Celestial Kitchen [天廚菜館] (Taipei, Taiwan)
One of me and Boris's favorites is duck - peking duck, duck laksa, duck confit, duck anything really, so we just had to go to a peking duck place in Taiwan. To my mum's surprise, there are quite a few spots in Taiwan that we never took notice of. Celestial Kitchen is just one of the restaurants around Taipei that serves Beiping style food. The interiors look traditional in a sit-in-a-round-table covered in white cloth casual banquet type restaurant, and not the I'm-sitting-on-a-stool type of traditional, and is a comfortable place with friendly waitresses. The restaurant itself is hidden on the third floor of a building, so it's fairly easy to miss unless you're looking for it...
We ordered the duck, which was mmm mm delicious! They always do a choice of two or three "eats," or ways of cooking a duck. We got the roasted peking duck (of course) [北京烤鴨], along with the duck and pickled veggie soup [酸菜粉絲鴨肉湯] - which was better than I'd expected! (The last dish, if you get three, is the sauteed duck bone [炒鴨骨]. The peking duck was so good, and comparable to Great China (in Berkeley, CA), which is one of the best places I've had peking duck at. Celestial Kitchen cleans out the fat beneath the skin really well - which is one of the first things I note (for health reasons) - but it's also a mark of skill in crafting a delicious peking duck. The skin was crispy and the meat not too dry (though it could be a little tastier) - but I especially liked how delicate their spring onions were. Their duck and green onions come from the same area in Taiwan called Yilan, which is known for those two things. I don't know how I feel about their 'tortillas' for the peking duck - it's not a bun, and it's not quite as thin as some tortillas - and I guess it all just comes down to preference. I'd give the overall dish an 8/10. The waitresses make the first wrap for you with extreme speed and skill using a chopstick, making them look super neat - while we struggled to make it any better with our hand...
|Peking Duck with Tortillas, Spring onions, and Sauce|
We also got this chicken and peas dish [鮮豆雞絲], apparently one of their house specials, which looked quite tasteless, but ended up being really fresh and delicious! I would definitely recommend it, since their peas are handpicked and gave the dish a nice texture [口感]. We also got this omelet covered veggie dish, which I had never even had before, but ended up being quite good, although I'll need to find out the name of it... We also got Gai-lan [芥藍菜] with their house-made mushroom oyster sauce, and a tofu dish [鍋塔豆腐]. Both were super tasty, and we were so stuffed, once again!
|Omelet over veggies dish|
They also gave us almond tofu/jelly for dessert! Oh, it's good to be in Taiwan...
Price: ~400NT$ pp | $-$$
Rating: somewhere between 3.5 and 4/5
Celestial Kitchen [天廚]
Nanjing West Rd. No.1 3F
#: (02) 2563-2380-3