May 12, 2017

Classic and fatty Peking duck

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It's been a while since I last had the pleasure of Da Jam's company at a dining table, so when he suggested that we go and have some Peking duck at Spring Deer (鹿鳴春) - an old school place popular with tourists and locals alike - I didn't hesitate to say "YES".

Just to set the matter straight... Many of us Chinese people don't eat Peking duck on a regular basis.  Not that there's anything wrong with ordering Peking duck, but... there are tons of other dishes that we prefer to order - especially in a city with such variety of choice when it comes to Chinese food.  As I've discussed when entertaining foodie friends from out of town, I find myself ordering it mostly when I'm in the company of... you guess it... Caucasian visitors.  And my last visit to this restaurant was with visitors in town from the US - although one of them was originally from Hong Kong.

I left it up to Da Jam and Kung Fu Panda to take care of ordering the dishes, especially when Da Jam seemed to know his way around this place.

Saute pig's windpipe with coriander (鹽爆管廷) - it's been a while since I last had the pig's windpipe, and I do like it for its springy texture.  Traditionally it's sliced and scored so that it looks like a centipede or vertebrae - in other words, a little freaky.  Da Jam told me that they usually put a ton of salt in the dish, so he had already requested for the kitchen to dial it down.  Very tasty and fragrant with all that coriander.  Love the (almost) raw garlic, too!

Mock goose (素鵝) - not exactly Pekinese but still OK.

Sliced pork, garlic and chilli sauce (韓國肉) - I have no idea why this is called "Korean meat". Not surprisingly someone at the table wondered if this were dog meat...  Not bad.

Duck liver steamed in fermented rice (糟蒸鴨肝) - this is apparently off-menu, and in fact I did check the menu thoroughly and failed to see it.  I really loved this.  The duck liver ranged from pinkish and reddish inside, and the texture was reasonably tender.  And the fragrance from the alcohol in the fermented rice was pretty alluring.  It's too bad that the portion was too big for us.  After all, there's a limit to how much liver I can eat in one sitting...

Barbecued Peking duck, part 1 (烤北京填鴨) - the pièce de résistance.  The Great One had paid this restaurant a visit just two days ago, and she didn't get her duck carved table-side.  So we made sure that we got ours carved within our line of sight.  And it was every bit as glorious as I remembered.  The liquid fat and juices flowed down the side of the duck as the chef expertly sliced pieces off the bird, while one could see the steam rising from the cavity.

We ended up with two plates of sliced duck, and DAMN!  This was GOOD!  I love the crispy skin and that layer of fat between the skin and the meat.  Biting down on the skin puts pressure on the fat underneath, and the liquid fat starts oozing out and coats my tongue and the inside of my mouth.  The hell with Dong Zhenxiang (董振祥) and his "superlean" duck at DaDong, I want my duck fat!!!

But the pancakes here always suck.  They always end up sticking together and tear when you try to separate them.

Pan-fried bean curd with shrimp roe (蝦子鍋塌豆腐) - pretty tasty, and this disappeared quickly.

Crispy shredded scallop and bamboo shoots (干燒二鬆笋) - this was really, really good.  The bamboo shoots weren't the usual succulent kind, and were kinda on the fibrous side, but no matter.  The beauty lies in the finely shredded crispy scallop sprinkled on top of everything, as well as the crunchy deep-fried leafy mustard (雪裡紅).  Of course the candied walnuts were great, too.

Deep fried mutton by Peking style (京燒羊肉) - this has always been tasty, and tonight what we got was no exception.  Very tender and succulent, and very, very lamby - which was awesome for me.

Barbecued Peking duck, part 2: stir-fried minced duck (鴨崧生菜包) - I thought it was a shame to just have our Peking duck with the first preparation, so we decided to have it minced and served in lettuce cups.  Not too bad, but I've had better.

I hadn't planned on drinking wine here tonight, because I knew we had a reservation at a bar next door.  I also knew that the restaurant wouldn't have any decent wine glasses.  But in the end, I figured I'd bring a bottle along anyway in order to run down my inventory.  I also brought along four decent glasses, so some of us had to share.  Kung Fu Panda also brought along the leftovers of a nice bottle of Sherry.

2000 Clos Badon - smoky, a little earthy, with grilled meats and nice fruit.

González Byass Apostoles - lovely nose with nutty, honey, grapey nose, along with a hint of savory notes like salty plum.

It was a pretty good dinner, and we adjourned to Bar Buonasera nearby for a couple of more drinks.  Girlie drinks for me, naturally...

1 comment:

Michael L said...

鹿鳴春 is always dear to me. My dad used to take us there once a year in winter. It was "the dinner" that the whole family looks forward for the whole year. The old man being the old man, and he always ordered the same dishes. He made the same comment year after year "the fish is too bony, let's not order that", "the 圓蹄 is too expensive", blah blah blah... But the Peking Duck has always been classic.

Have not been back since the old man passed away 5 years back, but still very happy to see the food is the same


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