Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chi - Little Rock - Roasted Duck

I love watching Luke's Vietnam on the Cooking Channel in the early mornings when the girls are still asleep.  This morning he was featuring some of Vietnam's most traditional dishes in the "Greater Hanoi" episode.  He was showing how they flavor a whole duck with aromatic lemongrass, ginger, and shallots, then they slow roast it over fire to achieve a crispy skin.  Our biggest celebrations and holidays in the Nguyen household almost always included crispy, roasted duck.  The problem was that you only got a small amount of meat around the bone - in pieces once the duck was chopped up and served on a platter.  Luckily I found the roasted duck served at Chi on their Traditional Chinese menu.  And....they had the boneless option!  This is one of the best things I have ever eaten at a restaurant!!
This is the half duck.  Be sure and ask for the boneless order.  It came with 6 of those pillowy soft steamed buns that if you're familiar with David Chang and his famous steamed buns, then you know that calling them pillowy soft is a cliche by now.  But they do melt in your mouth.  Another cliche, no wonder my Honors English professor gave me a B.  I'll rephrase.  The contrast of the crispy outer skin of the duck combined with the tender dark meat, the shredded scallions, and the fluffy buns lightly sweetened with hoisin makes every bite a great moment to realize that you're just lucky to be alive and lucky to have delicious food to enjoy!
It's a little confusing whether the place is called Chi or Chi's, but the food is so well worth exploring.  I always stick with the dim sum or the traditional Chinese menu.  But ask for all 3 and discover how many delicious dishes the restaurant is capable of making. 

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