Leftovers of Peking Duck with Steamed Buns
Accompaniments: Scallion, Pickled Daikon, Cucumber, Sugar, Hoisin
The concept of a “doggie bag” or taking home leftovers from a restaurant meal is not an American invention. It’s been around since the sixth century B.C. when Romans would wrap up goodies from a banquet meal and take home the leftovers in a cloth. It showed respect and honored the host, implying the food was good and was worthy of taking home. Food preparation way back then could not have been easy, so, seriously, whose ancestors wouldn’t take the bountiful offerings from the big buffet back to their humble abode?
Nowadays, one may want to consider the following when it comes to doggie bag etiquette:
- On a first date – driving home with a box of half-eaten food on your lap is not very romantic after all. It may, in fact, make one look cheap. But on the other hand, it may convey eco-friendliness, sensibleness, or appreciation for the meal.
- At a business meeting – business should be the point of the meeting, not the food. Unless of course the business is recycling or the sale of to-go containers!
- Trying to make a good impression? Some people do think taking food home is tacky. While others see letting good food go to waste, as well…wasteful.
- Some people might be concerned that the Chef may be insulted should the gastronomic creation end up in the trash. Is this true Chefs?
- And some actually do take the goodies home for the doggie. But as much as I’m sure he would enjoy them, Wilson’s digestive track is calmer when sticking to his regular diet of kibble, chicken and low-fat cottage cheese. How about your pooch?
When do I ask for a doggie bag? I’m pretty sure I haven’t called it a “doggie bag” since the 80’s. But I certainly would ask to take the food home if it were utterly delicious and traveled well. There needs to be a reasonable amount left over. Of course, a large portion – in and of itself – would not be motivation to take it home. Leftovers must be worthy of the taking.
As was Wolfgang Puck’s Peking Duck.
We recently enjoyed another over-the-top meal at WP24, Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese restaurant on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Downtown LA. We let the waiter order for us, had an incredible experience, and not-surprisingly, left with several doggie bags filled with Duck, Lobster, and Lamb.
I easily recreated Puck’s accompaniments at home: Sugar, scallion, pickled daikon, (store-bought) hoisin, cucumber. They were then served in tall shot glasses adding drama and to show off the colors.
The duck was brushed with more hoisin sauce and reheated in a 400° oven until heated all the way through. The skin crisped-up nicely. The leftover steamed buns turned out surprisingly well when microwaved, wrapped in a paper towel for several seconds until hot.
Served on a silver platter. Attempting to make leftovers as elegant as possible…Spread a bit of hoisin onto the steamed bun, add a sprinkling of sugar. Layer with a slice of duck, batons of daikon & cucumber, and strips of scallion.
What do you think? When do you take the leftovers home?