A Deep Dive into the Rich History of Peking Duck

history of peking duck

There is a broad range of dishes that comprise Chinese cuisine and make it as special as it is today, and very few come close to Peking duck in terms of flavor and cultural significance.

The dish is undoubtedly iconic, with a crisp and delicate layer of skin and sweet, succulent meat enhanced by traditional Chinese spices and refined cooking techniques. To even the most particular eaters, it’s easy to see why Peking duck is exceptional.

But there’s something else about the dish that’s as special as the sensory experiences it provides and the craftsmanship it entails: its rich history.

The History of Peking Duck

Spanning back to the 420s, the story of Peking duck finds its roots deep within the Northern and Southern Dynasties of the time—a glimpse of the rich history that was to come.

Peking duck began as a dish only fit for royalty when royal dietary physician Hu Sihui experimented with duck meat in the early fifth century. The physician explored various ways to use the then-new ingredient by requiring it to be prepared inside a sheep’s stomach, which is a method still being used today.

Later down the road, gatekeeping was set aside as the dish found its way into Peking (now known as Beijing). In the city, culinary experts further improved the dish after it was brought by the Ming Dynasty from Nanjing—they used various additional methods to bring out its full potential. 

In what was arguably a significant turning point in the dish’s history, Peking duck flourished in terms of popularity during the Qing Dynasty as it became a special item on menus all over the country. During this time, skilled cooks dabbled into incorporating now-staple methods such as hanging, the hung oven approach, and skin separation, going a long way towards developing the dish.


Understanding Peking Duck

Regarded as one of the most famous Beijing dishes to date, Peking duck is commonly served as either an appetizer or afternoon snack. It is served as thin, tender slices of roasted duck meat paired with a supple helping of uniquely prepared crispy skin, all wrapped in a thin crepe. While many enjoy the dish on its own, historians and culinary experts believe that its impact is further elevated when it is paired with cucumbers, hoisin sauce, and spring beans.

At Ocean Palace Restaurant, we take pride in only using the freshest, best, and most authentic ingredients that are supposed to be found in every serving of Peking duck, namely: 

  • Roasted duck 
  • Various spices such as star anise and peppercorns
  • Crispy duck skin
  • Thin crepes
  • Cucumbers
  • Spring onions
  • Hoisin sauce 
  • Sweet bean sauce 

Peking Into Preparation

While the ingredients of the dish play an integral role in its taste, smell, and look, much of its appeal and flavor also comes from the methods employed to prepare it.

For instance, one or two-night marinations are standard in Peking duck prep because it allows the spices to fully seep into the meat and enrich its flavor. On the other hand, inflating a duck from neck to tail has also become another critical part of the preparation process because it helps the dish achieve its famous crispy skin.


When you find yourself with the opportunity to partake in Peking duck and enjoy its rich flavors and textures, it helps to look back on the dish’s history as well. By being more mindful of the journey the dish embarked on to become what it is today, you’ll be able to enjoy and savor every bite even more.

Ocean Palace Restaurant takes immense pride in being the top Chinese restaurant in Houston and the place to be if you’re looking to experience iconic dishes like Peking duck, Dim Sum, dumplings, and egg rolls. Call us today to reserve a table for your next meal!

5 Chinese Dishes That Are Perfect for Picky Eaters

five chinese dishes for picky eaters

5 Chinese Dishes That Are Perfect for Picky Eaters

While Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, picky eaters still find it difficult to find things to eat when they’re at a Chinese restaurant. Luckily, Chinese food is incredibly diverse and has something for everyone. Indeed, one look at Ocean Palace’s menu and it’s clear how varied the flavors are. 

Given the number of dishes, it can be rather difficult to put together the perfect order. If you’ve been struggling every time you visit a Chinese restaurant with the picky eaters in your life, then we’ve got just the thing for you. Here are five Chinese dishes that are perfect for even the pickiest of eaters.

Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are one of the best ways to start off a meal at a Chinese restaurant. 

While it isn’t traditionally part of Chinese cuisine, egg rolls have become a staple at just about every Chinese restaurant in America. You’d be hardpressed to find anyone who doesn’t like egg rolls. While they are extremely simple, egg rolls offer diners a surprisingly satisfying textural experience. This is due to the fact that the rolls are fried until golden brown and are filled to the brim with tender vegetables and eggs. 

