Falls Church, Virginia. A small little town near erm……near DC. Well actually I don’t know if it’s small since I was in the back seat of a van and had NO idea where we were going. All I knew was we were heading to Peking Gourmet Inn for Peking Duck. Earlier in the day I had googled this place on yelp. As usual there were mixed reviews but mostly positive. I had imagined this place to be a typical Chinese restaurant serving dishes like kung pao chicken, moo shu pork chicken everything, general tso chicken, orange chicken, broccoli and beef and etc. BUT their specialty was Peking Duck and that seems to be the main star of the restaurant.
When we pulled into the parking lot, there were loads of people waiting outside the restaurant. It’s good that it’s that popular but that just means a long wait. I also noticed that the restaurant is inside a strip mall along with other Asian restaurants. P’s parents had made reservations for 7:30pm and we got there around 7:20pm. The front door and the waiting area were packed with people. They were still trying to sit the 7pm reservations, so I knew it was going to be a loooooong wait. Finally we got seated after a bit of a wait. The Peking Duck was definitely the star of the restaurant because every table ordered the duck, well few tables ordered 2 ducks! We left the decision making and ordering to P’s dad, he decided on option #1 which included Peking Duck and 4 other dishes. We were given hot and sour soup and few small plates of food to snack on while we wait. I wonder how many ducks the restaurant sold each day. Anyhoo our duck came. The carver carves the duck right in front of you, first the skin then she scraped off the layer of fat and carved the meat out. When she was done carving she placed the plate of skin and meat in the center of our table and we dug in. To eat Peking Duck, you first get a flat pancake, its more like a tortilla, then place a piece of skin and top with hoisin sauce and slices of scallions. Roll or fold the pancake and eat. The skin was perfectly crispy, I was eating a bundle of joy. YUM!
I have eaten many Peking Ducks in my life, mostly in LA. The way LA restaurants serve Peking Ducks are different. They don’t carve the duck in front of you nor do they serve it with thin pancakes, instead they serve it with a thick white bun (I actually prefer the bun). I’m not sure if the people in LA have no knife skills or they just don’t give a shit because the pieces of duck skin have so much meat and fat while authentic Peking Duck skin is just skin. Also in LA a layer of shrimp chips are underneath the duck to absorb all the fatty oil. I grew up in LA so yes I do prefer the LA style even though Peking Gourmet Inn is the authentic style. Besides the duck, hoisin sauce and scallion I also add a piece of the shrimp chip because its good.
I did enjoy my meal at Peking Gourmet Inn, the rest of the dishes were awesome and the service was nice but I have 2 criticisms. The first was the skin, when eaten by itself, was quite bland. The second isn’t really a criticism but after they skinned the duck and sliced few slices of meat what do they do with the rest of the duck? In LA you can ask the restaurant to do 2 dishes. 1 is the Peking Duck and the other is the lettuce wrap with the leftover duck meat. I just wish Peking Gourmet Inn offered that choice but to find a great authentic Peking Duck place there was truly awesome.
– Peking Gourmet Inn 6029 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA