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Beijing Duck Feast at Sun Wah BBQ: Chicago, IL

Sun wah whole duck

This is a fun concept for a meal. The idea is that you order a whole Beijing (Peking) duck, and the restaurant makes a multi-course meal from it. You'll get the duck meat and skin, along with pancakes for wrapping. They'll then take the carcass and make duck fried rice from the scraps, along with soup from the bones and remaining bits.

I'm relatively certain they aren't doing this real-time, with your duck's carcass, but regardless, the food is pretty damned good, and quite a bargain to my mind.

Relatives who live in Chicago recommended that we trek up to Sun Wah to give this meal a shot.

Sun wah interior

Sun Wah is big and bright, with large skylights. The lunch time business was quite brisk during our visit. Lots of tables ordering the Beijing Duck Feast, along with a variety of other Chinese dishes (I'm told the rest of the food is pretty good, but I have no idea). Lots of tables were ordering the duck as just one of the components to their meal. We, however, were there strictly and wholly for the duck.

You're advised to call ahead to reserve the duck for your meal. You don't really reserve a table, but rather the meal.

Sun wah sliced duck

Within not a very long time of ordering, someone will come to your table with a cart and whole duck and slice that shit right up, making a surprisingly large pile of meat and skin.

Sun wah duck platter

If you're like me you grab the legs immediately. You then place the unsightly bones on your plate and they'll get in the way of the photo you're going to take. You'll try to crop them both out but it just screws up the photo too much, so you're forced to leave part of one in the shot. Yumm-o.

Sun wah pancake

The skin and meat (and fat) is served with a plate of raw vegetables (scallion, carrot) and hoisin, and those puffy pancakes, which aren't to my liking. I like the flat pancakes for peking duck. Experts will have already noticed from the top photo the bottle of Sriracha that is on the tables.

Sun wah fried rice

Sun wah soup

The rice came out, and was a fine duck fried rice. A big ol' pile. The soup, also fine. A big ol' bowl. Nothing mind-blowing with the soup and rice, but both executed well.

The real star is the duck (and the show). And the bill (not the duck's). For some reason I was expecting that this meal was 60 bucks. I think the check, and this was with a couple of drinks, was about $30. A good deal.

I wouldn't fly to Chicago specifically for this meal. And in fact if you're in New Jersey, there are some places that do a similar meal. I came to learn this only after I returned from Chicago, but I cannot for the life of me remember which places do it. If you know feel free to tell me!

Sun Wah BBQ : 5039 N. Broadway : Chicago, IL : 773.769.1254