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Best Peking Duck in or around Toronto?

Renee Jun 9, 2006 01:46 PM

First post here - nice to meet you all. What's the recommendations on the best Peking Duck within a civilized drive of downtown Toronto? The guest of honor is still pining for Champion House, so that's the benchmark we're hoping to meet, if anyone recalls them. Price isn't a big factor - he wants BEST. All suggestions very welcome! Thanks in advance.

  1. Charles Yu Dec 22, 2010 05:50 AM

    Just in case fellow chowhounder uses this 'outdated' thread to search for best Peking Duck. Like to add 'Brilliant Chinese Restaurant' on 7220 Kennedy, Markham as an updated addition!

    1. t
      toveggiegirl Sep 9, 2009 03:33 PM

      You might enjoy reading Gina Mallet's recent article about her Peking Duck "marathon" in the GTA.. She gave Chung King the highest star rating.

      Also, in this month's Village Post, Janice Warren reviews the recently opened Zin and although she has some issues with the restaurant, she "swoons" over the Peking Duck ($28/half duck, $48/whole).

      9 Replies
      1. re: toveggiegirl
        skylineR33 Sep 9, 2009 04:32 PM

        Agree that Chung King is good at Peking Duck as mentioned in some of my previous post. It is almost the only place I order Peking Duck in Toronto area nowaday.

        1. re: toveggiegirl
          auberginegal Sep 28, 2009 10:44 AM

          after reading about the comments in this thread about Chung King Garden, i went there for the first time for a family dinner, and everyone agreed it was the best peking duck they've had in the GTA (after trying the likes of Ambassador, Peking Man, Emperor and others). great, crispy skin with little to no fat under the skin, thin pancakes that aren't too doughy...the only thing i wish they had (also noted by gina makllet in her article) were the deep fried glass noodles with the lettuce folds course. the fried noodles would have added a great texture to the relatively soft stir-fried duck meat/veg mixture. will definitely be back!

          1. re: auberginegal
            EarlyDrive Sep 18, 2010 06:38 PM


            Had the Peking Duck at Lai Wah Heen today -- thought it was absolutely delicious. Also thought I'd like to try some other recommended versions around the GTA, to compare.


            Lai Wah Heen
            108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

            1. re: EarlyDrive
              ekim256 Sep 18, 2010 08:14 PM

              Chung King Garden: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733543

              So good, but I haven't been to LWH


              Chung King Garden Restaurant
              4394 Steeles Ave E, Markham, ON L3R9V9, CA

              1. re: ekim256
                EarlyDrive Sep 19, 2010 03:43 AM

                Thanks ekim.

                You mention a tian mian jian sauce served alongside -- is this different than hoisin? I'm pretty sure the LWH sauce was hoisin.

                1. re: EarlyDrive
                  ekim256 Sep 19, 2010 09:54 AM

                  I'm no expert but I think that it's very similar - both are a black bean sauce and from what I understand you can use both for glazing, cooking, and dipping. My weak memories of pho (I don't eat it very often) suggest that hoisin is thicker but have a similar taste. Another black bean sauce that comes to mind is the stuff on Jajamyun (Korean black bean sauce noodles, one of my favs!) and that's thicker and denser. I love black bean sauces!

                  Perhaps LWH was hoisin - check out the "Step 1" pic: http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/2010/09/chung-king-garden-peking-duck-yum.html#wrap
                  (if you click it you can see the full-sized version) and you can see what I mean about the consistency. Those are my thoughts, but I bet someone else here can give you a more definitive answer!


                  1. re: EarlyDrive
                    ekim256 Sep 19, 2010 09:56 AM

                    I should note that I assumed it was tian mian jian because my friend told me that that's what they serve with Peking Duck - I didn't ask the waiter. Just in case if it was hoisin sauce...I don't wish to be misleading

                    1. re: EarlyDrive
                      Charles Yu Sep 19, 2010 03:20 PM

                      Tian Mian Jian is just your basic 'sweet bean paste' made with soya bean, salt, sugar, maltose, sesame..etc. Hoisin Sauce is a more elaborate version of this 'base' sauce whereby garlic and spices such as star anise, clove, SC peppercorn...etc are added. In Beijing, traditional ducks are actually served with the basic sauce.

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        EarlyDrive Sep 19, 2010 03:36 PM

                        Ah, thanks a lot, that's very interesting.

                        Do you have a sense of what is used in Toronto, at LWH for example?

            2. a
              Apprentice Sep 9, 2009 11:06 AM

              Is the Emperor price of 19.99 per person?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Apprentice
                Charles Yu Sep 9, 2009 04:39 PM

                The Peking duck serve two ways is $39.99 regular and only $18.88 on Mondays. IMO, enough skin, meat and pancakes for at least four people.

              2. Charles Yu Aug 26, 2009 07:51 PM

                ' Emperor' at Bayview and Blackmoor offers a Peking Duck special every Mondays. Regular $39.99, special price only $19! Duck serves two ways. Just tried it out two days ago and was superb!! Very nice pancakes and very crisp skin.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu
                  ellesie Sep 8, 2009 11:23 AM

                  After seeing Charles' recommendation of Emperor's Monday night special, I was excited to try their Peking duck. Little did I know that I would be made to wait an hour without getting to eat.

