Everyone is taking Friday, January 18 off work, aren’t they? Of course! Because how else to properly honor the regal celebration of National Peking Duck Day?
Oh, c’mon, of course you knew there had to be a national day showcasing what is known as the national dish of China. Hallmark has been making “Happy Duck Day” greeting cards for years, surely.
But as it turns out, there is no traditional celebration for National Peking Duck Day. You can create your own celebration of this day by roasting a homemade Peking Duck… if you’re crazy. There are many steps involved in the process of making the authentic dish that was first dreamed up in the Yuan dynasty in the 1200s, including the distinctive process of when the chef inflates the intact skin on the duck get it extra crisp before it’s flamed in a fire-fed brick oven.
For a more manageable approach, celebrants can simply make dinner reservations at a top-notch Chinese restaurant to eat – um, salute – the feathered guest of honor. Here are a few places that serve the best poultry in the Bay Area, in San Francisco, the unofficial local capitol of duckness. And you can do it any day, National Duck Day or not.
· Haute-style at Hakkasan – This shiny new, ultra sleek salon of sophistication opened downtown in December, and is already drawing crowds for its modern Cantonese cuisine such as dim sum or Wagyu in five spice sauce, alongside extensive wine and sake programs. Duck lovers can indulge in the luxurious Peking Duck with Tsar Nicoulai ‘Reserve’ Caviar, featuring a whole Peking duck, 16 pancakes, scallions, and choice of XO or black bean sauce, or the Pipa Duck, which is delicately butterflied, roasted, and served over hoisin sauce.
1 Kearny Street, San Francisco, 415-829-8148, hakkasan.com.
· Old School-style at Yank Sing – With two locations in the Financial District, Yank Sing is a San Francisco Dim Sum landmark since 1958. A signature dish at dish busy, boisterous eatery is house-roasted Peking Duck, served as a “deem sum” appetizer, and it’s dainty, so you’ll want to order several plates to truly satisfy that beaky craving. The crispy, paper-thin honey-coated skin melts in the mouth, and tender slices of succulent meat burst forth as you bite into a steamed seashell bun. Bit wait - it’s all even better with a flurry of finely slivered scallions and slick of hoisin sauce.
101 Spear Street, San Francisco, 415-957-9300 or 49 Stevenson Street, San Francisco, 415-541-4949, yanksing.com.
· Classic Cantonese-style at R&G Lounge – This gem is in Chinatown, and brims with traditional Cantonese-style cuisine accented by a rainbow of authentic Chinese ingredients. The Peking Duck is a luscious classic, presented in traditional style of a specially marinated whole Peking duck that is roasted to a crispy-skin golden brown and served with pillowy steamed buns and tangy-sweet house sauce.
631 Kearny Street, San Francisco, 415-982-7877, rnglounge.com.
Tip: “Fly like a lucky duck” into the city, with a private limo or Town Car from Pure Luxury Transportation.