Lo Mein

Noodles have always been a crowd-pleaser and lo mein is no exception. Lo mein is egg noodles covered in a rich sauce. It’s a tasty dish that’s always present in Chinese dinners and Chinese takeout. While its flavors may lack complexity, this makes it the perfect side dish for the other Chinese dishes. 

Beef and Broccoli

There’s no better dish for meat lovers than beef and broccoli. What’s great about this dish is that it makes use of simple ingredients that everyone is familiar with. Despite its simplicity, it’s packed with flavors as it takes the best parts of Chinese cuisine and blends it all together. If you need an introductory dish to lead off with, then beef and broccoli are the way to go.

Wonton Soup

Wonton soup is perfect for when you want something warm and hearty. Indeed, you really can’t go wrong with wonton dumplings served in hot chicken broth. Aside from being satisfying, wonton soup is also a great option for kids due to how easy it is to eat. Unlike other Chinese dishes, you won’t really need to be skilled with chopsticks to enjoy this meal. 

Sweet and Sour Pork

While it’s often thought of as a Chinese-American dish, sweet and sour pork is a Cantonese dish that’s colloquially known as gú lóuh yuhk, which roughly translates to “ancient pork”. Sweet and sour pork is one of the most balanced dishes in Chinese cuisine. It’s savory, sweet, and has sour components that keep you coming back for more.


Ordering at a Chinese restaurant doesn’t have to be hard. As you can see, Chinese restaurants offer a multitude of different options and will surely have something for everyone. If you’re planning to eat out with picky eaters, be sure to keep this article in mind to ensure that your meal goes well. 

If you’re looking for a Chinese restaurant in Houston, then you’re at the right place. Ocean Palace Chinese Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant serves the best dim sum in Houston. We have a huge selection of snack-sized portions of different types of dim sum for you to enjoy. For a complete list of our offerings, check out our menu and order from us today!

Dungeness Crab: The Perfect Delicacy for Your Next Party

dungeness crab ocean palace

Bring out the lemon wedges and the Old Bay seasoning—crab season is here!

Are you inviting family or friends over for dinner? Make use of the season and hit the grocery store, because the Dungeness crab might be the best delicacy to feature in your next Crustacean feast! This article will tell you why.

What Do They Taste Like?

The delicate body flesh and slightly tougher leg meat of Dungeness crab have a sweet, mild, and somewhat nutty flavor. Because the fishing season runs from December to August, you can enjoy the exquisite live Dungeness crab longer than you can the Alaskan King crab.

Dungeness crab is deserving of being served alone, just boiled, steamed, or fried. You can order one from a restaurant, served on a silver platter with the cracking done for you.

Pulling the crab open and eating a portion of the fat and tomalley while cleaning it is part of the ritual for a native. Picking the meat from a crab with a single-minded focus could feel like a pleasurable, fleeting, wholesale addiction. People get together because of the feast. Anyone who gives up a delicious piece of crab meat for a friend deserves a special place in their heart for the rest of their lives.

How Are They Caught?

These crabs are caught in a way that is environmentally friendly and does not hurt other species. Commercial fishers catch Dungeness crabs in circular pots baited with herring, squid, or clams.

Individual fishers can also harvest crab. Crab pots identical to those used in the commercial fishery, ring nets, diving gear, dip nets, and hooked or hookless handlines can all be utilized to harvest crab for personal use. Dead-low tides can strand Dungeness crabs, which a vigilant beachgoer can pick up.

How Is Dungeness Crab Served?

You can prepare Dungeness crab in a variety of ways. Have full crab legs flown in, offer fresh Dungeness crab meat, or even order whole crabs to impress your guests. Here are some ideas to attempt if you’re having a dinner party:


Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the crab legs, or prepare a delicious mustard sauce with half Dijon mustard (any sort would do depending on your preference) and half mayonnaise. This sauce is simple, delicious, and makes a lovely appetizer when served over Dungeness crab legs. It will be a gastronomic adventure for friends and guests alike, as most people have never had this type of crab.

Main Course

The Dungeness crab is worth ordering if you are searching for a quick, no-fuss, and informal supper during the winter, especially around the holidays. It arrives fully cooked and ready to eat. All your guests will need are crab crackers or, if you’re in a hurry, a hammer to gently crack the legs, and dinner will be ready.

Amaze Your Guest with Some Fresh Dungeness Crab!

Dungeness crab is a culinary gem named for a bit of town and a shallow inlet inside the Dungeness Spit on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Unlike Alaskan King crabs, which are significantly larger and have little flavor, Dungeness crabs are sweet and flavorful. However, most people have never experienced this delicacy. Be the first one to give your family and friends that experience!

If you are looking for warm crab for dinner, order at our Ocean Palace Chinese seafood restaurant. Ocean Palace Houston is your one-stop destination for seafood takeout and delivery. Check out our menu for more options!

Visiting a Chinese Restaurant: What to Do With Your Kids

visiting a chinese restaurant

Every parent knows how taking kids to a restaurant can be such a drama-filled event. Children find the thought of eating out in a new environment either exciting or stressful. Those happy about it wouldn’t stop ‘exploring’ the restaurant, which often means running around with complete disregard of other customers and servers balancing food trays. Those who don’t like eating while surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar setting could start crying or throwing tantrums. 

If your child behaves perfectly when you go to restaurants, you’re one of the lucky exceptions! For the rest of the parents out there, though, you can use some tips, especially if you’re visiting the best Chinese restaurant in Houston:

Get Ready to Distract Them

For most kids, a Chinese restaurant is a strange place with lots of new things to discover. The food is different; the ambiance is not the same as what they’re used to, even the utensils are not the same! Before your kid gets overwhelmed by all the newness around them, get ready to catch their attention with some elements that would interest them so they won’t run around and make a scene. For instance, you can teach them how to use the chopsticks correctly. You can also ask for fortune cookies, and the kids might find it exciting to see a special message inside those treats. 

Order Kid-Friendly Dishes

Your kids probably won’t enjoy the heat and kick that a traditional Chinese dish offers, so you have to make sure to order some dishes with milder flavors. Egg rolls and dumplings are always a big hit with the little ones. If they love soup, you should order either a wonton soup or an egg drop soup. If they’re more familiar with pasta, you might want to order something like Lo Mein, which they can eat in the same way. You could also get them an order of Moo Goo Gai Pan – a serving of chicken cutlets and veggies in a light sauce. 

Have a Quick Lesson on Etiquette

If you have older kids who can understand instruction well, you can share with them some of the things that kids and adults should do when they are in a Chinese restaurant to show respect:

  • Do not place chopsticks straight up in a rice bowl because this could remind servers of their burning incense for the dead and is seen as bad manners in Chinese.
  • Use chopsticks properly; pick up food and not spear it like barbeque. 
  • Never use chopsticks as drumsticks or as sparring swords, as this could be annoying to other diners. 
  • Make sure to take leftovers home.

Help Them Become Familiar with Dim Sum

The kids might not be too keen on the idea of Chinese food because they don’t know much about it. Before taking your children out for a dine-in experience, you might want to consider ordering some Dim Sum and introducing them to your little ones at home. This way, the unfamiliar surrounding factor is taken out, and they’d be more open to trying Chinese food. 

Serve the best dumplings, congees, egg rolls, rice noodle rolls, and bao that they surely can’t resist. Once they’re familiar with the food and they love it, you can rest assured that when you go to a Chinese restaurant, your children are less likely to misbehave because they already know what food to expect.


By eating at a Chinese restaurant in Houston regularly, your kids will soon develop a sense of how they should act when they’re out to eat. Remember, it is often the unfamiliarity of the place and the food that’s making them uneasy or overly excited. By following the tips above, you can make your dine-in experience memorable for a good reason. 

Ocean Palace serves the best Chinese food in Houston. Whether you’re looking for savory seafood dishes or craving for some dim sum, we’ve got you covered. Order our dim sum and kitchen menu items for you and your family today!

