Friday, December 25, 2009

Peking Duck, two ways (Updated)

Here's a short video of the fastest carver in Hong Kong!

Peking Duck is one of my favorite dishes of all time and for many reasons. My husband and I joke that if we ever win the lottery, we'd jet to Hong Kong and take my mom out for a bang up Peking Duck. So, on my recent trip to Hong Kong, I made sure I squeezed this in to satisfy my craving. I've not had the traditional Peking Duck since my last trip there 15 yrs. ago when my dad took the whole family out for a HUGE feast, complete with a fruit compote extravaganza in a dry ice display. We'll never forget that meal, the dishes kept coming.

The traditional way of serving Peking Duck is to bring it whole to your table and carve it infront of you. I videotaped her carving, I was so impressed.
The crispy skin with a little of the meat is laid out for you to roll in very thin pancakes, slathered with hoisin sauce, scallions and fresh cucumber strips.

They'll take the duck away and bring back a dish of the duck meat fried with some veggies. Last, they bring the soup made from the carcass, delish. I love this whole ritual, nothing goes to waste. It's what I do with a roast chicken.

Because it's quite expensive to eat it at a restaurant, I searched on the internet for an easy Peking Duck recipe to cook at home. There are many different marinades and techniques used to get that crispy skin which is what makes a good Peking Duck.

These recipes sound easy until you start doing it yourself, the process is grueling. I've been there, done it and I swore I'd never attempt it again. When I lived in Key West, my sisters and I tried a few times to master the technique of getting the skin crispy by using a bicycle pump to separate the skin from the flesh! We took turns to pump as well as hang infront of a fan to get the skin dry! After spending 2 days prepping and finally roasting it and then to find the ducks were tough, old and chewy really made us mad.

Well, I found a fabulous solution from a very smart blogger, Hungry Kittens in Australia for making Peking Duck at home! Wow, the best lightbulb moment I've had in a while. This reflects my whole philosophy of not spending time to make complicated dishes, I've even posted this topic, keep cooking simple and tasty.

Or better yet, you can now edit a "Peking Duck" post and also see more recipes on Foodista, a online cooking encyclopedia that everyone can edit.

Well, another food blogger, The Good Sandwich decided to make Peking Duck for New Year's Eve, here's her amazing first attempt, I wish I lived a bit closer to her.

If you REALLY want to make Peking Duck from scratch, Andrea Nguyen's Peking Duck Meal at Home gives a fantastic step-by-step. Not for the timid.

I had to add this hilarious story about an opera singer's wife who cooked Peking Duck after each performance no matter which country or rental apartment as long as it has knobs, find out what I mean!

Anyhow, I wanted to share the rest of the dishes we had with the Peking Duck at this very good restaurant, Festive China. This was some classy restaurant, I wish we had some in Miami, it's kind of embarrassing that we either have very upscale or lowend and nothing in between! I loved everything about this restaurant.

Here's their beautiful menu design - front and back:

They put a cover over your chair if you have a jacket on it to prevent food splatters.
And while you're eating, as if it's not occupying all of your senses, they even have a flat screen TV so you can follow your favorite soap opera, ha, ha!
We were invited by my mother's friend who told me I could order anything I wanted. I only wanted Peking Duck and didn't realize he was going to order all these other dishes, I felt guilty for ordering such an expensive dish. We had a ton of leftovers to take home and had another full meal (I'll post separately).

We started with this lovely appetizer of crunchy peanuts, endamame and toufu.
Notice the beautiful porcelain serving platters, our teacups had gold plated lids!

Appetizer 2: Shanghainese soup dumplings which squirt when you bite into them, delish.

Appetizer 3: bean curd skin rolls filled with turnip, carrots and vegetarian fare.

Appetizer 4: fish made to look like roast pork (Chinese char siu), not my favorite but interesting texture.

Next, very tender stewed Chinese cabbage with cured ham.
A platter of plain steamed shrimp, very sweet tasting.

Ending with a dessert of crepes filled with red bean paste.
The Peking Duck was totally memorable and now I can have it at home for about $20!
I'll let you know if I'm successful, don't forget to read about Hungry Kittens' great idea.

Festive China is in Festival Walk which is practically across the street from my mother's apartment,
so it was very convenient.
We also had dinner at a lovely Vietnamese Restaurant, Rice Paper which I'll share in another post. The mall was designed by Architectonica, a Miami firm that my husband and I had as guests on our TV show we produced over 15 years ago on Miami Beach.
My niece, Melissa and my mom.

A wonderful bookstore and cafe, PageOne right next to Festive China. I wish we had more stores like this here.
They already had their Christmas decorations and tree up when I was there!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I made a goal to post this by Christmas and I did it, yay.

Tell us your Peking Duck story.

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Peking Duck on FoodistaPeking Duck
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