“Fine, you might be having a few good meals in Paris right now but the boys are taking me out for dinner tonight too” I say to Mysaucepan, who is away in France and Switzerland for a business trip.
“I’m going to one of Paul Bocuse’s restaurants and the menu looks so enticing” she says excitedly.
“Well, our dinner tonight might just be as awesome as your French meal, but without the expensive price tag” I say.
“Let me guess, you boys are heading for a steakhouse to get your meat fix” she tries to guess.
“Close but not quite” I say. “We’re going to have a duckfest that might just put a French duck a l’orange to shame”.
“Okay, enjoy your dinner with the boys and no doubt I will hear all about it” she says.
“I’m sure I’ll be hearing all about your food escapades to no end when you get back too” I tell her. “But for now, I better head to the gym to work up an appetite for tonight’s dinner.
Peking Inn has been one of the most consistent and long-running northern style Chinese restaurants in the north shore area of Sydney. Previously located on the left side of Pacific Highway in Lindfield as one is travelling north bound, this restaurant has been operating for more than twenty years and have since moved further north to Pymble.
As this restaurant is famous for its northern Chinese style duck dishes, we are usually armed with a few bottles of pinot noir whenever we visit.
A 2009 Clyde Park Pinot Noir is the perfect wine for our impending duckfest. The plum and jammy flavours seem to complement the slightly gamey duck meat so brilliantly every time.
This restaurant charges a corkage of $3.50 per person for BYO wine which can be a little pricey when a few diners were to share a bottle. This corkage charge might warrant offering nicer wine glasses to customers that bring their favourite wines to the restaurant.
Mermaid tresses is quite a fancy name for our entree but there isn’t a beautiful woman that is half fish anywhere to be seen in the restaurant. Instead, it is a cold dish of pigs ear slices in light soy, topped with shallots, coriander and garlic.
The pigs ears are crunchy with the savoury sauce and the raw garlic adds a bit of zing to this dish.
The crispy aromatic duck at this restaurant is one of the best interpretations of this northern style deep-fried duck in Sydney.
Half a duck arrives golden brown and crispy on the outside as the waiter shreds the meat and skin into bite size pieces to be laid on top of 6 steamed pancakes.
The small bones are so crispy they are also edible while the skin is succulent with tasty duck fat.
The unmistakable aromas of five-spice powder works so well with this dish and munching on the crispy bits of duck skin and small bones is always one of my favourite ways to devour this duck.
Place a little meat on the warm and fluffy pancake with some hoisin sauce, cucumber and roll it up or just pick the meat from the bones with your fingers.
Another signature dish is the dry fried Peking style shredded beef. What makes this dish good is the thin strips of carrot and beef that are crispy and with just a subtle level of sweetness.
This dish appears to be one of the most popular as most tables around us are tucking into it as well.
Our obligatory vegetarian dish is a stir-fried Hong Kong choy sum with tofu puffs and mushroom. This dish is tasty with its oyster and garlic sauce.
The Peking duck is one of three duck dishes that we came here for.
This dish never disappoints and even though this is a northern style Chinese restaurant, I find this Peking duck to rival the ones from fine Cantonese restaurants anywhere in Sydney.
The duck is plump in a deep golden brown colour and the skin is glistening as the waiter skillfully carves up each piece of skin to be wrapped with steamed pancakes.
The skin of this Peking duck is crispy while a small ribbon of fat and meat underneath is tender and juicy.
Diners have a choice of either using the remaining duck meat for a northern style stir-fried noodles or as a sang choy bao course with iceberg lettuce leaves. Tonight, we choose the latter.
Crunchy bits of diced celery, carrots, onions, bamboo shoots and garlic are fragrant and tasty with a cold iceberg lettuce leave.
Finally, to complete our duckfest dinner, the smoky aromas of a tea smoked duck with Chinese steamed buns can be detected even before we see this dish hitting our table.
A whole duck has been cut into thin slices, its unmistakably smoky skin and meat arranged in the middle of a large platter surrounded by steamed Chinese buns.
A stir-fried kai lan is pre-blanched with hot water before it hits the wok because it is slightly less crunchy.
I actually prefer this style as the texture is softer and does not have the raw vegetable taste. The ginger and Shao Xing wine on this dish is a delightful complement with a smoky ‘wok breath’.
The great cuisines of the world all have their iconic dishes that transcended history and food culture of those cuisines.
To me, Peking duck is the essence of Northern Chinese cuisine that is as tasty and delicious as it is famous the world over.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite duck to share with us and which is your favourite restaurant that serves a good duck dish?
1015A, Pacific Highway,
Pymble, New South Wales
Tel: +61 2 9144 2997
Business Hours: Lunch 12pm to 3pm, Dinner 5pm – 10pm, Closed Mondays