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Aug 25, 2008 12:29 AM

Where can I get good Peking Duck? the Los Angeles area? Thanks.

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  1. That depends upon your definition of good. Conventional wisdom on this board says that Lu Din Gee Cafe in San Gabriel is the best to be had in the LA area. I've been there several times and it is certainly very good, but I didn't consider it to be excellent. I actually preferred some of their other items. Never the less, it definitely seems to be the best option for Peking Duck that's out there right now... at least in LA.

    6 Replies
    1. re: creamfinger

      Don't they also make a soup from the carcass? Does anyone know of another restaurant that does the same?

      1. re: Mr Taster

        I love the duck from Lu Din Gee, but I also recommend that you pass on the soup option, it had no flavor -- as in it tasted like water. We did however enjoy adding the stir fry option, fresh bean sprouts stir fried with bits of duck (not a lot of duck to be sure, but it was a nice accompaniment)

        1. re: Mr Taster

          It's been a while since we went to Lu Din Gee, but the soup wasn't flavorless. It was on the subtle side, and it seems to be well made with the bones, as the leftovers gelatinize in the fridge.

          1. re: notmartha

            I'm glad yours wasn't. I have to say that it looked like something good was going on, the soup was milky white, but our batch literally tasted like boiled water. I wonder if it depends on when you get it, or how far they stretch a batch. Then the duck meat stir fry arrived (we enjoyed it, but were surprised by how little duck it actually contained, it should probably just be called duck flavored sprouts). Oh well, glad to know there's something to it, we loved the duck so much I thought it was odd that the soup was so forgettable.

            1. re: debra

              It's funny because we found the duck kind of bland on its own and needed lots of the hoisin on the wrapper. We had the 2 ways - skin & meat in wrappers, and the soup, and no stir fry.

              We went about 1.5 years ago or so, so things could have changed. If the soup is watered down the leftover wouldn't gel, but I can see that some people will need a little more salt in the soup to wake the flavor up.

              1. re: debra

                Sadly, my experience echoes your own. The soup was startlingly flavorless, especially compared to some that I've had in Boston, which were so rich and tasty I wanted to bathe in it. I had hoped the situation at Lu Din Gee had changed. Perhaps Not Martha is on to something?

                In any case, with all those duck carcasses lying about, you'd think that a tasty soup wouldn't be too hard to pull off!

                Happy eating!

        2. Search the boards for Lu Din Gee, it's the most talked about Peking duck place although not universally preferred.

          I love Lu Din Gee but sometime I prefer Elite's "two ways" Peking duck. They serve the meat "mu shu" style and serve the skin later.

          Do you prefer pancakes or buns? At Lu Din Gee it's served with pancakes, but I think at Elite while the meat is served with pancakes, the duck skin is served with buns. If you like pancakes you'll probably like Lu Din Gee. Must order an hour in advance though.

          1. Don't ask me why, but Sam Woo in Monterey Park calls their duck "Peking Duck" on the take out menu, not roast duck. Was kind of shocked the other day to see the price of a whole duck to go is now $17. Their duck is very good and meaty and they sell a lot of them to go and in the restaurant, but isn't served with the buns and skin.

            1 Reply
            1. re: monku

              I'm not sure what they're serving in MP, monku, but I had "Peking Duck" at Sam Woo's in Irvine recently, and it was very good, a juicy and meaty bird with a flavorful, crisp skin. (I don't remember the price, but it was significantly higher than $17.) My charming older waitress seemed to be pushing the buns, but I love those pancakes, especially when you get such a large number of them. Since there was no need to order in advance, I assume the duck preparation is somehow deficient -- perhaps our Chinese-food experts could comment -- but to my Western tongue and taste it was delicious.

              As an aside, the only times I've had duck soup made from the Peking Duck carcass were in Hong Kong, and those versions were delicate but certainly not flavorless. Coming near the end of a large, complex meal usually enjoyed with many friends and colleagues, it was a refreshing reminder of the high point of the evening.

              Back at Sam Woo, almost as good as the duck was an order of pork-stuffed potstickers. This standard item of Chinese restaurants from San Francisco to Omaha (I'm guessing) was very well flavored, and the dumpling dough was more delicate and toothsome than any I've ever had.

              I had never been to Sam Woo and hesitated going, given the many authentic Chinese restaurants here and the mixed views of SW among chowhounders, but when I saw all the Asian families, I knew it had to be at least as good as <insert name of favorite small, local American chain restaurant>, and it was. In fact, better.

              Sam Woo Restaurant
              15333 Culver Dr Ste 720, Irvine, CA 92604

            2. I pre-order at Hop Li and ask for extra buns. It's about $25 and it is fabulous. First they serve the crispy skin with the buns and duck sauce and then bring the stir fried meat as a separate course. REALLY good!!!!!

              3 Replies
                1. re: Hughlipton

                  Try Elite's Peking duck "two ways", you might like it. It's $5 more, but in my opinion much better than the Peking duck I had at Hop Li's Chinatown location and Pico/Veteran location.