Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 25, 2007 03:31 PM

Old Fashioned Roasted Sweet Potato in Santa Clara

Just a heads up on the last chance this season to get the old fashionedh roasted sweet yam in Santa Clara.

I had not expected to taste it again in the US until I found that there’s a place that makes it in Santa Clara. There’s a one-man operation that roasts these yams in an old-style oven right in front of the Galleria Korean market at NE intersection of Lawrence & El Camino Real. He is an ethnic Korean who lived in China and can speak both Korean and Chinese. The yams sell for $2 for 3 (or more) pieces. Usually he gives me 4 pieces.

The bad news is that if you want to try this old fashioned home style treat, he will only be here until end of April, before the weather starts getting hot. If you miss him this time around, you will have to come back in November when he’ll be back to set up shop to offer these hot, baked treats again for the coming cold winter.

Pictures and more:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I had some a few weeks ago and since it was the first time I had them I was not impressed but I told a cousin who sent me back for some and she loved them. I guess the food you grew up it always taste better. Thanks for the heads up I will go this weekend for some more for her. By the way I got five that day since they were small.

    1. Thanks for posting about this, Ed. I had a chance to stop by here on Thursday to give it a try. The oven contraption is a trip with multiple valves and trap-doors. I got FIVE pieces. The guy was a trip, counting out the small yams with great care, "one, twO, thrEE, fOUR, FIVE!", as if to let me know that I got a special deal. The bag weighed nearly two pounds, if I'm good at judging heft. Back in the car, I peeled a hot one for an immediate taste. The yellow-fleshed Japanese sweet potatoes were so creamy in texture and delicious. The flavor is reminescent of roasted chestnuts.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        So, do you need to eat them immediately for best taste? How were the other four?

        1. re: rworange

          The other four are in my fridge in SF. . . forgot to bring them with me. But I don't think they'll lose much being reheated.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            As long as they were cooled down to room temperature before hitting the refridge, a toaster oven in some foil will bring a little bit of life back into them. Case in point, those yaki-imo (roasted Japanese yam) prepackaged from Nijiya, are always room temp/cold when I buy em, but do still taste alright upon heating up again, so long as the nuke box isn't used.

          2. re: rworange

            Reheated, the remainders were drier and not as moist for eating out of hand. They were also starchier and not as sweet, though still plenty sweet in taste.

        2. My Taiwanese better half and I agree that this Korean oji-san and his roasted sweet potatoes kick so much arse. Last time we had these at this location was probably close to 2 years ago, and it tastes as flavorful as the ones sold at the night markets in Taiwan. No wonder we haven't seen the guy since, we've been going during off season!

          The best are the smaller/dinky sized ones (aka the runts), which interestingly enough hold the highest amount of sugar content, and the flavor really pushes out. I can only imagine how decadent these will taste if the Nijiya organic sato-imo or beni-imo (both are Japanese yams with purplish skins) are used in the roast.

          1 Reply
          1. re: K K

            Yes, these were small ones, about an inch to 1 1/2" in diameter. Very moist yet with the concentration of dry heat cooking.

          2. Perhaps all the chowhound patronage has psyched up the old man. He has now posted a new sign saying that due to the "nice" weather, he'll be operating on Thur, Fri, Sat, and Sundays for the month of May (only!). So he's effectively postponed his hibernation, so go get'em while you still can.


            1 Reply
            1. re: tanspace

              That's good news, time for more people to try it out.