Roast duck, pig’s feet, noodles rated by international Feather staffer
As a medium-sized city in California, Fresno boasts Chinese food and restaurants spread throughout the city and Fresno County. According to the Yellow Pages, there are 140 Chinese restaurants in the Fresno area, however, for someone looking for authentic Chinese food, the task may be more difficult than first imagined.
Amongst traditional Chinese people, many believe the Americanized version of their hometown cuisine is unsatisfying. The hunt for authentic, local Chinese food, not fake restaurants which sell things like orange chicken, does not have to be a challenge for Americans or Chinese expats.
Duck is often seen as the most miserable animal in China (ie. like chicken in US). However, ducks are a delicacy. The Chinese eat every part of a duck except their feathers and beak. This includes the head, liver, heart, intestine, neck, feet, wings and tongue.
A second common gourmet dish is pork and many enjoy pig’s feet, tail, ear, nose, intestine and head. Both south and north China have similar cooking methods for cooking pork dishes, but they have two special cooking methods to cook a duck.
The northern provinces commonly enjoy Peking duck and the south often makes roast duck. These two duck dishes are the most popular ones in China.
Those who cook duck have one thing in common: chefs keep the skin crunchy and the meat is served greasy and juicy. Yet, there are very different ways to eat. In the north, Peking duck is eaten with a pancake, sweet sauces and duck wrapped inside. However, for those who prefer roast duck, diners simply cut pieces off and dip it into sauces made from sour prunes.
The reason why Chinese people like to eat pig’s feet is that it holds plentiful collagen and helps the human body, benefiting the skin. As a result, females like pig feet more than males. Usually we pour the soup from pig’s feet into rice and eat the pig’s feet with the special rice.
During my four years in Fresno, my goal was to find the best authentic Chinese food. I recommend three restaurants: Four Seasons, Imperial Garden and Good Eats.
Four Seasons (342 N. Clovis Ave. in Clovis) serves a roasted half duck for $11. Diners may order steamed rice for $1 to eat with the duck. That is my favorite combination. The roast duck here is the most moderate. It is not too juicy but not too dry. The skin is very crispy and it tastes salty and savory. Four Seasons has a good selection of Chinese food that keeps me coming back for more, although, the roast duck is a winner. While they do have a Facebook page (it is not kept current), call Four Seasons at (559)-324-8438 for more information.
The second restaurant, Imperial Garden (6640 N Blackstone Ave, in Fresno), is very close to River Park. The price is $13 for a half duck and $23 for a full duck. The difference between these two restaurants is that Imperial Garden’s duck is dryer and Four Seasons’ is juicier. Their duck is probably the driest one I have had. Maybe this is why their duck skin is the most crunchy and slippery. While they do not have an independent website, call Imperial Garden for more information at (559)-435-4406.
The place for juiciest roast duck, and the only place I found in the area that sells pig feet, is Good Eats (7724 N First St. in Fresno). The chef cooks pig feet by using a slow fire. As a result, the meat stays juicy and not too soft or hard at the same time. And the skin is very smooth and soft. Because of that, the skin easily dissolves in your mouth with the richest mouthfeel. Call Good Eats at (559)-261-0238 for more information as they do not have a website.
Chinese always eat dishes like pig’s feet or roast duck with a staple dish. Usually, it is rice or noodles. As a person from Shaanxi province in China, I usually prefer noodles.
Usually, I will order all kinds of noodles in restaurants. Although they are American versions, they are still noodles. Despite that, when I tried the black pepper beef-fried udon noodles at Good Eats, I felt like I was back in China. Even though it is not Shaanxi noodles, it tasted so good.
The New City restaurant (1484 E Shaw Ave, in Fresno) also sells noodles which differ from Good Eats: soup noodles. Their noodles are not what I was used to in China, but they are good enough to try for an occasional meal. I have tried their beef soup noodle with sour cabbage. Noodles are usually around $10 and would be able to serve two people. The New City menu is posted on Grub Hub. The restaurant can be reached at (559)-287-0296 for more information.
Out of all the places I have been to in the Fresno area for authentic Chinese food, I recommend Good Eats for pig’s feet, Four Seasons and Imperial Garden for roast duck and New City for soup noodles. Let me know which Fresno area Chinese food and restaurants you visit and which dishes are your favorite in the comments below.
Luke Wu can be reached via email.Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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