Update on Peking Duck Restaurant, Palo Alto
In the culinary spirit of the Olympic games, tonight we headed to Peking Duck restaurant in Palo Alto. My last visit there was more than six years ago,
The staff spoke Cantonese with each other, and I noticed that the special weekend menu includes dim sum.
We started with Boneless duck feet with celery, served with hot mustard, $7.95.
Not entirely boneless, some of the tips of the toes still had a bone fragment. William thought that the webs were too firm and needed to be cooked longer. I did like the level of salting, but don’t think I’d order this again.
Then everything cam out at once.
We shared a single serving of shredded duck soup, $5.50.
Too much thickening for me, but still palatable. The strips of fresh shitake mushroom were a nice touch.
We had wanted to order a noodle dish. I had asked if the “homemade noodles” listed on the menu were still hand-pulled, and found out that not only are they not hand-pulled, they’re not even made in-house.
The Tianjin noodles with assorted meats, $10.50, is a version of liang zhang pi made with wide cut mung bean noodles rather than sheets.
The “assorted meats” turned out to be strips of pork in a brown gravy that was remarkably identical to the duck soup base and icky shrimp with a nasty chemical taste. The noodles were too soft.
The highlight was Half Peking duck, carved off the bone, $14.50, served with pancakes, cucumber, and scallions.
The duck itself was very good with crisp skin and tender juicy meat. The pancakes were so stiff, mine cracked when I tried to roll it. For the half-duck, the pancakes are presented on a plate, whereas with the whole duck carved at the table, they’re in a steamer which might keep them in better condition. The duck is accompanied by hoisin sauce, not tianmian jiang. This is still the best thing here and priced well.
10 Beijing Dishes: What to eat at the 2008 Olympic Games in China by Fuchsia Dunlop, http://www.chow.com/stories/11258
151 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Went to Joy Luck Place, Cupertino (near the Guan Dong House), for a Peking duck lunch. The duck had crispy skin, and moist and flavorful meat. It had steamed buns which were a fold-over once type (too bad “thousand layer buns”do not exist any more). Joy Luck features weekday specials. On Tuesdays, it is a whole Peking duck at $13.00 with all the skin, meat, and the rest of the chopped up bony parts with meat attached (available all day). The Tuesday special Peking duck is a good value; the rest of Joy Luck's food is O.K. to good, but a bit on the pricey side. We supplemented the duck with the house special pan fried noodles; it was good excepting the gravy was a bit soupy. Had an enjoyable and filling lunch and yet had ample left over to take home.
That's a good tip! During the last economic downturn, many places offered day of the week specials like this. Hope chowhounds will report in when they find them. Maybe someone can tell us if the San Mateo branch has the same deal.
Joy Luck Place
10911 N Wolfe Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014