Date: July 25, 2011

Author: mikelee


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Grandpa’s War Shu Duck

My Grandpa Tong used to own Stanley’s Place, one of the first Chinese restaurants in downtown Detroit in the 50s. At one point, he had 100 employees which included 16 line cooks, 6 people solely dedicated to taking phone take-out orders, and 1 person who did nothing but make rice in a jacuzzi sized rice maker. The whole family worked there and it’s been a big inspiration to why/how I cook for people.

After a visit home to Michigan, where I had the pleasure of cooking for him, he laid down some knowledge and explains his recipe for one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes: War Shu Duck.

War Shu Duck is a whole duck that’s skinned and deboned, then the meat is minced and combined with ground pork (“you can use Cantonese roast pork too” he says). The skin is then used as a wrapper to surround the ground meat and covered in an egg wash with corn starch and sugar. You deep fry the whole thing and cover it with duck jus. Grandpa recalls that Detroit Mayor Coleman Young would call in advance to order 4 of them at a time for take out. From what I gather, it was the Momofuku Pork Bun of its time.

I’m dying to try this thing out and will report back with results. Hopefully it lives up to Grandpa’s standards, or at least Mayor Bloomberg’s.

Here’s a Yelp listing for the spin-off sister restaurant to my Stanley’s Place, cleverly named “Stanley’s Other Place.” My grandpa’s original restaurant was sold in the 70s and converted into a church, but the Other Place lives on.