A famous story amongst my family is my dear grandmother was suffering from early onset Alzheimers and would wander over to Peking Man (which was 5 mins away from her house) to order herself her favourite comfort foods and leave without paying and they would just take it up with one of my relatives. We've grown up with their afternoon dining experience and since it's a restaurant that is mainly focused Peking and Szeuhan cuisine, afternoon tea is not a typical dim summing experience. It's more focused on hot/cold soy milk, dumplings, soup noodles and deep fried dough sticks and not little Chinese style tapas. I have my classic dishes I need to order which include my spicy red beef soup noodles where the noodles are made in-house as well as their pork and chive dumplings, pork money pouches which are all dipped in gingered red vinegar and deep fried dumplings. MMmmmm!
For my birthday dinner - my mom graciously ordered a banquet style menu of over 8 items including my very favourite 'star wars' soup which you have to pre-order 24 hours in advance as they need to prep and boil everything for about 12 hours! This was how the meal started with this delicious perfect soup with pillows of home made won tons and greens. It was a clear broth that warmed everyone's heart and my entire family lapped it up with a high level of satisfaction. Then in true banquet style fashion- we have a platter of cold cured appetizers which came with cured beef, drunken mini chicken, sweet fish and duck meat. We tried not to eat too much of it as we knew there was a big dinner ahead of us.
La piece de resistance came next with was peking duck. The manager Freddy carved the whole duck for us to watch which is always neat to see and then served it with lightly made and thin pancakes, hoisin sauce (which is key for this dish), green onions and cucumbers. We gorged this as it's a family favourite. The procedure for me is - get a thinly sliced pancake, slathered it with hoisin sauce, next pick some tender duck pieces, put crunchy cucumbers and one slice of green onion and wrap like a fajita and savour it!! My cousin Marcus must have had 4 or 5 helpings as it was his very favourite. Next came what I refer to as 'rainbow chop with crystal fold'. It's chinese chop suey of all the interior duck meat stir fried and served with crisp lettuce leaf which you wrap as a sandwich. The freshness and crunchiness of the lettuce always is a good balance between the savouriness of the duck stir fry and they feel really healthy when eating. Ok next up was deep friend crispy beef with wal-nuts and sesame - also known as "chinese french fries" due to it's savouriness and crunch- this dish was a huge hit. The sweetness with of the sauce mixed well with the crispiness of the chicken and the crunch of the nuts. OK still not done- we then had a whole lobster which was always juicy and my Aunt Estella always loves eating the lobster head. It's definitely not for everyone!
We had whole crispy chicken which was salty and very tender which is always served on a bed of shrimp crackers - delicious paring. We then had a sweet and sour boneless fish course which was delicious - the presentation alone was beautiful with a deep fried fish head with jeweled cherries as eyes and tail and the meat was soft and flavourful. And then we had seafood with egg white on top - not my favourite and by this point, I was getting the food sweats but we still weren't done. We had chinese greens with crab meat on top - and i love greens but I only could help myself to one serving because I coudln't breathe! And still - you know the end is near when e-fu stringy noodles and fried rice comes out. These are always the penultimate dishes and by this time - take out containers for tomorrow's lunches and dinners were out to take home all the left overs.
**** 1/2 stars
Peking Man - 1100 Sheppard Avenue East (Leslie and Sheppard)
Sat/Sun tea for 2 - $30 with tip
Dinner for 2- $50 with tip
Banquet style dinner - $$$
By Jacqueline Vong at 5:23 PM