Sunday, June 10, 2007

Camphor Tea-Smoked Duck at Wu Liang Ye

I've written about Wu Liang Ye several times before, but that was before I had become comfortable with shooting food photos, so the posts were unillustrated. I had a camera with me for a recent lunch at the 48th Street branch of Wu Liang Ye, and I shot this photo of the camphor tea-smoked duck, perhaps my favorite item on the menu.

This may well be the most remarkable duck I've ever eaten. The meat is juicy, with a bacony smokiness that complements rather than masks the essential duck flavor. The skin is perfectly crisp, with just enough fat left to add another texture to the ensemble. The preparation differs at the various branches, however. At 86th Street the skin was much less crisp, and the overall result was a greasier, fattier duck (albeit with wonderful meat). I've also tried the tea-smoked duck at Szechuan Gourmet (39th Street), Grand Sichuan International (Hell's Kitchen branch, now closed), and Spicy & Tasty (Flushing). While most Sichuan places do a respectable version of the dish, none can compare with the rendition at Wu Liang Ye on 48th Street.


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