Outside of the hype, City Bites takes you to the places that have weathered the trends and will still be here when pulled pork and cronuts are as fashionable as apricot chicken. This time, Ming’s Palace is on the menu.
After 28 years in business it’s excusable to forget the neon signage and satin yellow chair covers of Ming’s Palace. But ask anyone around town where to go for Peking Duck and they’ll instantly remember and tell you that Ming’s is the place to go. Making its mark as the place to go for an authentic Cantonese Peking Duck experience, the place remains as unchanged as the dish itself. Stuck in an endearing time warp of tradition, the restaurant has formal Chinese white tablecloth styling and still relies on word of mouth to maintain a customer base. Owners Pang Ming Chiu and wife Mei Lin have three children, all girls, who have grown up in the restaurant. The family has always been involved in the Chinatown scene with a partnership at Ming’s Steamboat around the corner on Morphett Street and a successful wholesale shallot cake business. Most of the shallot cakes around Adelaide that are in the canton style (the round donut shape) are supplied by the Chius. But of course they reserve the recipe for their largest, crisp and light shallot cakes for their restaurant only. These, alongside an extensive list of classic Cantonese dishes are available to accompany the duck. Famed for its crispy skin and melting rich texture, the Peking Duck drew its name from the city that it’s specialised in; Beijing. The word was coined by French Missionaries of the 17th and 18th century from the phonetic sounds of the word ‘Beijing’ through the Nanjing dialect. Names aside, the dish available at Ming’s palace is as generous as it is delicious. Reserving a duck will set you back $53.50 and will easily feed four people. The first part is, of course, pancakes with shallots, cucumber and hoisin sauce. Crisp duck skin is cut away from the bird with a little meat left behind. Presented separate, diners construct pancake bites to their desired ratio. For the second part, there’s a choice between fried rice and fried noodles with shredded duck meat – picked from the carved duck. If any additional dishes have been ordered they’ll appear at this time too. Vegetables aren’t a terrible idea in between all the meat and carbohydrate. To finish, if you haven’t filled up on pancakes and fried rice, there is a bowl of soup waiting made with the remaining bones and meat from the duck. It’s a pleasant and light finish, full of savoury depth and a little more duck meat to send off the meal. The warm clear soup should help a little with digestion too. The duck and the fortune chicken are still prepared by Ming himself onsite. His wife and daughters work in the restaurant and family or friends can often be seen lingering. Receipts are still hand written and their social media presence is zilch. If you have a question, call and ask. Just don’t forget to reserve a duck. Ming’s Palace 157-159 Gouger St 8231 9970