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Restaurants & Bars

Five Happiness: Duck, Duck, Duck Chowdown Report (and Dessert Creations at Hui Lau Shan)

Melanie Wong | Apr 2, 200911:26 PM     34

Tonight 22 chowhounds gathered at Five Happiness in San Francisco for a duck trifecta: tea-smoked duck, Peking duck with pancakes and tianmian jiang (TWO per table!) and eight treasures stuffed duck. This was a farewell and send-off for our comrade de chow, “Dave MP”, who is leaving San Francisco for life abroad.

The meal kicked off with a gorgeous cold appetizer platter featuring jellyfish, spicy calamari, five-spiced beef shank, mock duck tofu skins, and drunken chicken (boneless). Tea-smoked duck served with hoisin sauce was up next. Then the Peking duck with separate slices of skin and meat, thick and chewy pancakes, slivers of the whitish part of the scallion, and tianmian jiang. Slippery, lightly gingered silk squash (aka loofah or Chinese okra) provided a vegetable interlude. Then egg whites stir-fried with chopped shrimp topped with a tiny mince of Virginia ham was served with a carafe of zhejiang black vinegar to add an accent. The Shanxi knife-cut noodles were even better than at my lunch time visit. This was followed by the stuffed duck nestled in a layer of lotus leaves fragrant from the steamer. The last course was the duck soup, made from the carcass of our Peking ducks, augmented with Napa cabbage, squares of firm tofu and lots of fresh ginger. “dordogne” provided tangerines for a sweet finish for our table.

Winewise, our table enjoyed the 2006 von Hövel Scharzhofberger Spätlese with the cold platter. Then the 1982 Chateau l’Arrosee St. Emilion, which I brought thinking it might be Dave’s birth year . . . but I missed it by a month. This took a while to open up and I was wishing for more fruit to go with Peking duck’s sweet condiment though it was beautiful on its own. We also had the 2007 Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel and 2006 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone.

Tab for our table including corkage, tax and a generous tip came to $24 per person, what a steal. We also had a celebrity sighting, which I’ll leave to ChowFun to report. Did I forget anything? Please tell us your favorites of the night, and let's hear from the other table.

Then the diehards took a second spin of parking roulette in the Richmond District and decamped for Hui Lau Shan aka Creations Dessert House. A table for eight was waiting for us. I’ll let someone else describe dessert.

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Creations Dessert House
5217 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

Five Happiness
4142 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

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