What Pairs Best with Duck Tongues?
The other night I was at the most recent semi-regular meeting of the semi-official group of sommeliers and editors that I'm part of—our agenda at these meetings is to drink great high-end wine while eating great low-end food—when I made one of those prodigious leaps of insight that happen from time to time to all of us (or most of us, at least). This occurred at Fuleen, in Chinatown, which is the first place I've run into since visiting Nanjing that serves duck tongues, though my colleague Emily Kaiser assures me that you basically can't walk through a restaurant down there without tripping over a bowlful of the things.
But why, you might wonder, would anyone want to eat duck tongues? (In fact, if you're me, the first time you had them you might pause to consider that you never even knew ducks had tongues, much less that people ate them.)
Well, well! The main reason would be because if you deep-fry them with a little batter, they're sort of like really short pick-up sticks with teeny amounts of succulent duck meat on them. Since they tend to come in a large mound—it takes a pretty alarming number of ducks to produce one platter of duck tongues—they're even more like pick-up sticks.
Anyway, the fascinating insight I had is kind of two-fold, part (a) being something along the lines of "hm—you never know when you're going to come across an amazing pairing," and part (b) being that it turns out that the absolute perfect accompaniment for fried duck tongues happens to be a bottle of 1998 Jermann Vintage Tunina, which was lush, satiny, and drinking just beautifully.
Laura Maniec from B. R. Guest, who was sitting to my left, and Arnaud Devulder of Lever House, who was on my right, will vouch for this. You can ask them. Really. And if you are hungry for a little langue de canard à la chine, scoot on down to 11 Division Street. Tell them Ray sent you. They'll look at you blankly, but still, tell them I sent you.