Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Mar 21, 2009 07:44 AM

peking duck?

my daughter loved the peking duck...esp the peking duck wraps she had last summer in london...any idea where to get great peking duck in LA?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best, and so far as I know the only authentic, Peking Duck I've found in recent years in L.A. was at a place called Lu Din Gee in San Gabriel. I have heard that they have moved. I went to their website and they now seem to have a place called Duck House in Monterey Park. Here's the info:

    # 501 S. Atlantic Blvd
    Monterey Park, CA 91754
    # Tel: (626) 284-3227

    2 Replies
      1. re: selfportrait93

        In my experience, a lot of what is referred to as "Peking Duck" in restaurants in the U.S. is actually a standard - although at times truly delicious - roast duck that is then served in something akin to the style that Peking Duck is served. There is, apparently - although I am no expert - something particular about authentic Peking Duck that very few restaurants do. Lu Din Gee was one of them, and now, presumably, so is Duck House.

    1. Sam Woo's BBQ in China Town off Broadway. They also have the best spicy fried squid AKA Calamari. The portion for this one is large. Friendly service and no waiting

      21 Replies
      1. re: Chili

        Sam Woo BBQ off Broadway?
        There used to be a Sam Woo BBQ at 803 N. Broadway (corner of Yale), but they changed to Hong Kong BBQ.

        1. re: monku

          And they don't have Peking Duck.

          Cantonese BBQ joints (like Sam Woo, or Hong Kong BBQ) makes roast duck -- very good roast duck in fact. But they do not make proper Peking Duck.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            But, the Sam Woo BBQ in Monterey Park lists their duck "Peking Duck" at the take out counter.

            Sam Woo Barbeque Shop
            634 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

            1. re: monku

              I suppose you also believe in "Truth in Advertising"?

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I'm just telling you what their sign has said for many years.

                Maybe they believe their preparation method is that of Peking duck. I go there and see dozens of uncooked ducks hanging in the kitchen drying.

              2. re: monku

                what most cantonese places list as "peking duck" is not actually peking duck, but the cantonese version of peking duck, which as previous posters said is a roast duck, which is delicious btw when done right

                actual peking duck preparation is a pain and you need constant turnover, so most restaurants don't bother...i believe lu din gee is the only place that does it

                1. re: Lau

                  I'm not debating you or the other posters....I'm just reporting what their sign says and the preparation I observed going on in the kitchen.

                  I've been eating roast duck for 45+ years from when I was a kid in NY to LA, I know what a roast duck is.

                  Question: Nothing to do with this Sam Woo BBQ's rendition of Peking duck.
                  I've had Peking duck many places and the pieces of skin are like "crackling" that how Peking duck should be? Yes, these were in LA and basically Cantonese restaurants....not Lu Din Gee.

                  1. re: monku

                    Crackling skin is one of the tell-tale signs of Peking Duck. It is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.

                    Cantonese roast duck, by virtue of its preparation, will also have crispy skin.

                    I mean, heck, fried chicken has crispy skin ...

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I've had what I thought was Peking duck many times in my life and once at that Quan Jude Beijing Duck in Rosemead years ago.

                      I've read about the classic preparation and various recipes, so what is it you know that I'm not getting?

                      Trying to understand your statement: "It is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition."

                      1. re: monku

                        The difference between Cantonese Roast Duck (CRD) and Peking Duck (PD) starts first with how the duck is raised.

                        Ducks for PD are specially raised, and force fed a special dietary mixture.

                        PD is also prepared differently -- incl. semi-dried before cooking making the meat extra dense and flavorful, then air-dried afterwards which renders the skin extra crispy. Different spices are also used in the prep of the PD versus the CRD.

                        PD preparation also uses special wood (usu. a type of fruitwood) in the oven.

                        All of this lends to the key and unique feature of the PD, which is the extra crispy skin. Makes even the most mouth-watering Chicharrones rubbery by comparison.

