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Nov 12, 2000 08:32 PM

Peking duck for Thanksgiving

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Can anyone recommend a good place for Peking duck for Thanksgiving dinner? (My family hates turkey.) A place in Oakland would be ideal!


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  1. it's not oakland, but fook yuen on el camino in millbrae has a great nanking duck. it's awesome.

    happy thanksgiving. hell, now that i think about it, maybe i'll see you there. :-)


    14 Replies
    1. re: wonki

      Wonki, 'twould be an honor to dine in the same restaurant! Thanks for the tip -- I always appreciate your postings, and followed some of your pointers back in NYC.

      Happy non turkey day!

      1. re: smidgemao


        cool. thanks for the comps. hope you enjoy it. just thinking of that duck makes my mouth water. skin fatty and crispy and oh so delectable. instead of pancakes they give you the fluffier doughier stuff. and they bring out the rest of the duck minced which you put in fresh lettuce cups so nothing's wasted. it's awesome dude.

        although i'm sure mel's rec is just as good if not better and closer to home for you. either way, have a good one.


        1. re: wonki

          No, no, Fook Yuen's duck is better. I was just trying to give a suggestion closer to home.

          I do prefer the style of service you mention. First, just the slices of skin, then the meat later. Does FY also serve duck soup made from the bones at the end of the meal? I prefer the thin pancakes but the buns are more common in this area.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I, too, prefer the pancakes to the steamed buns -- but maybe that's because that's what I grew up with. I'm very excited that now I have TWO places to try! Thanks so much.

            BTW, my family also likes the turkey jook but hates the turkey. Took us about 18 years to figure that out... sigh... think of all those lost Peking duck-eating opportunities! Melanie, got a good family recipe for jook that you'd share?

            Happy eating!

            1. re: smidgemao

              I don't really have a recipe for you, but can offer a few tips. Turkey soup is the most refined stock base and my favorite for making jook, vegetable soups or risotto.

              When you make the stock from the turkey carcass, be sure to include a good amount of ginger with your other aromatics, and also carrots/turnips to add sweetness. Boil it down until the carcass falls apart and flattens out to be sure you've extracted all the gelatin.

              Soak the rice overnight. Use a mixture of rice types - long grain or Basmati/Jasmine for firmness and body, Calrose pearl for luster and creaminess, and sticky glutinous for sweetness and texture. After soaking and pouring off the water, scrunch the raw grains in your hands by making a fist to break up about half of it. This improves the final texture and cooks faster.

              I make mine in a teflon-lined rice cooker for no-fail, no-stick, only stirring once or twice. My mother is a traditionalist and does hers on the top of the stove at very low heat. This requires more stirring to keep from burning the bottom. Be careful not to stir too much or you'll break the texture and the jook will be watery.

              We're not fond of the turkey breast and it's always leftover. The white meat is chopped into a small dice, and the skin is cut into julienne. This is used to top the turkey jook, along with some scallion slivers and fresh cilantro leaves. If you have some giblet/mushroom gravy left over from the big feast, a spoonful of this is added. Leftover ham is cut into matchsticks and used as a garnish too.

              If you have some jook left over, it's easy to reheat in the microwave. You'll need to add some water to return it to the right texture as the rice will have absorbed all the liquid. Second day jook that's been refrigerated overnight is thicker and softer. To give it a different taste and texture, I like to add a raw egg that's becomes cooked by the heat of the jook. You might want to immerse the egg in the shell in some hot water to take the chill off first, then crack open and beat it with a fork. When your jook's hot, stir the beaten egg in quickly to cook it.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Enjoyed reading your tips about making jook - I never thought about presoaking the rice and breaking some of it before cooking. It makes sense...I'll try it next time. In a similar vein, I usually add any leftover rice that is in the fridge. For someone who's never made jook here is a proportion of water to rice(dry) that will serve as a starting place: 12 parts water to 1 part dry rice. How thick of thin you prefer it is a matter of taste. You can always add a bit more stock or water to thin it if needed while cooking. Start the jook by bringing the water and rice to a rolling boil and then lower the heat to medium - enough to keep the rice gently bouncing along. Continue for 5 minutes and then lower to a faint simmer. This initial step loosens the starch in the rice and blends the water & rice. Use a pot that is tall enough to insure that there is some extra room for the rice to simmer away in without spilling over. After an hour or so there will no longer be a separation of rice and water - it will be creamy. A thick bottomed pot is necessary to avoid scorching the bottom - teflon helps also. This is a bit like Chinese chicken soup - when folks are sick and can't stomach rich food- a bowl of jook (plain) is served up.

