Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Need a Last-Minute Roast Turkey? Go to Chinatown

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge A Thanksgiving turkey as glamorous as this roast duck? Possibly. - SFBART/FLICKR
  • SFBart/Flickr
  • A Thanksgiving turkey as glamorous as this roast duck? Possibly.

There may be no English-language advertisements on the windows, or Thankgiving-order takers stationed in the doorway, but many of Chinatown's butcher shops sell roast turkey for Thanksgiving.



If you bring New Golden Daisy a raw turkey, for instance, they'll roast it for you for $15, and pre-roast turkeys will be available for $2 a pound. The price can vary significantly between butcheries: When SFoodie stopped in at Kam Po, our favorite Chinatown source for roast duck right now, the counterperson quoted a figure of $4 per pound for turkey. But you don't need to order a whole bird -- and you don't need to order ahead.

click to enlarge Kam Po says its turkey will look as good as its roast duck. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Kam Po says its turkey will look as good as its roast duck.

The owner of Yee's Restaurant, famous for its Cantonese-style roast goose, says that the butchers will be selling a whole roast turkey for $3 a pound, charging $3.20 per pound if you buy a quarter or a half-bird. They'd prefer you call ahead (415-576-1818) to place orders for a whole turkey.



Another SFoodie favorite roaster, New Moon Restaurant, told us that it charges $3.75 per pound, selling the turkey by a quarter, half, or whole. "When you come in to pick it up, we'll give you some sauce to go with it," the counterperson told us. Again, it's better to call ahead (434-1128) to order a whole turkey.



The Chowhounders, who mention several other sources, aren't uniformly thrilled about the tenderness of Chinese-style roast turkeys they've tried. Blame the turkey industry, perhaps, which has bred all the fat out of the young, mutant birds most of us buy. Still: a quarter of a Cantonese roast turkey is probably better for two people than that turkey leg you were considering picking up at Safeway, and Chinatown offers a last-minute save for the turkey apocalypse.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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