                        Also, a PD is served with special requirements. Usually in three ways -- skin, meat, soup (from the carcass). Also the duck has to be carved into exactly 120 pieces if I recall correctly.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          And they serve the soup as a refreshment at the end of the meal, at least where I've had it in Hong Kong. Your description is mouthwatering, ipsedixit -- will you be opening a PD restaurant anytime soon?

                          1. re: sbritchky

                            I second the vote from sbritchky. :)

                            ipsedixit, we need you to lead the charge to bring good Beijing-style Peking Duck back to LA. :) Great description.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            You forgot the part of the process where they blow up the duck with a bicycle pump to separate the skin from the meat.

                            So if I go to Lu Din Gee I will get the authentic Peking Duck as you describe?

                            1. re: monku

                              There's also a special duck roasting oven that needs to be custom made, and most restaurants (including Lu Din Gee) do not want to incur the expense to do this. In these special roasting ovens, the ducks hang from hooks inside, and are smoked by the fruit wood, though even authentic preparations have various degrees of smokiness and flavor. Quanjude at Qianman in Beijing has the only truly, lusciously smoky meat I've ever had. Even Lu Din Gee's best is just an approximation, and the last time I went there, the duck was served cold, and was dry and bland.

                              Mr Taster

                                1. re: monku

                                  The problem that I think most Peking Duck restaurants in the U.S. have (Lu Din Gee included) is with the health codes.

                                  It's really, really difficult to adhere to the traditional ways of preparing Peking Duck and still comply with health code regulations.

                                  It's not one thing in particular, but it would be hard for me to imagine a health code inspector blessing the air drying process or some of the steps it takes to smoke it -- although this is just a guess on my part.

                                  And lastly don't forget the duck. I'm not sure they actually import true Peking Duck into the U.s. -- again, just a guess on my part.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    I believe CA passed legislation to exempt Peking duck and roast duck as well from certain CA Health codes.

                                    1. re: jotfoodie

                                      Right, but I believe that legislation only exempted the hanging/air drying process (which required the ducks to be left hanging out at room temp for hours on end).

                                      But I'm not so sure that the legislation covers the other steps in making the duck, including bathing it with spices and molasses broth, or rinsing the insides of the duck with water.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I think any item labeled "bei jing kao ya" on the menu is fair game for this discussion.

                3. re: monku

                  Are you kidding me? I saw them closed for remodeling and I was going to go there this month but didnt know they changed the name. They did have the duck as you entered the place. Now I really have to go and check them out again.

                  1. re: Chili

                    The place looks better. Been several months now.
                    They even remodeled the restrooms..mens room is now where the womens room was. Place looks cleaner. Same owners and workers as before just a name change.

              3. That description of Peking Duck makes me think I've never had actual Peking Duck despite ordering it countless times, though what is described on the menu as "Peking Duck" at Mission 261 in San Gabriel is really, really good. It's got the crisp skin and comes with the soft, airy pancakes and green onions that your daughter's probably missing.

                The place is probably the nicest, decor-wise, Chinese place in the city. If you're going, get a reservation to avoid a long wait. Plus I'd call ahead anyway, as I recently heard they were closed for a remodel, though I can't find anything about that on their site:

                1. Well, I think we've established that we don't have 100% authentic Peking duck here, but it's certainly far-fetched to dismiss all the Peking duck served at area restaurants as the same thing as regular roast duck.

                  Besides, the OP is referencing Peking duck from London, so I think there's some leeway here...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: huaqiao

                    Sorry to add to the confusion, but in the UK a dish which outweighs the roasted or peking duck in popularity is something called Crispy Aromatic Duck - like the roast duck but deep fried and then shredded at the table. There is a good chance that the OP actually tried this regional version. No way to be sure - but if anyone knows a place where i can find a reasonable fascimile in the LA area let me know - it is delicious and one of my all time favorite "chinese" dishes

                    1. re: spotonjane

                      Both Mr. Chow and Xian serve a version of Crispy Aromatic Duck.

                      Joss used to have it as well, but it shuttered.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I have not been to their new iteration in Beverly Hills. Only seen the dish at their old WeHo location.