When you order a duck at Dha Rae Oak, you need to call four hours in advance, explains pleasurepalate, who also says it will take three or four hungry diners to finish one. The duck is stuffed with purple rice, walnuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, dried fruit, and Chinese herbs, then wrapped in a cheesecloth and stuffed in a vertical clay pot. It's then introduced to a specialized Korean ceramic oven, imported by the owner of Dha Rae Oak to the U.S, where it is roasted for four hours.
Finally, the duck arrives at the table. Most of the duck fat has been rendered out through the cooking process, and the skin has almost disappeared. "When I turned the plate for a side view, you could actually take a first glimpse of that sticky purple rice that is one of the ingredients the duck is stuffed with," says pleasurepalate. "Finally, our server splits open the duck and you could see all the glory inside. Amazing!"
The duck is tender and lean, its own fat replaced with the dense lusciousness of long-roasted nuts. This is not a dish for those who crave crispy duck skin. There is none of that. But it's worth trying, says pleasurepalate.
Dha Rae Oak [Koreatown]
1108 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles