Roast Duck at Ying Du – NYC
Roast Duck over Rice @ Ying Du
Ying Du is one of those places that makes working in Midtown more tolerable. When I tell people I work in Times Square, people always ask what I eat. Yes, it’s true, Times Square is tourist central and there are a million of overpriced restaurants that cater to tourists that don’t know any better. Everyday, I have to fight the swarm of slow moving tourists to get in and out of my office building. No offense to tourists, I know what it’s like to be a tourist. You’re confused, discombobulated from a stressful flight, and you want to take it slow, but please, “Can you look at your subway map on the left or right of the sidewalk instead of smack in the middle of a busy street?!” In any case, among all this madness, a few blocks away in the Garment District, there are small restaurants like Ying Du that exist soley to feed the midtown masses, in particular the Chinese masses. Meaning, don’t go to Ying Du if you want General Tso’s Chicken or Sesame Chicken.
When you walk in, you may be confused on what to do. Relax. It’s quite easy. Stand on line and when it’s your turn, one of the women behind the counter will give you a plastic token with a number on it. The number corresponds to the number written on the Styrofoam container. She’ll then ask you what you want. Ying Du is set up similarly to other three dishes over rice places in Chinatown. You can either pick one protein and two vegetables for $4.50 or one of the roast meats hanging in the window and one vegetable for $5. I usually get the $4.50 combo because I like their vegetable selections, but once in a while, when I’m feeling like I need more protein, I get the $5 roast meat combo. When you are finished ordering, your container will be placed by the register. The cashier will then call out the number on the container. If the number matches your token, you win a delicious lunch! Before they had the token system, it was bit crazy there. Once I came back to work with someone else’s lunch, and it was not good, nothing I would have picked at all. My coworker, Taiwai, even had a fight with the people over at Ying Du; something about his lunch being missing from the pile and them not caring enough to make another one quickly. For the past few months, he’s been staging a one-man boycott of Ying Du, and although he admits they have the best roast meats in Midtown, he refuses to go back. More for me I say. And no, I’m not the one who took his lunch.
Today I got the Roast Duck over Rice with Chinese Broccoli. As you can see, the portion is huge. The duck was flavored perfectly with just the right amount of saltiness and sweetness. The meat was juicy and each bite, as always, was heavenly in all its fatty glory. The duck skin could have been crispier, but hey, it just traveled four streets and one avenue in a Styrofoam container. I’m sure I wouldn’t fare as well. And as for the Chinese broccoli, sauteed in oil and splashed with a tiny bit of soy sauce, it still had a bite even though it had been on the steam table. The turnover is pretty high at Ying Du, so usually the food is fresh from the kitchen.
So, if you are ever in Times Square and happen to see a small Asian girl heading your way, “Get out the way, I need to eat my duck!”
UPDATE – No more duck at Ying Du! Ahhh!!!
273 W 38th St (Betw 7th & 8th Ave)
NY, NY 10018