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peking duck with thin pancakes anywhere in NYC?

Can anyone recommend a place serving peking duck with the thin pancakes, anywhere in the five boroughs accessible by public transit? I did search through the old threads, but the only recommendation seems to be Hakkasan and I don't want to spend that much.

I was thinking about Peking Duck House, but it gets such negative reviews on Yelp with people claiming that they serve Mexican tortillas to wrap the duck with. Is that accurate or just an exaggeration? Is the food substantially better at the Midtown location?

I also found some good reviews for Cantonese-style peking duck places that serve it with buns out in Flushing, but I'm looking for the Northern style w/ pancakes.

Deyi Peking Duck House in Flushing got a good review on here 2 years ago, but the reviews on Yelp are awful so I assume it went downhill. And finally, Mr.Tong's in Rego Park has a few good Yelp reviews about their duck from a few years ago, but not much mention on CH.

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  1. Deyi died years ago, alas.

    1. One of my nieces didn't want the buns, might have been a low carb thing.

      We get a side order of pancakes. As long as the restaurant sells mu shu, they will have pancakes. Been a few years but a dollar or so for 4-6 pancakes

      1. I LOVE Peking Duck House, especially the one on 53rd between 2nd and 3rd. I think its the best around--don't listen to those negative reviews on Yelp...they're wrong.

        I go to Hakkasan all the time as well, and I prefer the duck at Peking Duck House (ok, the black truffle peking duck at Hakkasan is damned good, but overall, I'd take PDH over the others any day).

        1. I second PDH on 53rd St. for the Peking duck

          1. Chef Ho's uses tortilla wraps for their Peking Duck.

            And while not thin pancakes, per se, but Propserity Dumpling has peking duck with sesame pancakes (or shao-bing / 燒餅).

            9 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Prosperity Dumping on Clinton St? Peking duck sounds good with sesame pancakes. If that's the place I didn't realize they had Peking Duck, have only had soup and dumplings there.

              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Not Clinton, but Eldridge (still in Chinatown, however). Next to Long Xin.

                They do not have Peking Duck as a stand alone dish. As this is sort of a quasi-Beijing/Northern type place, they have all sorts of baos, pancakes, buns, dumplings etc. And one of their sesame pancake offerings is filled with Peking Duck. Other fillings incl. veggies and eggs.

                They have decent wontons, fwiw.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Are they filling it with peking duck or just the usual Cantonese-style roast duck you can buy in most places?

                  The other day I bought some roast duck from Deluxe Food Market and ate it with folded buns from the grocery, chopped scallion, and cucumber, with hoisin sauce. Like a homemade version of the duck buns you can buy in Flushing. Decent substitute for the real thing.

                  1. re: pravit

                    Does it matter?

                    You're not going to find authentic Peking Duck (北京烤鴨) in NYC, or really any place in the U.S.

                    I'd rather have a well-made Canto-style roast duck over a shitty version of "Peking" duck.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      It matters to me! I already know where to find Cantonese-style roast duck and I consider it a different dish. I was hoping to find some place that did a decent rendition of peking duck where they carve up a plate of skin, a plate of meat, and give you thin pancakes with scallions and hoisin sauce.

                      For example, in downtown Toronto Chinatown I used to order the peking duck at Asian Legend for ~$30 if I remember right. It wasn't Quanjude-level peking duck, but it was good and affordable.

                      Anyhow, it looks like PDH is the place in NYC for what I'm looking for. Thanks.

                      1. re: pravit

                        There's a small restaurant named 天一店 on Queens Blvd and 64th in Rego Park, near M, R subway. Although their food was far from spectacular, they were well known for two their best dishes: 獅子頭 (Shanghainese meatballs) and an authentic Peking duck.

                        Well, it's been over 3 years since I ate there, but if you are willing to give them a try, call them at 718-897-8202. IIRC, some notice was required for the duck.

