I probably shouldn't admit this publicly, but my all-time favorite Christmas movie scene is from A Christmas Story when, after a turkey disaster, Ralphie and his family end up at a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner. At Chop Suey Palace, they are aurally assaulted by a choir of waiters singing an amazing ESL version of "Deck the Halls," then a Peking duck is beheaded at the table and served forth. Every time I watch this scene, my stomach hurts from laughing and longs to be filled with duck.

Peking duck is more than a consolation-prize dinner; this luscious bird is perfectly suited for a decadent holiday feast. Traditionally, Peking ducks are bred (read: force-fed and fattened) specifically for this iconic dish. A slaughtered duck is reverentially seasoned and slow-roasted, then ceremoniously carved at the table and served with pancakes, scallions, and hoisin sauce. A slice of Peking duck is a truly glorious thing—layers of crispy, almost translucent, sweet skin; pure fat; and tender, salty, smoky meat all in one rich bite.

These restaurants, all of which are open Christmas Day, serve a fine Peking duck—perhaps even better than the one from Chop Suey Palace. recommended

Sea Garden

509 Seventh Ave S, 623-2100

$28.95 for one duck course, $33.95 for two

Shanghai Garden

524 Sixth Ave S, 625-1689

$25.95 whole (call ahead to order)

Tai Tung

655 S King St, 622-7372

$14.50 half, $26.50 whole

Joy Palace

6030 Martin Luther King Way S, 723-4066

$23.95 whole