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Nov 1, 2007 04:20 AM

Good Peking Duck and Shark's Fin Soup?

Looking for things to try on CHristmas and I've never had either. Do you know where I can find these items on a menu? The peking duck shouldn't be too hard but I've never heard of shark's fin soup.

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  1. You gotta be kiddin' me, never heard of Shark's Fin Soup? It's a staple at Chinese banquets, so a large restaurant that does banquets such as Fortune in Gaithersburg or China Palace in Rosslyn would be where I'd start.

    7 Replies
    1. re: dpan

      Really new to Chinese food. I've been on a kick since eating out in the San Gabriel Valley with some friends.

      Would love to find good soup dumplings and shanghai rice cake. We ate a great Northern Breakfast out there too.

      1. re: nissenpa

        I don't know where you can get some good rice cake (are you talking about the nien gao?) You can get a northern style breakfast at Peking Village in Merrifield next to Great Wall Supermarket and at A&J. If you're really into good Chinese food, take a trip to Flushing in NYC (Queens).

        1. re: dpan

          Thanks dpan. I would love to find some good nien gao here. I had it for hte first time at Din Tai Fung in CA. Awesome! I then had it again for dinner at another Chinese place. My friends rave about Flushing and we all hope to do a weekend there soon.

          I need to head out to A&J and Peking Village.


          1. re: dpan

            You can get those oval-shaped rice cakes, they are dense and chewy, at Joe's noodle House in Rockville.

            Also at a tiny place called Mandarin Express in Rockville specializing in Yunan cuisine. They have rice cake stir fried with sour mustard and beef on the Yunan specialties list. You may have to ask for menu help from your server.

            1. re: Steve

              Thanks Steve. Sounds like DH and I are going to have to go to Joe's in another week (when we have a sitter!) for the rice cakes.

              Have you had the rice cake stir fried with sour mustard and beef at Mandarin Express? What did you think of it?

              1. re: nissenpa

                Sorry for the late reply:

                The rice cake dish at Mandarin Express is very good as well as at Joe's Noodle House.

                Did you ever get to try this?

                1. re: Steve

                  Steve, Just wanted to let you know that Joe's Noodle House is still on the list to get to. We hit A&J in Annandale the other weekend and will be taking our friends from San Diego there this Saturday.

                  I will report back as soon as we get to Joe's. DH is out of the country a lot for work so there never seems to be enough time to get to everything---throw a 20 month old into the mix and you get out even less.

      2. First, you're going to have a hard time finding quality versions of both in the same restaurant because Peking Duck is a northern dish (from Beijing), whereas shark fin soup is a southern dish (from Canton / Hong Kong).

        There's a great Peking Duck place in Tyson's Corner: Oriental Regency.
        8605 Westwood Center Dr Ste 100
        Vienna, VA 22182
        (703) 827-9066

        Unfortunately, their other dishes are not that great, but it's worth going for the duck.

        Being Cantonese, I grew up eating Shark's Fin -- it's actually rather bland. I think most people order it for symbolic reasons rather than for the flavor. You should be able to find it at any Cantonese restaurant that is large/fancy enough to host banquets. If they have tablecloths, you can probably find it on the menu.

        Also, not sure if this matters to you or not, but just to put it out there
        ... from a health perspective, sharks bioaccumulate mercury, so if you're concerned about mercury don't eat it, and please don't feed it to kids
        ... from an environmental/humanitarian perspective, the shark fin hunting is cruel, cutting off fins and dumping the fish back into the water to die (not even utilizing the other meat). This practice is illegal in the US, but it's hard to find out where restaurants are sourcing their fins.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Torina

          I agree about the shark fin soup. I always pass. It doesn't taste that different from mung bean noodles to me. And, also, keep in mind that a bowl of good shark fin soup runs over $100 for a banquet.

        2. I'm also looking for some good peking duck for X-mas Day dinner but I specifically need something in the district and preferably walking distance to the metro. Any ideas? I went to Eat Place in Chinatown 2 years ago and it wasn't very good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            Can't tell you if they're open Xmas Day, but Spices in Cleveland Park (1 block from Metro) has an excellent (if not entirely traditional) version of Peking Duck.

          2. Was at Mark's Duck House ( about two weeks ago, following some recommendations on this board. The duck *was* good - crispy skin, chewy pancakes, moist meat - and the fried bean curd in garlic sauce was crispy, salty, and oily in the best possible way. Roasted pork was average, as was the Chinese broccoli. "Steamed" pork and shrimp won tons were very unimpressive, boiled and swimming in an unpleasantly bland (flavored) but spicy oil. The pan fried noodles brought out to another table looked excellent.

            Overall not worth the drive from DC IMO, but it's not a bad place to get duck.

            1. Peking Duck on Route 1 for duck. The meat is juicy and the skin is perfect. Don't have the sharkfin soup though.