The Gift of China: How to Order Dim Sum for Newbies

how to order dim sum for newbies

A great way to experience a culture is through food. China, one of Asia’s centers for cuisine, gave us a beloved dish: dim sum. Over the years, more and more variations of the traditional Chinese dish have been developed, but nothing beats tradition. If you haven’t tried dim sum before, you’re missing out on half of your life. But for newbies, how do you order dim sum?

  • Never Go Solo

Dim sum is traditionally meant to be experienced with a group. The servings come in woven bamboo baskets that steam the Chinese treasures, containing multiple pieces of each order. One of China’s values includes harmony, and nothing pays homage to that more than people come together to enjoy dim sum. 

  • Try the Classics

Newbies should experience dim sum the way locals and natives do it. First, order the essentials such as har gow or shrimp dumplings, siu mai or pork and shrimp dumplings, and guo tie or potstickers. These three food items are essential dim sum orders in every dim sum restaurant.

Some say that if these three fundamental orders taste great, it’s likely that the restaurant has a great chef, and all their meals will taste good. Next, try fried shrimp balls. These are hard to make since they require a crispy shell with a hot broth. If the chef nails all these food items, it means he’s skilled in the kitchen.

  • Enjoy Dim Sum with Tea

The dim sum experience is never complete without tea. Tea and dim sum have a longstanding association with Cantonese cuisine, where the phrase yum cha means “drink tea” is often interchanged with the phrase dim sum. A good dim sum place will offer a great variety of high-quality teas and even provide information about their origins. If a restaurant truly cares about its tea, it must care about its ingredients.

  • Hold on MSG

Pay attention to the restaurant’s use of monosodium glutamate or MSG. It is a way for some restaurants to trick people into thinking that the ingredients used in their meals are fresh and of the best quality possible. 

The combined effects of MSG include feeling too thirsty after a meal. Another way to know if the restaurant uses a lot of MSG is to identify the ingredients used and how they should taste. For example, if you can’t tell if it’s pork or shrimp, there might be other additives in it.

  • Check Freshness Before Eating

The best thing about dim sum restaurants is that they serve everything fresh. Even if you order seafood, you’ll likely receive a fresh catch from the ocean. Since most dim sum ingredients come from the sea, it’s vital to check for freshness even if the food looks too enticing to eat.

Aside from seafood, also check for the freshness of the dumplings. Low-quality dim sum spots may not freshly wrap their dumplings then overcook them to hide that fact. If the dumplings break apart when you pick them up, they’re likely made fresh, just after you ordered.


Through dim sum, we can taste the flavors of China through small-sized steamed meals. Dim sum has penetrated even the American palate as more and more dim sum restaurants open in America every year. More and more versions of dim sum are made every year, but nothing beats authentic recipes and flavors. 

The Ocean Palace Restaurant in Houston offers the widest authentic selection of dim sum in America. If you’re looking for the best Chinese food near you, then Ocean Palace Restaurant is the right way to go. Order our dim sum sets today and enjoy your dim sum now.

Why Tofu Can Be Every Food’s Best Friend


Tofu is one of the most polarizing food ingredients out there. People are often quick to pronounce either their hate or love for the ingredient. However, maybe there is a way to bring more people on its side.

On its own, it’s easy to understand why people might hate tofu. It doesn’t taste like anything, which can be quite an offensive characteristic for a food to have. What is the point of eating it if it tastes like nothing? But that’s precisely why tofu can be your best friend in the kitchen. Setting aside the fact that tofu can be enjoyable on its own, tofu as an ingredient is so much better. 

It tastes neutral, making it a perfect conveyor for flavor. There are tons of beginner-friendly ways to enhance tofu itself or use tofu to take your dish to the next level. There are different types and textures of tofu, ranging from soft, medium, to firm, each with the potential to add more bite and excitement to your dish. Because it tastes neutral, there’s no reason why it should affect the taste of your dish.

Here’s why tofu can be every food’s best friend:

Tofu is Highly Versatile

No matter what your food preferences are—vegan, vegetarian, meat-eater—you can eat tofu. You can break it down, cut it up, or cook it whole, and with the proper seasoning, you can create a flavor bomb of goodness with it.

Soft tofu is perfect for desserts and stews, while medium and firm tofu packs a bit more bite, making it an excellent addition in meat dishes or food that mimics meat. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro in the kitchen, there’s no limit to the creativity you can explore with an ingredient like tofu. 

