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Aug 28, 2012 10:55 PM

In search of cantonese style fried squab around Chinatown

A friend of mine is a big fan of fried squab, with her birthday coming up, I am in search of a restaurant that serve Cantonese style fried or roasted squab.

Unfortunately we are restricted to somewhere in or near Chinatown/Financial District/SOMA. This will be an after work dinner, we work in SOMA, my friend and other dining companion near to be close enough to BART to get them home in the east bay.

A quick search turned up Yuet Lee, and Great Eastern as options. Are there other places that offers fried squab?

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  1. would guess any of the bbq places selling roast duck in the windows would have roast squab also. (i.e. sun duck, sun sang, hing lung, etc.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: shanghaikid

      Hmm..I walked by Stockton everyday on my way to work, can't say I ever paid attention to the little birds. I am not a fan myself, despite owing my existence to a plate of very tasty and memorable pigeons my parents had in the early days of their dating.
      Unfortunately, the dinner will be rather late (7-8 ish) for most of the bbq spots (usually closed or very low on everything left), and I think a dine-in spot is required.

    2. Bodega Bistro does a very good roasted squab.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ooh thanks for the recommendation. Definitely noted, though the chances of me being able to convince them to go to that neighborhood after work is very low...

      2. Also on the menu at Louie's and Utopia.

        3 Replies
        1. Where in the East Bay are you headed? Anything closer to home?

          7 Replies
          1. re: kc72

            My friend is out over in Danville, I am sure she would love some good squab over where she is at.

            1. re: gnomatic

              have had very good versions of fried squab in Vietnamese places, so those might be worth your consideration. it's not a complicated dish but of course requires competency and someone giving it proper attention at the stove.

              1. re: moto

                The Cantonese version is timeconsuming to make, requiring at least 24h advance. It has to be marinated, parcooked, lacquered, air dried, and then finally fried for the crispy skin. All this news of good squab easily available has me curious . It's one of my all time favorite dishes. Most recently I had it at Yuet Lee and it was not up to standard (but somehow I chalked that up to it being late at night). Does the Vietnamese version taste like the Cantonese version or is it a different "bird" entirely?

                1. re: rubadubgdub

                  thank you for explaining in detail. that kind of squab, have not enjoyed for many years (literally decades). you might have better luck with the places that prepare good Cantonese banquets, rather than a place like Yuet Lee.

              2. re: gnomatic

                Near Danville, I'd go to Koi Garden in Dublin and see how it's version fares.

                I agree with rubadubgdub, good versions are few and far between these days. This was a staple of childhood banquets and I don't understand why modern kitchens don't seem to be up to the task. I had a bad version at Mayflower in Union City a few months ago. Had a coupon for one at Yum's Bistro in Fremont that I failed to redeem, that one has a good chance of being worthwhile.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  They are good at Yum's. I did see one is the window at a few BBQ deli's in Chinatown on Stockton.

              3. re: kc72

                Not fried, but Cafe Rouge in Berkeley has been having smoked quail at the meat counter. I assume they are also on the menu on those days. A lot of tasty, fun to tear into one of those little birds.

              4. My mom has been on a bit of a roasted squab, a.k.a. fried pigeon kick since we had the squab at Bodega a couple of weeks ago. And it was good! Sautéed onions and raisins topped the crisp, moist bird. Yesterday we had a quail (along with a garlic-and-chili crab and veg abalone and spinach) at R&G Lounge. It, too, had juicy flesh and a crisp, burnished skin. Mom liked the R&G version a tad better because it seemed meatier, though I'd give the edge to Bodega for more complex flavor. I'd agree with Melanie: once upon a time fried pigeon was a pretty standard dish in Cantonese restaurants, but it's getting harder and harder to find.

                2 Replies
                1. re: pilinut

                  I thought quail taste different from squab/pigeon. Aren't quails meatier then squab?

                  1. re: gnomatic

                    Quail are mostly white meat, whereas squab is all dark. Quail are much smaller and often served with the bones in the body removed, which might make them see meatier.