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China King 3-Course Peking Duck Report 12/5/12


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China King 3-Course Peking Duck Report 12/5/12

Klunco | Dec 8, 2012 09:58 AM

I should preface that I've only had the full Peking Duck treatment twice before in my life: once at the now defunct Tse Yang in New York about four years ago, and once in Beijing two years ago at a place that specialized in it. Therefore I don't have a ton of comparisons, but have a vague context.

The restaurant, which is not listed on google maps, is on Beach street right next to Taiwan Cafe. The day before I called around noon to reserve the 3-course Peking Duck for $38 as they require 24 hours advance notice. The traffic was horrible that night (as was parking) and although I was very late for my reservation, they were very gracious and held the duck without a real loss of quality. I will say that the family who runs China King are super friendly and really wanted us to enjoy the feast. They kept looking at us throughout the meal (even the chefs were peeking out from the kitchen) but they all genuinely seemed to want to make sure that we enjoyed it and were having a good time.

Course one came out and the first thing I noticed were the housemade pancakes. These things will ruin you for all other commercial version in the future. Twice as thick as normal ones, these had a nice chew and were slightly blistered in parts from the hot wok. A generous number (12) were provided along with sliced scallions and hoisin sauce. The duck was presented on a large plate cut into squares (along with two legs) and the first thing I noticed upon biting into a piece was the subtle, clean flavor or the marinade. Not too salty, with a distinct orange sweetness, but nothing overpowering, the flavor of the duck itself was able to shine through and didn't have to compete. The skin had a very thin layer of meat underneath, so not the shattering into a million pieces crispness of what I had in Beijing, but more of a the mouthfeel of medium well bacon. Crunchy on top, but with a melting fat underneath. Honestly, I could just have this for my feast.

We asked for the housemade noodles to be added to course two and the stir fry came out piping hot to the table. The noodles were thick, round, and perfectly cooked with a nice chewy bite to them. The pieces of duck in the stir fry were tender and abundant and once again the flavor of the duck came through. The stir fry was well seasoned and flavorful but not oily.

By the time the third course soup came out we were all hitting the wall. It was hard not to after the first and second courses. Once again though, what surprised me was how distinct and clear the flavors were. It was a delicious soup with a calming but very well flavored stock with thin noodles and some green veggies. It was a soothing finish for the meal.

For $38 for the duck and a couple more to add the noodles, four people left stuffed along with leftovers (mostly the soup). If you haven't made it down to China King yet, I highly recommend. It's an insane deal for a really delicious feast with friendly hosts.

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