Haozhan is a self-professed roast duck specialist restaurant. Located on Gerrard Street in the heart of Chinatown (literally a minutes’ walk from Leicester Square) it’s one of those restaurants which has red-orangish roasted ducks hanging in its display window. I thought it would be the perfect place to bring my daughter, who has grown up in Dubai with PF Chang’s VIP duck as her reference, to try the real McCoy – Peking Duck. For the record, there are many restaurants in Dubai which serve excellent crispy duck.
Of course, we started our meal with Haozhan’s roast duck which is brought to the table sliced, with a bamboo steam basket of pancakes on the side and finely julienned strips of cucumber and spring onion, and plum sauce. When telling my friend Mark Amin about our visit to Haozhan he pointed out that he prefers his roast duck served fork shredded; reminiscing of when, as a young boy, he was always amused by the waitress at this Chinese restaurant he would visit with his family making wraps for them with a pair of chopsticks. I have exactly the same memory, but I can’t remember which restaurant it was or where.
Back in Chinatown…we also ordered spring rolls, wonton soup and, at my daughter’s behest, Xiao Long Bao steamed dumplings (so she could compare them with the non-pork version we get in Dubai at Din Tai Fung). Not surprisingly, we all felt Din Tai Fung’s is better. We limited our mains to a fried rice, noodles and a sweet and sour. The food at Haozhan is brilliant, especially the duck.
For the sake of authenticity, I would have preferred Tsingtao beer rather than Tiger but that’s really nitpicking. Everything else was beautiful.
The service at Haozhan surprised us because, in addition to the speed at which our food was brought to the table, we also got a smile out of our otherwise dead serious waitress – twice. So, if you’re looking for a good Chinese restaurant in Chinatown (not all are good, mind you), especially one which serves excellent duck, then Haozhan is well worth a visit.
Waste NOT. Want NOT.