Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I figured it was appropriate to blog about a place I LOVED when I ate there recently.
I don’t think of Chinatown as destination eating. Sure, you can get some great dim sum and the markets are fun, but I usually just end up there. I don’t make it a point to go there, but when my coworker told me about this place, I knew we had to try it. So Mike and I met my 2 coworkers and their girlfriends at Peking Duck House (at 28 Mott Street) one Saturday for lunch. There is another location on 53rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves), but we went all the way to Chinatown to do it right.
We started with some cold peanutty noodles that came with cucumbers. It was good, but nothing overly special.
A few people got soup, which was quite tasty.
We also had to try some dim sum, so we went with pork. These were just okay.
Nothing was outstanding to this point, but when they started to set the table for the duck, I got excited. The put some hoison-type sauce on the table.
Along with tortillas (tortillas? I thought this was Chinese?), cucumbers, and scallions.
Then the ducks came out! (WARNING… if you are overly disturbed by food with a head on it… Debbie… this may be a good time to skip to the end of this blog).
The smell was heavenly! And you could see right away how crispy that skin was.
Their website describes the process as follows: “One of The most sophisticated arts of Chinese Cooking. We prepare well in advance. First, air is first pumped into the duck to stretch and loosen the skin, and then boiled water is repeatedly spread over the bird, which is then carefully dried. The dried skin is rubbed all over with maltose and the duck is then roasted in a hot oven for a period of time until the meat is tender and the skin crispy.”
And BOY was it crispy!
A chef came out and expertly carved up that duck with incredible speed and perfectly even slices.
Just look at that! My mouth is watering just thinking about this place!
I made a number of my own wraps, even learning how to expertly wrap them from the native Californians who knew just how to wrap a perfect duck burrito.
Overall, I can’t believe food can taste this good in Chinatown. I’ve had Peking Duck before, but it never tasted like this. The presentation, carving, and tortillas make it fun, but the duck itself stands all on its own. The two ducks were plenty to serve 6 of us, even if we didn’t get the apps. They are a wee bit pricey at $43 a pop, but when they feed 3 people, it’s a fantastic deal. I cannot wait to go back!
Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10