Monday, September 26, 2011

Toronto: Chung King Garden Restaurant


get fat, two ways
:Markham:

Holy chow, I left downtown.  Doesn't happen often, nor is it rare, it's more like on occasion.  I make that trek for priority one friends only. 


On Saturday, I went up to spend the day with my favourite uptown family ("My FUF").  It was pre-decided that we would do peking duck night.  I left restaurant choice to them, for a couple of reasons.  The first is because they are Taiwanese, and the second is because I trust them.  There's also the added buffer that I knew we wouldn't be going to Chinatown as the lady of the family sees that place like I do, i.e., we approach it with extreme caution, although in her case, she wouldn't approach at all. 

My FUF took me to Chung King behind Pacific Mall in Market Village.  It's fairly unnoticeable, but for the line of people waiting.  We had reservations obviously, because My FUF knows to how to plan.  I love planners.  I'd still love them if they weren't planners.  But they are.

It seems this is the place to go for authentic Mandarin and Szechuan food, and more importantly, this is the place to get roasted duck.  As we sat at our table, I noted that server after server walked out with a duck, took it to a table where they were happily dismissed with a happy nod, wave or word.  He or she then promptly disappeared only to return with same duck, chopped up.  With each duck I saw, the more room I made in my stomach.  This was the first time I had peking duck where they bring the crispy little quacker out for me to see before I eat. 


We also ordered Szechuan Beef - thin strips of crispy chewy beef with a kick - and Birds Nest. Now I thought the latter was greasy seafood and broccoli in a deep fried chowmein bowl.  I would be wrong.  See, I come from a long line of people who don't particularly like Chinese food (crazy right).  So if and when we ate it, it was usually mainstream and mainstream birds nest is just that.  My FUF gasped when I told them, and lady of My FUF simply said, "that would be wrong".  She also shook her head.  Shame on me.

Birds Nest is actually a crispy bowl made out of deep fried potato shreds.  The seafood and vegetable medley inside is garlicky, not greasy, and said medley includes bamboo, water chestnuts, carrots, etc. and not just broccoli.  Now, doesn't right sound more delicious.

It was a proper birds nest, and proper tastes good.
We also had duck two ways (there is a third way - soup - but we decided to skip it).  The first option is the most common way to have peking duck.  The skin and slivers of meat are cut up and served with crêpes, hoisin, cucumbers, and scallions.  The second is also a wrap.  Using the rest of the meat from the duck, it's diced and fried and served with lettuce cups.

My duck was perfect.
Crispy, silky, meaty, fatty but not oily.
It's about $40 for duck two-ways.  I totally could have eaten it myself.  Shoulda, coulda, woulda...

Chung King Garden on Urbanspoon

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