Our friends Andy and Stacy were in the Philly region for the weekend. That inevitably meant we’d be eating Chinese food at some point between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be dinner Saturday night at Peking Media, a stylish restaurant I hadn’t visited since it changed ownership and its name a couple years ago.
With the exception of the plagued year of 2020, my wife and I have met up with Andy and Stacy at least once a year – but usually more – either during one of their visits to the Philadelphia area or in Pittsburgh, where they live. Stacy is from Taiwan and always likes to hit one of our area’s good Chinese restaurants when they are here. Before moving to our current home a decade ago, my wife and I lived in a condominium in Philly’s Chinatown for eight years, which gave us a multitude of options.
While we still eat in Chinatown with them when feasible, for the second consecutive December, Andy and Stacy were here to watch their daughter’s soccer tournament in a far western suburb and weren’t free for dinner until fairly late. As was the case last year, we opted to meet in Media, PA, which has a nice little downtown with an abundance of restaurants, including several that are Chinese. It’s also conveniently about half-way between our home and where they were staying.
After eating at one of Media’s two dim sum restaurants last year, we decided on Peking Media this time around. The space that it occupies had previously been one of several Margaret Kuo’s locations, which my wife and I had eaten at several times. But our dinner Saturday was the first meal we’ve had there since the change of ownership.
As you can see, Peking Media has quite a nice interior; certainly nicer than the Chinese restaurants I tend to write about here.
Their menu hasn’t changed radically and includes some of the same special dishes that were available when it was Margaret Kuo’s. I would guess recipes were included in the sale.
As the restaurant is decidedly not old-school, there were no fried noodles and duck sauce. In their place, we were presented with peanuts and cucumbers for a pre-meal warm-up. I can never resist peanuts when they’re sitting in front of me and helped myself many times before our appetizers arrived.
Andy and Stacy wanted cocktails and ordered lychee and cucumber martinis.
My wife started with a scallion pancake, while I ordered my usual egg roll. Both were outstanding. The pancake was very thin and extremely flavorful. The egg roll was probably about as good as a basic egg roll gets. The crust was just the way I like it and perfectly fried, while the filling was abundant and delicious.
Although I didn’t have any, it was a good night for soup given the chilly temperature outside. Stacy ordered Hot & Sour while Andy went with a very large bowl of Wonton.
We tend to go overboard and order too much at our Chinese meals when the four of us are together, but my wife and I had eaten heavily at a holiday party earlier that afternoon and didn’t have big appetites. Andy and Stacy didn’t have that issue and ordered sushi to supplement our Chinese food. As was the case with Margaret Kuo’s, Peking Media has both Chinese and Japanese menus and a sushi bar.
I’ve discovered an increasing fondness for sautéed green beans at Chinese restaurants of late, so when Stacy suggested we get a vegetable dish, I lobbied for that one and received no objections. They were very good.
I mentioned that Peking Media offers many of the same special Chinese dishes that were on the menu when it was Margaret Kuo’s. Among those is Provincial Pork Shoulder, which is offered in two styles; Shanghai and Chengdu, with the latter being spicy. I can’t remember which of the two styles I ordered when I had this dish at Kuo’s, but it was spectacularly good and was carved tableside after being presented as a large chunk of bone-in pork shoulder first.
We ordered this dish Shanghai style Saturday night. Once again, it was brought out to the table as one large and spectacular-looking chunk of pork shoulder. But they didn’t carve it this time. We had to do that ourselves and it was a bit of a chore with the available utensils.
But we managed to cut enough small pieces of meat off of the bone for us to each have an ample portion with the rice and green beans.
While I didn’t run into this issue, my wife and Stacy both mentioned that the meat from closer to the bone was on the cold side. The shoulder was probably prepared earlier and reheated, but not long enough. I must have picked up only pieces that were closer to the meat’s surface. There was enough warm meat for us to eat, so rather than send it back for further heating, we took the colder portions home as leftovers.
The Shanghai sauce worked very well with the pork. Most of the meat I ate was tender and juicy, although one piece was dry. It’s probably difficult to cook such a large piece of meat evenly throughout.
As always, we had a great time and ate well with our friends from Pittsburgh.
They travel the country regularly to see Pitt’s football team play on the road and sometimes request that I recommend places to eat in the areas they’ll be visiting. Their next stop will be the Southwest for a bowl game. Time for me to start researching food on the road between Phoenix and El Paso. I know there will be a green chili cheeseburger in New Mexico.
If all goes according to plan, my next post will be about one of my favorite Philly pizzerias.