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Mar 30, 2011 07:30 PM

Corner 28 – Peking Duck Buns, Why Has Someone Not Done This in Manhattan??

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Corner 28 is a Cantonese restaurant that has a lot of things going on. It has a big section serving shao la (Cantonese BBQ), it has another section serving si cai yi tang (4 dishes + 1 soup) and it has an upstairs that is a full service Cantonese restaurant. For today’s post, I don’t really care about all that, what I do care about is the part of the restaurant that is on the outside serving people on the street. The outside section is located on one of the busiest corners in Flushing. It has two sides, one side serves fresh cheung fan (steamed rice crepe) and skewers and the other side serves Peking duck buns.

There are two types of Peking duck in my mind. There is real Peking duck from Beijing where they cook it a certain way by pumping air into it and then roasting in an oven. It’s served with thin pancakes and usually has several accompanying dishes using the rest of the duck (it’s delicious if done right). However, there is a Cantonese version of Peking duck that is actually a roast duck served in a mantou (white sweet fluffy buns) with plum sauce and spring onions. I am very partial to Cantonese style Peking duck because I grew up eating it. At Corner 28, you’re going to get a Cantonese style Peking duck.

Normally, you need to buy a whole or half duck to get it served to you. However, at Corner 28 they serve individual portions for $1 per bun. The bun is fluffy and fresh, the meat is tender, the skin is nice and crispy and the condiments go really well with everything. I think that a large part of why it tastes so good is that even though it’s a street stand, they have very high turnover that you’re constantly getting a fresh duck. I definitely recommend stopping here even if you’re going to another restaurant. It will take about 2 minutes of your time, $1 out of your wallet and won’t ruin your appetite at all. 7.75/10

A good question was brought up by my friend when we stopped here last weekend, which is why has someone not done this in Manhattan? This place kills it in Flushing and I’m pretty sure that this is a dish that would be universally loved by all Americans. So if anyone is listening please open something like this in Manhattan.

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  1. One of my favorite things to do in this city is to have the "Flushing Walking Tasting Menu," which basically means wandering around Flushing and having a course at various places. We always start with those buns. Maybe because they are close to the train, but more likely because they are the best dollar you can spend in the city.

    In Manhattan, the buns would end up being $4 and have chipolte-plum sauce or something stupid like that.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      haha chipotle plum sauce....u maybe right about the best $1 snack in NYC

      seriously though eddie huang or david chang or one of those guys should do this (if you're listening...go do it!) or actually one of the chinatown places that already makes peking duck like hsin wong could do this in a heartbeat

      1. re: nmprisons

        ...and if it were in Manhattan, it would probably be served from a food truck with a clever name and Twitter handle!

        1. re: kathryn

          haha that is true, not a bad idea!

      2. Thanks Lau for the shout-out for Corner 28! One reason it works is because the foot traffic there is insane - even on weekdays! Just as densely packed as China. Notice that even the McDonald's on Main Street has a "Walk-By" window for quick take-out! Maybe the first for a McDonalds...

        Corner 28
        40-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11354

        5 Replies
        1. re: scoopG

          > One reason it works is because the foot traffic there is insane - even on weekdays.

          Good point. That's why Hsin Wong on Bayard is a good candidate for this, as Lau suggests. Tons of tourists walk past every day. Or even better, Big Wong on Mott.

          But $1 is the magic number. To make it work, I wouldn't charge even a quarter more. (When Corner 28 started selling these, they were just 75 cents ...


          Corner 28
          40-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11354

          1. re: squid kun

            weird i didn't know that the upstairs and downstairs are under separate ownerships

            1. re: squid kun

              Add a sign and a window through which to sell them and it's a go!

            2. re: scoopG

              yah that is true, but u get pretty decent foot traffic in ctown too depending on where u are although not as good as main street

            3. For that matter, why hasn't anybody done it in LA, SF or anywhere else? Corner 28 is the only place I've seen it. In fact offhand I can think of only one place that had a ducky appetizer, an Americanized Chinese restaurant in San Gabriel which sold little duck bao for something like $5 for an order of five, and they're out of business. I agree that it has to do with the foot traffic--you'll have to sell a lot of them quickly to make it worth while.

              Corner 28
              40-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11354

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chandavkl

                i think ure right, i dont think ive ever seen individual portions served anywhere including in asia

              2. David Chang, on the inspiration for his pork buns:

                "I've had more meals at Oriental Garden in Chinatown than anywhere else, and they served their Peking duck with buns rather than pancakes."

                1. They used to sell Peking duck "sandwiches" with the pancakes, scallions and hoisin for $1 at the big supermarket that runs between Mott and Elizabeth; you had to go inside and line up at the counter.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: erica

                    I was a little confused by this thread, for the same reason! Did Deluxe Food Market stop selling these?? I used to get them all the time, hadn't in a while... but am still there several times a year picking up what I consider better frozen dumplings than the dumpling-specialty joints, and I just assumed they were still selling the mini duck sandwiches. Loved them, and because of location and those frozen dumplings, am much more likely to get those there. Hmm, I might have to check in a few days.

                    1. re: NancyC

                      Yes, they did stop selling them. Wonder why -- maybe not enough profit margin to make it work. They certainly have tons of crowds and street traffic.