Headless Pei Pa Duck at PK Oriental in Miami's Chinatown

It's 9.26 a.m. on Saturday and this crazy foodie is sitting in a car outside PK Oriental Market waiting for the "open" light to click on. As the clock approaches 9:30, the metal doors are pulled back and a smiling face beckons eager shoppers to come in.

When entering the store one can easily become lost in the huge selection of Asian ingredients. But don't. Beeline for the counter and the Pei Pa Duck. Even at this early hour, there are other shoppers scurrying towards the counter. And PK Market makes only three Pei Pa ducks on Saturdays (and three on Sundays).

Pei Pa Duck gets its name from a Chinese guitar called the Pipa. Apparently when hanging to dry, the duck looks to some like this instrument. But after deep frying, it looks likes something you want to eat immediately.

When I arrive, there are exactly 3 ducks behind the counter and 3 customers to buy them. The duck is taken down and a tiny woman behind the counter who speaks very little English asks; "You want me to cut?" Encouraged by my nod and smile, she goes at the duck with a huge machete and in 2 minutes flat, what looked like a "guitar" is now in little pieces. But the show is not over, and when she asks "you want head?" it's decision time. Are you a true foodie who will make stocks, soups and suck every flavor out of the head, or are you like me, just a gluttonous consumer looking for the next flavor fix? No Iron Chef here, so no head....

The cut-up duck is deposited into 2 take home containers along with some hoisin sauce for dipping. It smells divine, and the second this hungry duck-hunter gets home, the containers are opened and the pieces dipped into the sauce one by one. They are hot, crispy and savory on the outside, tender and with a bit of sweetness on the inside (cinnamon maybe?). Perfect with an icy cold Tsingtao. Yes, it's before noon but it's Saturday so the rules don't apply...

PK Oriental Market
255 NE 167th Street, Miami

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