                1. re: gordon wing

                  If you pre-soak the rice, the cooking process is only about 30 mins., requires less stirring, and you'll need far, far less liquid. More like 3 or 4 liquid to 1 dry volume of rice. The soaked rice doubles almost triples in volume.

                  I'm not a fan of bok sui jook (white water jook), and always use stock to make mine.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't mean to make things more confusing....I just thought some mention of the amount of water to add would be helpful. Along that said the proportion of water to dry rice would be in the 3 or 4 to 1. And that the soaked rice would double or triple in, it follows that the final proportion would be in the 2 to 1 neighborhood? ( water to soaked rice ) Sorry to be so pedantic about this.

                    1. re: gordon wing

                      Hi Gordon - Hope your Thanksgiving and turkey jook turned out well.

                      Please don't apologize for being pedantic. I was avoiding offering a "recipe" because I don't really know the proportions of water to dry. It will change depending on how dry the rice is. I just sorta look at the wet rice in the bottom of the pot and add as much water as I think it needs. I judge this by looking at the water level above the height of the rice, but don't know how this related to volume. Didn't pay attention when my mom was putting hers together on Thursday.

                      We had a smoked turkey that my dad made in his kamodo smoker in the morning. In the past we've had a roasted one too but not this time. I think my mom's on the path to de-turkey our Thanksgiving celebrations. I'd brought home a Cantonese roasted duck for Friday's meal - after we enjoyed that, Mom said, next year let's just get two of those.

                      With our smoked turkey we had sticky rice dressing mixed with dried mushroom, ham, scallions and Chinese sausage, giblet gravy made from the pan drippings and turkey stock, stir-fried pea shoots with garlic, and we forgot to serve the yams. Accompanying wine was the 1993 Kuntz-Bas "Reserve Personnele" Pinot Gris from Alsace, imported by Kermit Lynch, that added just the right smoky note, ripe luscious fruit and clean acidity for our meal. Dessert was Mom's apple pie with the last of the apples from our two trees in the back yard.

                      While we were enjoying this mid-day feast, my father asked, you are going to make jook? Of course, there's no other reason to make a turkey, was the answer. We had turkey jook for dinner, garnished with slivers of fresh ginger, scallions, coriander, and minced turkey breast moistened with pan drippings. I think we enjoyed this much more than our luncheon, I know I did.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Hi Melanie,
                        We went up to Grass Valley for Thanksgiving and I brined and then smoked our turkey. I left most of the sliced meat from the turkey but I did bring the carcasse home to make jook. I did use turkey stock but I made the stock while simmering the rice. Just threw in the carcasse and bits of turkey into a big pot with lots of water and the rice - simmered away until I got the desired creaminess/thickness. I added some dried mushrooms and garnished it all with chopped turkey meat and green onions at the end. The smokiness from the bones added another dimension - although it reminded me a bit of when you burn the rice. I enjoyed it nevertheless. Sounds like you had a nice gathering - I really appreciate Thanksgiving for its lack of commercial pressures. Good food and good company - what else could one want?

                        1. re: gordon wing
                          Melanie Wong

                          Sounds like you had a great holiday. Brute force method for jook, eh? Does save time to cook everything at once. Don't you get bone shards and other things in your jook that would otherwise be left behind when you strained your stock?

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Yes, it is a fast & dirty way of making jook to throw the carcasse and rice together. My mother made it that way and I've continued ... we sit around and suck on the bones. But you're right, it would be a cleaner, more refined version if made with stock. Maybe I'll do that next year!

                            1. re: gordon wing

                              Mom's know best!

                              Sounds like your family enjoys the turkey jook better than the T-day dinner itself. We do.

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              my memory's a bit fuzzy, but i don't recall them bringing a soup out after. maybe if you asked . . .

              that was the first time i had the buns (i guess coming from ny that's why) so i found them to be quite novel. i love either the buns or the pancakes. the important thing is what goes in them though, and for sure fy's duck is first rate.

      2. Our family doesn't like turkey either, except for the turkey jook the day after t-day.

        The old reliable in Oakland Chinatown is Silver Dragon. I've attended many, many family reunions and wedding banquets there. You'll be able to get a decent Peking duck, be sure to check to see if you need to order it in advance.