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Best Tea Smoked Duck in Chinatown

Best Tea Smoked Duck in Chinatown

Where to Find Tea Smoked Duck in Chinatown

There are many great restaurants in Chinatown that serve tea smoked duck. As I started my search for the best, I began by asking locals for their recommendations. Many suggested checking out restaurants on Division Street like Emperor’s Palace and Hop Kee Restaurant.

I decided to start my search at Emperor’s Palace, known for its Peking duck. Upon arriving, I was impressed by the lively atmosphere and inviting aromas wafting out of the kitchen. Scanning the menu, I noticed they offered both Peking duck and tea smoked duck. Intrigued, I inquired with the server about what sets their tea smoked duck apart. She explained that while Peking duck is cooked in the oven, tea smoked duck undergoes a smoking process using lap cheong, tea leaves and other spices which impart a distinct flavor. It sounded worth a try.

Tasting the Tea Smoked Duck

At Emperor’s Palace, I ordered the tea smoked duck as the main dish to accompany my meal of steamed rice and char siu manapua. I was eager to see how it compared to Peking duck. When it arrived, I was struck by the beautiful mahogany coloring of the skin. I could smell the subtle aromas of tea and lap cheong. Taking my first bite, I was delighted by the tender meat underneath the crispy skin. The flavors of tea and spices had infused throughout, giving it a richness and complexity I had not tasted in Peking duck before. It was moist and flavorful without being too greasy. I was thoroughly enjoying my meal.

Comparing Preparation Methods

While Peking duck is well-loved for its skin, I found the texture and flavor of tea smoked duck‘s skin even more satisfying. To understand the differences better, I did some research into their preparation methods:

Peking Duck Tea Smoked Duck
Cooked in oven until skin is crisp Hung and smoked over several hours using tea leaves, lap cheong and spices
Rendered duck fat keeps skin moist and crisp Smoking imparts a deep mahogany color and smokey flavor throughout
Flavor comes primarily from the skin Whole duck absorbs nuanced flavors inside and out

As I reflected on my findings, I could see why tea smoked duck has become so popular – the smoking process infuses an incredible depth of flavor throughout the entire duck. In my opinion, it is truly what sets Emperor’s Palace’s tea smoked duck apart.

Other Recommended Spots in Chinatown

While Emperor’s Palace served me an exceptional tea smoked duck, I was eager to do more exploring. Hop Kee Restaurant was another top recommendation, so I decided to swing by next. Upon arriving, I was pleased to see Hop Kee also had tea smoked duck on the menu along with traditional dim sum favorites. Unlike Emperor’s Palace, Hop Kee prepares its tea smoked duck in a charcoal oven right on the premises. From my conversation with the server, I learned they source their ducks from a local farm and custom blend their tea rub. Intrigued, I placed an order to see how Hop Kee’s smoked duck compared.

In addition to Emperor’s Palace and Hop Kee Restaurant, some other Chinatown locales highly recommended for their tea smoked duck included Joy Villa, Great NYC Dim Sum and Wo Hop. Eager to sample more of the choices, I looked forward to future visits to continue my exploration and discovery of the best tea smoked duck in Chinatown.



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