Quack!

I’m going to step away from music reviews in this post and talk food.  Now I know less about food than I know about music, so take what I say with a grain of salt (thank you, thank you I’ll be here all week).  This past weekend I had a food experience I’ve never had before: peking duck.  The venue:  House of Duck in the Monterey Park neighborhood of L.A.  The food: two peking ducks with accompanying fixins (more on that in a sec), duckbone soup, and a bean sprout dish with duck.

Peking duck is made from a specific kind of duck called Pekin Duck (what you were thinking they’d be made from Cantonese Duck?).  After the duck is slaughtered, air is supposed to be used to separate the duck’s skin from the underlying layer of fat.  The duck is then hung and covered with a layer of malt sugar, then cooked until the skin turns a golden brown.

While it’s apparently often carved tableside, our two ducks were brought out already carved. I was a little bummed by that, as I was expecting this (not the singing waiters, but the whole duck coming out and seeing the head lopped off).  As you can see from the picture, the skin is definitely brown and there’s more of the skin than meat.  Served with the duck were pancakes (think a very thin tortilla), scallions, and hoisin sauce.  The idea is to wrap up the skin/meat in the pancake with the scallion and hoisin.

So, how’d it taste?  Not carrying the burden of a nuanced palate, my take was that it was good, but not something that caused rainbows to shoot out of my mouth after eating it.  The skin was definitely crispy, and for the most part fat-free.  It reminded me of a slightly spiced bacon, and that’s certainly a good thing.  The meat was not dried out, which is always a good thing when it comes to poultry.  When mixed with the hoisin and scallions in the pancake, the taste of the skin was cut down a bit.

Next came out the duckbone soup.  This was a clear broth that had some tofu and cabbage in it.  It had a salty flavor but was pretty bland.  We also had a bean sprout dish that had bits of duck and some scallion in it.   There didn’t seem to be a discernable sauce, though the bean sprouts had a glazed look and it was tasty, though again not something that knocked my socks off.

Overall, a good meal with the winner being the duck skin.  I’d like to try it again sometime now that I have a baseline to compare it to, though it’s not something that I’m so excited about that I’m rushing out to find a place in DC that serves peking duck.

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One Response to “Quack!”

  1. tsblogger Says:

    Dude, I love Peking duck. And what was served in the picture looks good! I guess we all have a our favorite things. Peking duck is certain among my top 10.

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