By Eduardo Preciado
Numerous restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley area serve duck every day, either shredded, stuffed, roasted, glazed, sautéed or curried.
Eating duck is very common across all Asia. Luckily for those that want to know what all the fuss is about, eating duck is just a few blocks away from ELAC.
The Duck House is a Taiwanese restaurant but serve dishes from all over Asia. As diners walk in, they are seated are greeted with a smile and sat quickly by friendly servers who speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
The restaurant is as small as a café with Chinese statues across the room and beautiful mural arts on the wall. They have tables that sit from 2 to 12 guests, so it’s great for big groups. They also provide outdoor seating.
Their table set is with white cloths, tea cups and condiments. After diners order, they are served with hot tea, steamed white rice and a complimentary winter melon, scallion, pork and pork broth soup, which is common in China to drink soup before a meal.
The soup tastes exactly like the Mexican dish, pozole, except without the red chili. Now, if diners order the Traditional Roasted Peking Duck, they will be waiting for it minutes longer than any other dish, but it is well worth it.
The duck will feed about four people, so I highly suggest going with a group if you plan to order this. When the duck finally gets served diners get the sliced duck, both breast and thigh, with crispy duck skin on the edge of the plate. With thin pancakes (crepes), shredded cucumbers and scallions, and this thick red Chinese barbeque like sauce that is salty, sweet, tangy and a hint of spiciness called Hoisin Sauce.
The way you eat it is the same way as a taco. You hold your warm crepe, top with some of the succulent duck meat, some crispy duck skin for some texture, shredded cucumber and scallions for some freshness and the Hoisin sauce.
So diners dig in and taste the layers of flavor that this Chinese taco brings to the palate. Another dish that I highly recommend is the sautéed string beans.
The string beans are sautéed with garlic, ground pork, and ground shrimp with some of the fermented bean sauce and are absolutely delicious. Diners get the sweetness from the sauce, the crunch from the string beans and the background flavors of pork and garlic.
Duck House has other items if you don’t care much for duck. The menu has an extensive selection of seafood dishes from scallops, eel, black cod and squid.
If you’re not a big a fan of seafood they also have chicken dishes, beef dishes, and salads that are nothing like your typical Caesars salad. They also sell many kinds of teas, wines, sakes, and have great but few beers like Tsingtao.
Although they have a lunch special that starts at $5.95 it isn’t much food at all, it mostly consists of salads and soups. A whole meal will cost you about $13 per person.
The Duck House is located on 501 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. Its open Monday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Their parking lot is small, so be prepared to park on the street especially during peak hours like lunch and after 9 p.m.