Peking Duck House

Last month we celebrated my friend Khin's (aka one of my sexiest gf) birthday at Peking Duck House. She was in the mood for Peking duck so she asked me which restaurant I recommend for some good Peking duck. Honestly, I don't think I ever had good Peking duck in New York before because all of them (expensive or cheap) taste the same. It's either with the bun or the pancake (usually the expensive ones are w/ the pancake and cheaper one w/ the buns-I personally like the pancake). Most of the time we order Peking duck from the banquet style Chinese restaurant or at the Chinese buffet. They all taste like regular roasted duck with out the bones and with extra stuff. Once in a while, Andy and I would even have cheap peking duck ($15 for 1/2 duck) for lunch at Chinatown and it taste just like those. So when Khin ask me where to go, I asked her if she's willing to pay more or less for duck. She suggested Peking Duck House since it was suppose to be their "specialty" but I was skeptical about it but I said sure why not!

So what should REAL Peking duck be like? Well it should have thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. I remember seeing an Iron Chef episode of battle duck, Ming Tsai (against Bobby Flay) prepared a Peking duck the traditional way by separating the skin from the fat by blowing air in the area between them and then baked it. He used a air compressor to do this, before electrical air compressors chefs use to use bicycle pumps and before that they used a wooden straw to blow air into the duck. It was so fascinating seeing him prepare this dish and the most impressive part was he made it within an hour. At the end, he won the iron chef for battle duck.

Okay let see what kind of Peking duck we got from Peking Duck House...

We ordered the banquet menu and added a duck so we had 3 ducks! The banquet menu for 10 people ($280.00) included:

Soup:Hot & Sour Soup
It was way tooo salty. It was the worst hot and sour soup I've ever tasted.
Shrimp Ball, Spare Ribs with Honey
Nothing special with any of them, the ribs tasted really funky.

Peking Duck (2) + (1)
-crispy skin = yes
-serving mostly the skin and little meat = yes
-sliced in front of the diners by the cook = NO!
I think we totally got riped off of the whole Peking Duck experience because they were slicing it somewhere in the back corner. They ended up bring the tray of the individual wrapped up duck. All of us was expecting to see the cook slice the duck and prepare it in front of us but we were all disappointed. I guess they were so busy they didn't care for the presentation of preparing the dish for us and just wanted to serve it ASAP. Overall the duck tasted good, the skin was quite crispy and meat was juicy so I can't complain too much.

The sauce we used for the different dishes we had:
hosin sauce, duck sauce, muster, hot chilli sauce

Sauteed Prawns w. Ginger & Scallions:
**oops-sorry no pic, imagine prawns saute ginger and scallion**
-it wasn't memorable

Beef Broccoli-
Nothing good or special about this dish, tasted very saucy like any other Chinese take out place.

Crispy Seabass-
I guess since we had more then 10 people they gave us an extra fish dish which was very good! It was topped with sweet and sour sauce and the seabass skin was very crispy. Very tasty, I liked it! Finally something that I liked....

Chicken with Orange Flavor:
I also like this dish, the orange flavor tasted really good and it wasn't too sweet.

Crispy String Beans with Minced Pork
**oops-sorry no pic, imagine string beans w/ some minced pork!**
-it wasn't memorable

Fried Rice-
it was good, tasted like what it should be....nothing special

Dessert: Fried Banana with Walnuts
a little piece of banana fried w/ a little walnut on top. It wasn't satisfying...
Thank goodness we brought our own desert, ube cake:

Ube (or ubi) is the Filipino word for purple yam. It contains pigments that gives its violet color. Isn't it so pretty! It taste like cake with alot of yam favors covered with vanilla icing and bits of yams in the middle. It was my first time trying this cake and it was very yummi. My experience at the Peking Duck house was as expected disappointing. It was exactly what I thought it would be, high priced Chinese food that shouldn't be that expensive. Each of us ended up paying around $50 bucks. I think I might come back just for the duck but not for the other food and especially not for the banquet style menu. Next time I'm taking Khin to eat the cheaper kind and see what she thinks....

Happy Birthday Khin <3
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Peking Duck House
28 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 227-1810

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