November 12, 2008

Best duck in town

I have learned how to eat with chopsticks in Manila. Of course, Asian cuisine is a big hit in Europe, and you’ll find the hippest yuppies gathered around a conveying belt with plates of sashimi and the likes. But I don’t like sushi. I like cooked food, preferably roasted, fried, steamed or in oil. Hence my Asian cuisine of choice: Chinese. I have never eaten Chinese food as good as here in Manila. And when I think Chinese, there’s immediately a picture of a glazed, crispy duck that pops into my mind. 

Earlier this year, in the middle of my mad Peking duck addiction, D had to feed me duck at least once a week. Since I was at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on business a few times a week, I got the perks of eating lunch at Spirals. The duck carving station chef knew my preference for the thin duck skin rolls by the time the month was over. My cholesterol level must have thanked me when my insanity phase was over. But needless to say I still love duck! Upon our return from Europe, where we only had duck in the shape of foie gras, we went to Hai Shin Lou with D’s boys. The place looks a bit fancier than our usual Chinese spots; I don’t necessarily would want to spend for Chinese food (except if you go to Shang Palace I suppose), so I was a bit hesitant at first. The prices, though, looked relatively reasonable so we went ahead and ordered galore. We left bloated but happy. 

Last week, friends invited me to a Peking duck pig-out. Destination: Hai Shin Lou. D was sick and couldn’t go but I gladly obliged. You don’t say no to duck unless you have a very valid reason. I insisted on ordering the hakaw (steamed shrimp dumplings) as I remembered them to be very yummy. Aside from the whole duck we all came here for, I didn’t care much about the other orders. But I was pleasantly surprised by the beef in tausi sauce. Very tasty indeed. I’m not the biggest fan of salted fish rice, but who am I to say no to carbs? 

The star of the evening however was the perfectly roasted duck with its thin crispy skin and juicy meat. We got more plates full of duck pancakes than I had expected. And I was secretly thrilled I could eat more of those melt-in-your-mouth thin little wraps of crispy skin with scallions and hoisin sauce! My ultimate favorite. The second way was deep fried with pepper and garlic. It was succulent, although difficult to eat because of the plenty little bones. I preferred the diced and rolled in lettuce way we had last time. I vaguely remember that there were gambas and some dish with tofu as well. We spent 700P per head I think. I was dizzy from duck overload.  But I was utterly satisfied.

Hai Shin Lou
810 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City
Tel: 8925148

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