Tofu is Affordable

For an ingredient that can do so much, tofu is not at all expensive. You can even create it on your own if you want. You can find tofu in almost every supermarket, grocery store, and all Asian stores. It’s an excellent ingredient for big recipes that need to feed a lot of people.

Tofu is Nutritious

According to the USDA, just a quarter cup of firm tofu contains 117 calories, 7 grams of fat, 11 milligrams of sodium, 2.2 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein. It comes with a lot of micronutrients and is an excellent source of calcium and iron. A quarter block of tofu contains enough calcium to fulfill your daily need, with 553 milligrams of calcium. It also has 2.5 mg of your daily iron allotment and 237 mg of your daily value serving of potassium.

Tofu is a great diet food if that’s something you’re interested in. You won’t have to sacrifice flavor because tofu is lightweight enough that you can cook it however you want. It’s highly nutritious and filling.

The Bottom Line

Disliking tofu on its own is no problem at all. People have their preferences, and they want flavor in their food. However, tofu as an ingredient is something every cook or food lover must explore. There is a world of possibilities when it comes to cooking with tofu. 

You can get so creative with desserts, appetizers, main dishes, snacks, and anything else you can think of. It’s truly a food that everyone can enjoy somehow, someway. There is a tofu recipe for everyone out there. 

If you’re a fan of Chinese food, you can start your journey to loving tofu here. At Ocean Palace Restaurant, we offer some of the most fantastic tofu you’ll ever have among various Chinese dishes. Opened in 1999, we guarantee only the best Chinese food and service in Houston.

4 Varieties of Congee That Are Becoming Internet Stars

congee varietes

Rice porridge has played a significant role in Chinese culinary culture for generations as a classic comfort meal. Congee is traditionally known as a breakfast food or as a healing meal for the ill, young, and old. It is often the first meal given to infants due to its purported healing qualities and silky consistency. It is a rice meal that has been mashed down with water or broth in its most basic form. However, it also can break through cultural boundaries, serving as a doorway to new ways of thinking about how people eat, how to stretch a dollar, and finding something pleasant and cozy for breakfast.

Rice cooked with water is known as joke or congee in Asian nations and Chinese culture in particular. These days, it has gone from being the blandest meal you’ll ever adore to a rising sensation, with articles all over the internet applauding it. It is now made with healthy ingredients, trendy toppings, and heritage grains. Congee was a fundamental porridge that sustained people over several dynasties before it became a fashionable grain bowl.  

Traditional Varieties of Congee That Will Make You Not Skip Breakfast

As congee continues to gain recognition, its varieties will become more experimental in time. However, the most traditional types will always remain special and while promoting cultural appreciation.

  • Simplest Form Of Congee

Congee has always been a simple method to stretch a dollar by making food last when there isn’t much of it. In addition, most traditional dishes utilize a negligible quantity of rice in comparison to water. The rice-to-water or broth ratio may range from 1:5 to 1:8, implying that you can use very little to create a meal that will fill your belly.

  • Congee with Toppings

To make this meal, put 2/3 cup of rice into a slow cooker, then fill it the rest of the way with water and set it to simmer overnight. The following morning, top it with savory foods such as pickled vegetables, scrambled eggs, and leftovers from the night. On top, you can also sprinkle it with peanuts and fried crullers. 

Congee, according to many Chinese-American chefs, is all about the toppings. Variety in texture is key! Everything from cucumbers to wood ear mushrooms can be an excellent pairing. Some toppings, such as sliced fish or pig floss, are more commonly found in congee restaurants. A few fish cakes or pieces of fish may sometimes fall into your dish. However, you can experiment to find what combination of flavors you love.

  • Salted Pork and Preserved Egg Congee

This kind of congee is one of the most famous Chinese cuisines and can be found on most restaurant menus. This classic favorite may be found in dim sum restaurants and congee carts, particularly during the early hours. It contains preserved egg, commonly known as century egg, and minced pork. The century egg derives its name because it is fermented (typically for a few months) and darkens throughout the ageing process when it is steeped in ash, among other substances.

