My friend Steven led a group of us to Peking Restaurant on Saturday 26 May and for that he deserves much thanks. This restaurant specializes in what Taiwanese always call "northern-style cuisine" (bei fang cai), though I've rarely encountered any of the dishes in Beijing, Tianjin, Beidaihe or other cities north of the Yangzi. (I must proleptically apologize for rendering the English names of the dishes somewhat vaguely.) We had the onion pancake (cong you bing), five-spice beef rolled in an onion pancake (niu rou da bing), scrambled egg with onion pancake (dan bing), shrimp and pork boiled dumplings (xia ren shui jiao), steamed bun stuffed with Chinese leeks (jiu cai jian bao), vegetarian "yellow sparrows" (su haung que), braised tofu in brown sauce (hong shao dofu), shrimp fried with scallions (qing chao xia ren) and pot stickers (guo tie). Everything was excellent. The scallion pancakes were golden and crisp on their exterior and wonderfully "pully" within--not so thin as to be brittle. The pot stickers were the closest I've seen in America to those sold at the world's best pot sticker stand in my old neighborhood in Yonghe--triangular in cross section, the long, narrow bottom surface uniformly crisp. The tofu was soft and savory, garbed in lacy crust. The "yellow sporrows," crafted from tofu skin and stuffed with thinly julienned vegetables, were delicate and delightful. Since I ate none of the dishes that contained animal flesh, I can only say of them that they were well received by my companions and looked extremely promising. We paid seventeen dollars each and took home quite a bit of leftover food.
Peking Restaurant (Beijing xiao guan)
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
8566 Westminster Avenue
Westminster, California 92683
Do not miss the go-cart place on the way back north.
p.s. Max Jacobson reviewed the restaurant glowingly in the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times on 24 December of last year and on 14 November 1999.