                        1. re: diprey11

                          Thanks! It looks like Mr. Tong's is the English name. There are some reviews mentioning the Peking duck favorably, most recent one on Yelp from Jan 2013. Apparently the chef used to be at Tung Shing House which was in turn known for peking duck back in the day, judging from some Chowhound posts from wayyy back.

                          I think I will have to give Mr. Tong's a try, will let you know if they still make good duck.

                          1. re: pravit

                            I just pulled out an old takeout menu, and yes, the English name is indeed Mr Tong's. Now I recall it was named so because the old Tung (東) Shing House was right across the street and the chef came from there.

                            I never got to try their taro duck casserole (or any other kind--that was an old Tung Shing specialty) but I did like their sauteed eel. Most interestingly, they served a really high quality rice, which is unheard of in Chinese restaurants here (if you know what I am talking about).

                            Good luck!

                        2. re: pravit

                          pravit, Cantonese-style roast duck is not the same thing as Peking duck, so you are correct to consider it a different dish.

                          There is also Cantonese style Peking duck, which is a modification of the traditional Beijing style of Peking duck.

                          Real traditional Peking duck, like the kind you'd find in Quanjude Restaurant in Beijing (where there is a special brick open hearth oven where the ducks hang and cook over fruit wood which, ideally, imparts a luscious smokiness to the skin and meat), is pretty much impossible to find in the US (if there is a place that does it this traditional way, please let me know).

                          So what we wind up getting served in the US is not-quite-Peking-duck. There are differences in regional styles of preparation (Beijing is thousands of miles away from Guangzhou, after all) so your typical Canto restaurant which serves so-called "Peking duck" is going to be preparing it with buns (which is a southern thing) instead of pancakes, and in whatever way they decide to cook it. Northern restaurants will serve it closer to the traditional Beijing style, with pancakes and not buns, but it will still not be the real deal.

                          Mr Taster

              2. I was not impressed with Peking Duck House on 53rd exactly for that reason. The pancakes (yabing) were too huge and thick. Hakkasan's pancakes are way better.

                Now that I have moved to Hong Kong, I enjoy more refined, fine Chinese cuisine including Peking Duck everyday and I am so happy. LOL Great French desserts here too!

                1. I had a bad meal last night at PDH on 53rd. Very fatty duck and carved in big chunks. I don't think there is a quality Peking duck house in manhattan. Chef Pho on Eighth and 51st isn't bad. You can get a half duck there for about $25.

                  1. DECOY is a "shrine to Peking Duck." It recently opened in the West Village and is situated directly downstairs from RED FARM, another good restaurant on Hudson Street, bet. West 10th St. & Charles St.

                    Served family style, you order one duck for up to four people. The duck will be cooked to order, so you have to reserve.

                    This is their specialty. Check it out. I know you will enjoy it.

                    I can rave on and on, because I love Peking Duck; but this time, just go for it!.



                    12 Replies
                      1. re: ZaZa

                        Did Decoy build a traditional, fruit wood-fired, open-hearth duck-firing oven?

                        I'd imagine if they had, it would have been all over the NYT piece, as there are no restaurants in the USA (to my knowledge) that make Peking Duck in the proper way.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          It is a traditional duck-firing oven--specially built for DECOY, imported from China. Apparently, there are about 3 or 4 such ovens in the entire country.

                          I bopped by to inquire and spoke to a person at the restaurant, who said:

                          "I have many guests who frequent Beijing. They say our Peking Duck rivals anything found in Beijing."

                          There is going to be a PBS special on the oven at DECOY. They already taped it, but I don't know when it will air.

                          How exciting!

                          1. re: ZaZa

                            I'd love to know where these 3 or 4 ovens can be found. I'll plan my next holiday around them. Do you know?

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              From what I understand the oven at Decoy is very similar to a tandoor, so not sure it's "traditional" in the sense of a "hung oven".