                  When we walked in, we were told that the special was sold out and that reservations were usually required. We decided to come back another time, but the host asked us to stay so he could try to fit us in.

                  After waiting a couple of minutes, he found us a table, took our order and walked away. Twenty minutes had passed when a waiter came by and asked to take our order. We explained that the host had already written it down, so he left. Another twenty go by. I’m starting to get worried since many other tables had been served.

                  I ask a waitress to check on our duck, which she yells to another waiter to do. Finally, it’s been a full hour so I ask the waiter if he’s checked yet. He says that he hasn’t, but will. At this point, we’re starving so we decided to leave; however, I wanted to let the host know what had happened.

                  After I finish going over the entire story (i.e. “You asked us to stay. You took our order. We waited an hour and never got any food.”) He says exasperatingly, “Okay, okay, okay. Thank you for coming.” and leaves us standing at the entrance.

                  Needless to say, I will NEVER go back to this establishment again. I am Chinese and have been to many Chinese restaurants in the GTA. I’m used to rude, chaotic service, but this was beyond anything I have ever experienced. It doesn’t matter how good the food is if you’re treated this poorly.

                  1. re: ellesie
                    shekamoo Sep 19, 2010 08:20 AM

                    the service at emperor can easily drift away from ordinarily expected rudeness to shocking inappropriateness. I too will never return. I posted my experience there on this board some time ago but it got deleted for some reason, so I would not bother again. suffice to say that it was well beyond the pale

                2. f
                  FlavoursGal Dec 15, 2006 07:37 PM

                  We had a really good Peking duck at Peking Man, on Sheppard just west of Leslie (across from IKEA). The rest of the meal was very good, too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FlavoursGal
                    f00die Jan 30, 2008 12:32 PM

                    Anyone ever tried the peking duck at Markham Peking House? How about their other dishes?

                  2. a
                    aphie Nov 30, 2006 03:02 AM

                    speaking of peking duck ripoffs, my friends and i found out that at Asian Legend, if you refuse to pay extra for a greasy overfried crystal fold second course (which we've had on a previous occasion and decided not to get again), you don't get the rest of the duck in any form. maybe i've been eating at too many cheap chinese joints, but at 29.95/duck, it seems like they should at least chop up the rest of the duck for you.

                    1. c
                      ctl98 Nov 29, 2006 04:49 AM

                      The second course was minced duck but the manager said they didn't serve lettuce with it normally. But since I had mentioned lettuce to the server, they gave us some (without telling us they were going to charge us for it). Of course I talked to the manager after I got the bill but he did say that the 2nd course was minced duck and not soup of fried bones. I even asked him if they really charged $5 for lettuce and he said yes, that's what lettuce costs. Needless to say, that turned me off Bright Pearl forever.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ctl98
                        Teep Nov 29, 2006 02:48 PM

                        OK, that is a bad experience. Even though there is some work involved and a lot of wastage to get lettuce leaves in the right size and shape for Crystal Fold, charging $5 for that is a rip off. BTW I don't even like Bright Pearl, in case anyone thinks I'm defending them!

                      2. c
                        ctl98 Nov 29, 2006 02:18 AM

                        One night we were craving Peking Duck and Bright Pearl was the only restaurant that was not packed. So we went and ordered the duck. For the 2nd way, we asked if they served the minced duck in lettuce leaves and our server said they did. So imagine my surprise when we got the bill and saw they had charged us $5 for the lettuce!!! They never mentioned this when we asked about the 2nd course. And $5?! That can get me 5 whole heads of lettuce. Is it normal to be charged for lettuce for the 2nd course of the Peking Duck?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ctl98
                          Teep Nov 29, 2006 03:14 AM

                          No it's not really just for the lettuce leaves, but for the extra work and ingredients required. (What was the original second course? soup?) We've also done that (elsewhere) and we were told "that will be $5 extra" right away, perhaps the server did not speak enough English or felt uncomfortable to say that?

                          Also perhaps they just wrote "lettuce" as a short hand.

                          1. re: Teep
                            KevinB Jan 30, 2008 07:37 PM

                            This has never happened to us in any of the Richmond Hill spots where we've tried the duck. The menu says "Peking Duck (2 courses) $XX", and that's what we get charged.

                        2. q
                          qtxniki Oct 4, 2006 11:57 PM

                          I've had the duck at Asian Legend. It is decent.

                          Also, I recommend Lai wah heen and King's Garden.

                          There is a place in Pacific Mall food court, that make AMAZING roasted meats, called Shark Fin City. It's not peking duck, but their roasted duck and pig is outstanding. Best in the city! I'm not so impressed with their shark fin products though (ironic).