The century egg is well-known to generations of people who ate it as a snack and, of course, on top of their morning congee. Its yolk is somewhat harder than a plain boiled egg, and the “white,” which has become transparent brown-gray, tastes flavorful but not excessively salty. Its texture complements the salty, chewy ground pork in a smooth congee.

  • Millet Congee

Another variation uses millet and water to stretch rice farther since millet is less expensive than rice. Adding millet is popular these days, and it may be one of the reasons why congee is making its way into the public. It has sparked a renewed interest in heritage grains as well as a newfound appreciation for broth culture.

Final Thoughts

Those who grew up eating congee may appreciate how unique but universal congee is. Congee has always been a basic foundation, a jumping off point for creating something uniquely yours. It’s warm, inviting, and molded by families over the decades. This rice porridge finds beauty in sharing culinary experiences rooted in love, while its toppings celebrate diversity.

By visiting us at Ocean Palace Restaurant, you’ll get the best Chinese food in Houston to satisfy your taste buds. Don’t forget to check our website and have the best congee delivered at your front door today!

6 Dishes You Should Not Miss When Eating at a Chinese Restaurant

eating chinese restaurant

It is quite normal to have a go-to dish when going to your favorite restaurants. However, doing this in a new or unfamiliar restaurant makes people tend to miss out on trying the other great dishes. This scenario is prevalent in Chinese restaurants, in which most people already have their favorite dim sum to order. Because of this, they never start exploring and getting to know other dishes. 

If you also find yourself ordering the same thing in a restaurant over and over again, you might want to give the other dishes a try. This article enumerates the authentic Chinese dishes you must try the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant.

Dish 1: Asian Greens

A common element you would find in most Chinese cooking are the greens. Besides keeping you healthy, the Chinese’ greens are cooked to perfection. You should have a bite of their crispy steamed bok choy, with freshness you can still bite, and the stir-fried vegetables rich in flavor. These healthy and rich flavors are a must-have in every meal. Eating in a Chinese restaurant without greens is like eating in an Asian restaurant without rice. 

Dish 2: Congee

If you like soup-like meals, you need to try this rice porridge. Congee is what parents let their sick children eat to get better, but it will still be a delicious meal even if you are in good condition. This soft food with a creamy taste can be eaten as is or garnished with your favorite meat, pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu. It is a nourishing Chinese dish that simply tastes good and satisfies your stomach every time. 

Dish 3: Shumai

A Chinese dim sum menu will always have shumai in it, and it is a must-try dish for you. Shumai is the traditional steamed Chinese pork and shrimp dumpling. Each piece is covered in a thin round sheet of unleavened dough that will be tender to bite and eaten with or without rice. 

Dish 4: Xiao Long Bao

Another item you would find in the dim sum corner is the famous and crowd-favorite xiao long bao. You would get a taste of the rich-flavored broth and tender pork fillings in every bite. It is also a healthy choice of Chinese snack to have that will shower your mouth with a slight sweetness and umami flavors. This dim sum is dipped in soy sauce and vinegar, making the taste and experience even better. 

Dish 5: Peking Duck

Peking duck is said to be the first dish you should try in China, so if you have not tried one yet, you must do so in your next Chinese meal escapade. This famous roast duck is almost always served everywhere, even in government events and national gatherings, making it a national symbol. Its fantastic taste of tender and moist meat, covered with thin and crisp skin, would not make you forget about this meal for a long time.

Dish 6: Char Siu Bao

If you want to explore the pork bun section, try getting a char siu bao. It is undeniably one of the most popular dim sums. In English, it translates to steamed BBQ pork buns and is a type of filled bun that would be perfect if you are a fan of sweet and salty pastries. You can also order it in its baked form. The Chinese BBQ pork found inside the white bun is marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce before it got roasted. 


The Chinese are known for their tasty, healthy, and fantastic cuisine. If you have not tried any items on this list yet, you are missing out on many delightful dishes! Therefore, you should grab some on your next trip or online order from a Chinese restaurant. Aside from being the Chinese’ top favorite, these meals say a lot about Chinese culture and history.  

Ocean Palace Restaurant is where you would find the best Chinese food in Houston that could satisfy any of your cravings above. Check out our menu and place an order today!