In the interview for his Wok Stars turn earlier this week, Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang revealed that the next big project he's undertaking at his Taiwanese noodle shop will be preparing Peking duck for the holidays. Around both Thanksgiving and Christmas, he'll be carving up these puppies — possibly even stool-side. In an excerpt from the interview, Bruner-Yang shares how he's preparing as a chef and where else you might go in the DC area for some authentic Peking duck.
What are you doing to become a master of it?
I don't know, lost a lot of money burning them first. Eating a lot of duck for a couple of weeks. I've done it a few times, like one duck at a time. There's all kind of wives' tales about like, use a tire pump to separate the skin and all this kind of stuff. But if you think about it, you don't think Peking Gourmet is sitting there in the back with the tire pump blowing skin up all day. There is a way and you just have to figure it out.
Do you have any secrets to it?
I used the tire pump and it worked out great. All the recipes are really kind of pretty much the same. A lot of the stuff with Asian food is you just keep doing it until you get it right. No one is going to show you how to do it.
So you're not sneaking into someone's kitchen.
No one sneaks into anyone's kitchen. They're so protective about their trade. It's a pride thing to be like, "I'm the only guy that makes Peking Duck and I will not teach you unless you're my son or my brother's son-in-law" or something like that.
Where do you go for Peking duck?
Peking Gourmet. Mark's Duck House is pretty good, too, if you can't get a reservation at Peking Gourmet. But everyone goes to Peking Gourmet. You take your mom there for her birthday. It's that kind of place. I think they have their own duck farm because they go through so many ducks. But then they have to grow their own vegetables to feed those ducks and then they have a couple of vegetable specials based on what the ducks eat. And those are really good, too, like garlic sprouts that you can only get for a couple months.
· All Chinese Food Week Coverage [-EDC-]