i have been wanting to try Peking Duck for a while. Any recommendations where I can go to get this dish? Thanks.
The standard place in Chinatown is Sang Kee. Peking duck is their signature dish. For years I would only get it here or at Joe Poon's shop. I am sure others have other options to suggest.
Possible issue at Sang Kee is the first course of peking duck, the crispy skin and meat, as well as the BBQ duck, and BBQ pork dishes are served tepid at best. Hunan in Ardmore used to make them on pre- order so were hot, assume same now but do not know. For many people this is not an issue, but is for me.
Margaret Kuo's in Malvern. Over the last ten years, we've had at least 20 of their peking ducks as it became a family ritual to go get one whenever a celebration was in order. It's a production with the ringing of the gong and then the Whole Duck is carved tableside by a chef. We ask to take the carcass home and make some lovely stock with it. We've tried the other MKuo's but prefer the Malvern location. And our experiences over the years is that it is better on the weekends than weekdays. Having said all this, it's been at least a year since we've been but I assume it's the same delicious meal.
We have been to other places where the duck was good and I'll list below but esp if you've never had it, it really is great having the duck carved at the table at MKuo.
In the last few years we been a couple times to the Sang Kee in Wynnewood where our Chinese friends sometimes take us (when we can't get to Chinatown). However our friends know the owners and we also have many other dishes that are not on the menu. The peking duck is delicious there but I don't know how representative it was of their 'typical' peking duck if an ordinary person walked in to order it.
We also recently had it in South Jersey at Tres Yan and Wu in Mt. Laurel. Skin was crispy and meat was moist. The rest of the Chinese food there was also really good. Only thing not recommended there is the non-Chinese food (specifically someone in our party ordered the lamb chops and didn't care for them).
I second Sang Kee. Just was there last week and found the duck to be as terrific as ever. I have no recollection of the temperature, so whatever it was didn't strike me as odd. I also love the second course, duck bits stir fried with green beans and other veggies in XO sauce. Most their other dishes are great too. I love the watercress dumplings.
Are all of these Peking ducks the northern style (served with pancakes) or southern style (served with buns)? I would guess that since Philly chinatown has a heavy Cantonese influence that we're talking about southern style, but in our visit this weekend I saw enough Lanzhou noodle shops to make me curious as to how much Philly's Chinatown is diversifying beyond the typical Canto and Canto-American food.
If we're talking about the northern style of preparation, do any of the places referred to use the traditional method of using the purpose built open hearth oven smokes with fruit wood, such as the kind used in the great Peking duck houses of Beijing (like the grand dame of peking duck houses, Quanjude) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quanjude Even in Los Angeles, where I live, this is not possible to find (we had a branch of Quanjude but sadly it closed many years ago). I'd like to know if there's anywhere back east that is totally faithful to the traditional preparation (to file away in my mental Rolodex for future visits.)