- Creamfinger Jan 13, 2002 03:46 AM
Is there any restaurant other than Quan Jude in Rosemead that serves an adequate Peking Duck?
Although they went through a change in ownership, have cut back 80% of the duck dishes, have added tons of southern dishes, no longer serve northern sweets like LuDaGunr or the caramelized apples, and have changed the presentation of the duck - I still think that they are heads above anyone else serving it here. They don't use hoisin sauce, they serve (real?) tianmianjiang instead. They serve the hollow cakes (KongXinBing, like Shaobing only round and less flaky) as well as the pancakes. And the oven is set up to roast duck (large open furnace of an oven, like in Beijing), at least that I've found out about.
One give-away is that in HongKong/Cantonese places, they serve the duck with these "butterfly" buns, which I never saw in Beijing but I understand are common in the South. Go figure.
So, IMHO no. There are other places with roast duck, but no other place is as good, or has Peking duck made in the hearth like at Quanjude on Qianmen st. in Beijing. Yet, we're very lucky to have even this one place, and if more people had patronized it in its former incarnation, we would have a rare thing in the US, a place where you could get Shandong/Beijing food in a banquet setting.
There are other kinds of Chinese duck that are quite good, the Cantonese style, you see hanging in Chinatown, Sichuan style (?) smoked with camphor wood, and I think someplace in town has Shanxi (Taiyuan Datong Shanxi, not Xi'an Shanxi) style roast duck.
The nice thing about Quanjude, is that when the duck is hot, the skin and meat don't taste greasy at all. They do as it cools down.
The owner/manager told me that with 24 hours notice, they will make the Caramelized Apples (BasiPingguo [Bah-sssuh-ping-goo-war approximately). Maybe...
I'm afraid that my experiences at Quanjude were less happy. My wife and I ate there on three occasions, each one worse than the last.
The last time we were there, we went with my wife's (who is Chinese) family and waited nearly three hours for duck on a Saturday night. Not waited in line - WAITED AT THE TABLE FOR NEARLY THREE HOURS! And what was worse, we weren't the only ones. The entire restaurant was sitting there hungry, while the staff would bring out a duck every ten minutes or so. Towards the end there was nearly a riot, with people literally grabbing at the waiters, trying to get some food, shouting in Mandarin for the management, etc. From where we were sitting we could see the entire staff hiding behind a wall, peering out at the dining room. When the duck finally came, it was fine.
Was it as good as the duck that you get in Beijing? Please! Not even close. Was it better than the typical Cantonese roast duck a la Lucky Deli?. A bit. It is no surprise to me that this place went under and it has nothing to do with "not being supported by the community" and a lot to do with not knowing how to run a restaurant.
The Chinese community in the San Gabriel Valley eagerly supports any new serious Chinese restaurant that opens. But they're not going to support a place that is just trying to coast on it's name.
We live on the westside and are very happy that Full House BBQ opened off of Olympic at Sepulveda. We now buy our ducks there instead of having to schlep downtown. I don't know what their relationship is to Ocean Star but I have several times seen the Ocean Star van parked out front so I assume that they are somehow related to the owners there.
re: Jeff Falls
The place went under about two years ago. Partly because the original investors pulled out (one of which was the PLA which had a half stake in the restaurant and owns the QuanJuDe on Qianmen). The menu since then is misleading - one dish on the Chinese menu shuijing ya she - crystal duck tongue is an aspic of duck tongue. or was. Now, they just bring you soy-cooked cold duck tongue which is fine but ...
Anyway, where do you go for Peking-style roast duck? And for that matter, what northern style restaurant in the S.G.Valley has a great deal of local support, (because I'd certainly like to try it)?