Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sang Kee Part 1: Chinatown

Sang Kee Peking Duck House started out as a small, 20 person restaurant, but over the past 30 years has grown to include a stand in the Reading Terminal market, an Asian bistro in the suburbs, and a new noodle house on Penn's campus. The restaurants serve a Hong Kong style cuisine that has proven to be a winner with both Philadelphians and critics, as the main location has been voted one of the best Chinese Restaurants in Philadelphia multiple times.

Visiting the Chinatown location, a friend and I decided we definitely needed to order something with the namesake Peking Duck, but also wanted some variety, and so we decided to order the Peking Duck dinner for two. The dinner consists of three different courses: first, a wonton soup with vegetables, then traditional Peking Duck, and finally shredded Duck with vegetables in an XO sauce and "Special" fried rice.

The soup and vegetables itself were flavorful enough to hold their own but the broth proved delicious and the vegetables crunchy. I didn't try the wontons because I don't eat shellfish but my friend, eating all of the shrimp and pork wontons, let me know they were quite good as well.

The Peking Duck arrived next and did not disappoint. The ducks go through a special process, being cleaned, hung up to dry, filled with sauces, and cooked at high temperature until their skin is brown and crispy. Fast forward to the duck on our plate--the skin was brown and crispy, but not too fatty, and the meat inside was moist, tender and flavorful. We had Peking doilies on which to put the meat, and hoisin sauce to spread on the doilies. Scallions finished off the DIY roll.

They fried the rest of the duck meat left after carving with crisp string beans, green peppers, and other vegetables in a fairly spicy XO sauce. It came with a large side of fried rice, which was not overly fried and so was a nice, light complement to the stir-fry.

Overall, the food was better and more unique than any Chinese food you can get on campus (the Sang Kee on campus gets its duck from the one in Chinatown) and was reasonably priced. If you want duck and a meal, this is a great place to check out.

Article by Richie Stark
Photo by Sika Gasinu
This is the first of a series that will explore the various Sang Kees in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

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