                          1. a
                            Atahualpa Oct 4, 2006 04:34 AM

                            Ambassador does a really nice Peking Duck too. Hwy. 7 and Leslie (actually one block west at West Beaver Creek). Not downtown, but only 15 minutes up the DVP/404 if it isn't rush hour. Much easier to get too than the middle of Markham for a downtowner (we live at Danforth and Greenwood).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Atahualpa
                              KevinB Jan 30, 2008 07:35 PM

                              Second this recommendation. We've had duck there at least 30-40 times over the past ten years, and it's always been good (the second course in lettuce leaves is equally tasty).

                            2. f
                              fickle Oct 3, 2006 10:26 PM

                              Not downtown but my favourite is Chung King Garden Restaurant in Markham. They make a fabulous peking duck. I went with my super critical aunt upon her recommendation and have to agree that it's the best I've ever had. They're located at 4394 Steeles Ave E at Kennedy Road in the Markham Village Shopping Centre behind Pacific Mall next to Ginger and Onion. You'll need reservations, it's always packed. Their phone number is 905-513-8788.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: fickle
                                Brain of J Oct 3, 2006 10:42 PM

                                Chung King is excellent, but bring cash---no credit cards accepted!

                                1. re: fickle
                                  thegreatfoodhunt Oct 4, 2006 01:38 AM

                                  I agree, Chung King Garden has a great peking duck. The skin is crispy and there's barely any fat between the meat and the skin.

                                  1. re: fickle
                                    wan_ohh Dec 15, 2006 06:07 PM

                                    Chung King Garden Restaurant in Markham only take reservations for parties of 6 or more.

                                    1. re: fickle
                                      jennjen18 Feb 25, 2008 01:24 PM

                                      Did Champion become Chung King? Is it the same? I'm thinking of the row of townhouses at Market Village, where the Mongolian Grill is ... is that where it is?

                                      1. re: jennjen18
                                        kingfencer May 9, 2010 07:00 AM

                                        been there a few times, yeah, there duck is pretty damm good. cripsy, and comes with chips.

                                    2. e
                                      eco987 Oct 3, 2006 07:22 PM

                                      I say Dragon Dynasty. But I seem to always say Dragon Dynasty. Though I haven't eaten peking duck in T.O. much. I did try the Golden Court one a couple of months ago and was disappointed that it was served with steamed flat bun dough. I too and a traditionalist for the flat mandarin pancakes.

                                      I did duck one Thanksgiving using the Four Seasons Chicago duck recipe that was on Martha Stewart's show. Sooooooo good. Duck stuffing (I just added stuffing, the recipe didn't ask for it) puts Turkey stuffing to shame. Must be all that duck fat.

                                      1. y
                                        YummyYummy Oct 3, 2006 04:03 PM

                                        I'd love some other suggestions too. Definitely have heard some good things about Champion House for Peking Duck. I actually feel like suggesting duck for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. LOL ;)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: YummyYummy
                                          Smalph Oct 4, 2006 05:57 PM

                                          We ended up going to King's Garden on King (across from Roy Thomson). While some of the food was unimpressive (the TWENTY-TWO dollar "Stewed Asparagus in Supreme Sauce with Garlic" was a small handful of asparagus in a greyish sauce of indeterminate ingredients plus some roasted garlic cloves), the Peking Duck was really quite good. We'd go back for that, for sure.

                                        2. Food Tourist Oct 3, 2006 02:14 PM

                                          I had great peking duck at Lai Wah Heen a few years ago. I'm looking for the best peking duck now, too. I would happily return to Lai Wah Heen, but are there any other non-fried duck places with great atmosphere in the GTA?

                                          1. d
                                            Delish Jun 9, 2006 02:42 PM

                                            We've had great peking duck a bunch of times from Golden Leaf. It's on the east side of Spadina, north of Dundas.

                                            The peking duck is delicious, so is the second course - rainbow in crystal fold. The remaining duck meat is chopped, stir fried and eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves. Mmmmmm.

                                            Link: http://goldenleaf.sites.toronto.com/

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Delish
                                              TPC Jun 12, 2006 12:16 PM

                                              Yes it's pretty good at Golden Leaf (sister restaurent of King's Court on King), however I believe they "cheat" by deep frying the duck instead of roasting it in the oven. Sadly many restaurents serve it this way now. If you don't have to wait 20 mins or more for it (or reserve in advance), it came out of the fryer.

                                              Also IIRC Golden Leaf serve it with the tiny "lotus leaf" pancakes. I prefer the more traditional big flat pancakes.

                                              1. re: TPC
                                                Delish Oct 3, 2006 02:45 PM

                                                As of Sunday night after a very bad experience and disapointing experience at Golden Leaf it is off our list. This was the first of about ten visits over two years that let us down
                                                (and perhaps could be blamed on a Sunday "B Crew") but the level of crappy service and crappy food has made us vow never to return...

                                                In light of this where in Chinatown can we get our fix from now on?

                                            2. j
                                              josa Jun 9, 2006 01:53 PM

                                              What about Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant up at Scarborough? (Warden, south of Steeles). I know its name says "seafood", but all Chinese restaurants like to use Seafood in their name. The presentation of the Peking Duck as well as the duck dishes (e.g. lettuce wraps) are quite good.

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