                              And really, the more critical components of Peking Duck that are missing in the U.S are the hang drying (before roasting) and the smokeless hardwood that's used for fuel in the oven.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Ipse, I'm curious about your mention of smokeless hardwood. The first true Peking Duck that I ever had was at the Qianmen Quanjude, and the thing I remember most about that experience was the significant depth of smokiness in the bird. We also tried ducks from Liqin and Made in China (sadly, we missed Da Dong), and both of those lacked the smoky depth of Quanjude. I've also had the highly regarded duck at 宋廚 in Taipei, though I felt the duck was just fine (and they wouldn't let us look in the kitchen to confirm that they're cooking with the "hung oven".)

                                In any case, my takeaway from all this is that my first impression defined my experience, which said Peking Duck = smoky. All of my subsequent experiences have indicated otherwise. I still dream about the duck at Qianmen, though-- not the others.

                                Mr Taster

                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                Mr. Taster, I knew you were going to say that, because you have already said:

                                "...there are no restaurants in the USA (to my knowledge) that make Peking Duck in the proper way." What if DECOY actually prepares Peking Duck "in the proper way"--I wonder whether that would please you.

                                I was told that the manufacturer provided this info when DECOY got their oven. I'm looking forward to learning more about the oven, when it airs on PBS. Otherwise, I'll just enjoy the duck, thank you.

                                1. re: ZaZa

                                  ZaZa, I've had my hopes raised and dashed many times with promises of actual traditional Peking Duck in the US, so forgive my skepticism. I need something more than PR journalism and unconfirmed testimony from biased sources (the oven manufacturer). Believe me, if and when it actually happens, I'll be singing about it from the rooftops.

                                  Mr Taster

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Mr. Taster, as much as I'd like a Da Dong in the US, we don't have one. Decoy provides a reasonable facsimile, as does Hakkasan. The two best roast ducks with pancakes, scallions and cucumbers in NYC.

                              While I appreciate attention to detail and artisanal aspects, whether or not the duck at Decoy is roasted in an oven with peach tree wood, for all intents and purposes it's "Peking duck". :) I don't walk into an Italian restaurant question the size of their lasagna sheets or if it was hand rolled, machine rolled or bronze extruded or the provenance of their semolina and if the water they used was from Campania, ricotta, no ricotta, what if it doesn't have bechamel, what if it does? It's still lasagna. I think it's wonderful you're sharing your knowledge with people who are less familiar about how Peking duck is traditionally prepared, but after learning such, the OP is still looking for Peking duck in NYC and not hopping on a plane to China or Italy or Egypt to get their fix of "real" dishes. At least that's my understanding in this instance and context.

                              As for the OP, Decoy and Hakkasan are both expensive. There's no cheap, good version of Peking duck in NYC. Heck the roast chicken at Nomad is $82. It's an expensive town. PDH serves fatty, poorly sliced duck that has had off-flavors and in one visit at the midtown location, I was served what seemed to be flour tortillas from a supermarket in lieu of Chinese pancakes (if you can't tell, I've had bad experiences at the PDHs, both locations). At $53, it's not inexpensive either.

                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                Hi Pookipichu,

                                You misunderstand me... my motivations are purely selfish. I did not chime in to help the OP-- I was seeking clarification for myself.

                                If I hear a claim of real Peking Duck, the reason I'm "sharing my knowledge" (as you put it) is simply to pinpoint whether it really exists, so that I can seek it out without flying to Beijing. This is not a flight of fancy, as a branch of Quanjude once existed in Los Angeles, though sadly it closed a long time ago. I've been looking ever since.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  Ahhhh, got it. I can relate to wanting a very specific flavor. Even though Quanjude is not my favorite place for Peking duck, I do understand the appeal. I've only eaten at Decoy once, but in my recollection, the duck at Decoy does not have smokiness. I should go back to confirm :) especially since their fried fish skin is totally addictive.

                          2. I won't claim to be an expert, but have happily had Peking Duck several times at Ping's in Chinatown. They serve it with the small pancakes and separate plates of meat and carcass.