Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel (Closed)

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 1

Since my previous year's birthday dinner at Uzbekistan - Los Angeles was just OK, I figured I would stick closer to home and try something more familiar, but a little different as well. I've had Peking duck in Chinese restaurants before, but usually served with steamed buns.

Lu Din Gee Cafe, which also calls itself Duck House, is one of the few restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley that serve Peking duck with Mandarin pancakes, very thin flour wraps. Reservations must be made at least an hour in advance. The three-course set menu was $47 and featured the Peking duck, duck bone soup, and duck stir-fried with bean sprouts.

When I called to make the reservation, I asked if I could have lettuce cups instead of the stir-fry with bean sprouts. The person who answered the phone said yes, but on the day of, the waiter said no.

But the person I spoke to on the phone when I made the reservation said I could.

Still no.

So unless you're luckier than me, that three-course menu is set.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 2

The Peking duck accoutrements of thinly sliced scallions and cucumbers, and dipping sauce were already on the table when we arrived. I don't know about you, but I'm kinda turned off by that. I know they were expecting us because of the reservation, but I just like seeing my food come out fresh.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 3

The Peking duck came out almost immediately.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 4

The meat was separated from the skin.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 5

The skin was oh so crispy, much crispier than the roast duck I get at Cantonese restaurants.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 6

Place a piece of meat and skin onto a flour wrap, add slivers of scallions and cucumbers, drizzle a bit of sauce, and you have a Peking duck wrap.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 7

You kinda need to do all that to get flavor. It was good, but I'll have to admit that I think that Cantonese roast duck is much more flavorful. Peking duck wins for crispier skin though.

Duck bone soup.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 8

The milky color is achieved by boiling the bones rapidly to extract flavor, similar to how ramen is made. Just napa cabbage and tofu. A very simple soup, similar to my Canh Bap Cai Bac Thao (Vietnamese Napa Cabbage Soup). I think silken tofu would have been better though.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 9

The last of the three-courses was the duck stir-fried with bean sprouts. Lil' sis loves bean sprouts so having a whole dish of them pleased her mightily. I, however, recognized it for what it was -- a way to offer an additional dish with very little cost. Tiny pieces of duck, obviously since most of it went to the Peking duck wraps, and cheap, cheap bean sprouts. A big bag of bean sprouts doesn't even cost me $1 at the grocery store. It was fine, but really, keep your expectations low.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 10

Since there were four of us, we also opted to get the barbecued eel on sticky rice, $20.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 11

This was actually my favorite dish of the night. I love unagi. Add it to a dish of sweet sticky rice and it was like eating sushi without having to hold myself back.

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House) - San Gabriel 12

So while I like experiencing authentic Peking duck, I like the roast duck with steamed buns I get at Cantonese restaurants more. Slightly cheaper and I get my lettuce wraps. :)

This location of Duck House is now closed and another Peking duck restaurant is in its place. A sign said it was going to reopen on Las Tunas Drive in the same area as Golden Deli Vietnamese Restaurant, but it never did.

The Monterey Park location of Duck House, however, is open at 501 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754, 626-284-3227.

Other Peking duck restaurant posts:
Lunasia Chinese Cuisine - Alhambra
Ocean Star Seafood Restaurant - Monterey Park

Lu Din Gee Cafe (Duck House)
Eastern Pearl Catering
1039 E. Valley Blvd., B102
San Gabriel, CA 91776

1 year ago today, Vegetarian Dolmades (Greek Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice, Tomatoes, and Onions).
2 years ago today, Perfectly Sweet - Alhambra.


  1. Looks like the same dishes as Tasty Duck! I liked the eel on sticky rice, too and I still need to try their sweet and sour fried fish. Wanna go sometime? :P

  2. GP,
    Now you're gonna talk me into hitting up all the Peking duck restaurants for comparison! The sweet and sour fried fish at Newport Seafood is really good.


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