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Peking Duck 3 Ways

July 5, 2011

While most people are somewhat familiar with this famous duck dish, fewer will have experienced it beyond eating the crisp duck in a crepe or bun form.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with just devouring the shattering skin tucked tightly in a flour crepe with a few slices of scallion and a dash of hoisin sauce, but why stop here when there’s the slowly roasted duck has so much more to offer?  We stumbled upon this off-menu option at Peking Duck House on Mott street in Chinatown two years ago and ever since, once in a while, an email chain among friends starting with something like “mmm duck” will quickly escalate into an excursion to a restaurant that might normally not even have registered on our radar.

This time was no exception.  LZ’s first visit back since moving away from New York almost a year ago had us salivating for this delicious meal so of course, it was designated as the reunion meal.  With 6 of us present, it called for more than the typical order of duck 3 ways and thus another duck simply prepared was added along with our usual order of sauteed string beans.

Cucumbers and scallions, hoisin sauce, jasmin tea

A typical Peking duck meal starts with the condiments and accompaniments to the hands-on meal:  julienned cucumbers and scallions, hoisin sauce and flour crepes.  While the crepes at Peking Duck House more or less resembled flour tortillas, I still prefer it to the steam buns you sometimes see at other restaurants.  Clearly, my focus is 100 percent on getting as much of the duck as possible.


The Peking Duck

After an obligatory presentation of the star of the meal to its hungry guests, the duck is carved swiftly at table side.

The full spread

Within 5 minutes, our meal ready for us to dig in.

My own wrap

A piece of steaming crepe, a slice of crispy duck skin, a few wisps of scallions and a drizzle of hoisin sauce, my wrap is one biter (personal preference but it’s perfectly okay to squeeze a few more slices of duck in to make a small burrito).

Sauteed duck meat with bean sprouts and scallions

A normal Peking duck dinner would end here or if you somehow got suckered into the prix fixe, you will move onto other entrees and have missed out on a crowd pleaser, Duck No. 2.  Strands of moist duck meat is tossed quickly with bean sprouts and scallions with a light sweet soy glaze.  Eaten over rice or even wrapped up into a crepe, the dish makes you wonder why this is not offered to every table automatically.
Duck No. 3 is a large cauldron of soup, made with the duck bones, Chinese Napa cabbage, and firm tofu.  The milky broth, lightly salted and slightly sweet from the cabbage and tofu pieces, makes for a nice refreshing relief from the rest of the meal.

Sauteed green beans with minced pork

Lastly, a little hint of green for the plate.  Even though it might seem mundane, the green beans capture our hearts every time.
Well there you go, a feast of Peking Duck 3 ways at the Peking Duck House on Mott Street.  Even though you might be tempted to order the prix fixe menu with all the bells and whistles (including 2 entrees and table side service for the wraps), no one should ever be robbed of the joy of making your own duck wrap and that first bite after a long hiatus – not to mention the delicious sautee and refreshing soup!
Peking Duck House | 28 Mott Street, New York, NY 10013 | http://www.pekingduckhousenyc.com

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