NO.8 CHINA HOUSE
Dip that rich ultra-crispy delicately fatty freshly-sliced sliver of golden-brown skin from the house-roasted Peking Duck into . . . no, sorry… not Hoi Sin sauce. That’s not the way tradition dictates in No. 8 China House, the Grand Hyatt’s, for lack of a more apt term, very grand and very new Chinese restaurant. At No. 8, Chef de Cuisine Carson Luo enthusiastically demonstrated that the best way to enjoy the duck’s crackling is by dipping it into pure white sugar crystals. As I’m never one to be averse to trying new experiences, especially in all things culinary, I eagerly complied. How was it? It certainly changed my perspective about Peking Duck, and made me fall in love with it all over again. The sugar contrasted and complemented the duck’s inherent savory flavor profiles, and added a touch of texture too. It was almost like candy, actually. A most divine and decadent sweet treat.
I’ve always loved this delicacy. More so when I discovered that third way of enjoying Peking Duck: when the most flavorful meaty morsels still attached to the chopped-up bones -- instead of being boiled and served as a rather ordinary soup -- are fried to crispy goodness with salt and pepper. Fantastic with a frosty beer, an expensive cognac, or a 12-year old whisky on the rocks. Peking Duck is the gift that keeps on giving. From the first way, the skin rolled with scallions and cucumber spears in those thin white pancakes, to the common second way with the meat minced and served with lettuce leaves, and all the way to the last beautifully deeply flavorful crunchy bit of the third way. China House No. 8’s version will
“I’VE ENJOYED THIS DELICACY EVERYWHERE, FROM MANILA TO TORONTO TO THE LEGENDARY QUANJUDE ROAST DUCK RESTAURANT IN BEIJING, WHICH HAS BEEN OPEN SINCE 1864. NO. 8’S IS SECOND TO NONE.”
never disappoint. It’s a long process, from procurement to prepping to slow roasting the ducks in the restaurant’s specially built mango wood-fired oven. The result is a distinct aroma, a subtle smoky fragrance that elevates this Peking Duck from the usual. I’ve had this delicacy everywhere, from Manila to Toronto to the legendary Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant in Beijing, which has been open since 1864. No. 8’s is second to none.
8 is a lucky number for the Chinese, and it’s by design that this restaurant, with its eight main areas -- the grand dining hall and seven VIP rooms -- was named as such. The food is classical Cantonese, cooked up by a team of six chefs, all experts from the mainland, working under
the supervision of Chef Carson: one is the Peking Duck master, another the Sze Chuan authority. The other four dedicate themselves to the intricacies of the Cantonese specialties. Watching this team of chefs perform different tasks, but as one, moving in choreographed unison it seems, is hypnotic. A culinary ballet. A delicious dance of flying ingredients and flaming woks. No. 8 is more than just a restaurant. It’s a showcase of Chinese cuisine.
03 1 Traditional Peking Duck: First Cooking 2 Whole Peking Duck3 Chilled Black Fungus
4 Seafood Soup with Crab, Shrimp, and Winter Melon5 Shrimp Salad with Seasonal Fruits6 Open Kitchen7 Braised Abalone with Fish Maw and Sea Cucumber8 Chef de Cuisine Carson Luo and his Chinese Chefs 07