Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Nov 3, 2012 07:58 PM

roast duck for Thanksgiving, on the Peninsula

Hello Hounds. My family and I are resolved to find a more flavorful alternative to turkey this year. (Short story: Too many leftovers for turkey/green chile stew with the consistency of balsa wood.)

I'd rule out R99 in Cupertino and Foster City out of hand. My other starting point on this quest would be Marina Super near Norfolk/Hillsdale in San Mateo. I've picked up really flavorful half-ducks there at least a half-dozen times. Not sure how in-demand duck will be for Thanksgiving.

Ideally, I'd like some ideas for roast or smoked duck where i could make a pre-order/reservation and be assured it'd be there for me for Thanksgiving pickup. Any ideas?

Thanks for your consideration.

Sushi Monster

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Champagne Restaurant, Millbrae, for Cantonese roast duck and if it were I, I'd pick it up the day before and reheat it. You will lose a bit of freshness, but better to not have to hassle the T-day rush.

    Also consider ordering the stuffed chicken or stuffed duck at Cooking Papa's in Foster City. No need to make dressing!

    This Peking duck thread may be of help too.

    1. Cooking Papa (Foster City) does a good roast duck that travels well. You can ask them to hold the finishing sauce, so the duck doesn't go soggy on its way back.

      1. Hing Lung is Millbare has one of the best down our way. If I remember correctly they also has drier one too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: yimster

          Maybe you're thinking of Cheung Hing in Millbrae?

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Yes, my memory it not what it use to be. Hing Lung is in Chinatown and Cheung Hing is in the Aves.

        2. Just found this thread as I was just talking with my family over Thanksgiving about getting ducks for Christmas Eve dinner. We will be driving down to Santa Cruz from SF for Christmas so would love to hear where you ended up getting your ducks and how they turned out!

          10 Replies
          1. re: mibee

            I bought one duck from Cooking Papa in Foster City and one from Marina Super, very nearby in San Mateo. The Cooking Papa duck came to $22. The Marina duck was $14. In blind taste testing, they were virtually identical in texture, fat content, etc. Although the Cooking Papa duck had slightly more interesting seasoning. I was able to procure both of these on the night before the holiday without any reservation.

            Some suggestions: If you're buying duck to be reheated later (350 degrees in a foil-lined deep pan for 25 minutes to wick off some of the abundant fat) make sure to get any sauce on the side. And if you want to do this right, have a nice starch to counterbalance the fat in the duck. I find a nice Zin marries well -- the astringency is just sufficient to cut the fat of the duck. And if aesthetics is a concern, know that you're probably going to get a duck that's chopped into very small pieces.

            I would never cook duck at home myself, particularly if I was entertaining. The amount of mess it entails is mind-boggling. This is one item I'd gladly have a pro do for me.

            We would do this experiment again.

            Hope that helps.

            1. re: Sushi Monster

              Thanks for the side-by-side comparison.

              Another hint: don't have the duck chopped if you're not going to eat it immediately, as it dries out too fast. I'll typically ask for a duck to be cut in half for me, just to make it easier to handle at home, then I'll slice it off the bone as I wish at home. And bring a small glass jar with you for the juices.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                THANKS! Looking forward to eating Christmas duck!

                1. re: mibee

                  And you can make a wonderful stock with the bones, head, and carcass after you've sliced off the meat. There's a lot of seasoning rubbed on the inside of the bird that flavors the soup. Some places will lop off the head if you're a vanilla-face, but be sure to say you want every part.

                  At Cheung Hing in Millbrae, I've never had a problem getting 8 oz of the duck juices when I present my empty jar. I've not tried at the other spots yet.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Awesome. Yes, was definitely planning on making a stock after the festivities and will make sure to let them know we want all the parts and will make sure i stash a jar in my bag before we leave the house. Thanks all for the help!

                    1. re: mibee

                      Merry, merry, and please do let us know how it works out for you!

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Thank you all for the help! Was a beautiful dinner. A hushed silence came over the table as the family started to eat. Just sounds of chewing and mmmmmm's. Is honestly the only time I have ever heard silence at the dinner table with the Italian in-laws. Was really sweet and exciting.

                        Cooking Papa was great. I can't wait to go back. We called in our order (two Peking ducks, two orders of pork belly, and two orders of honey pork) and they had it ready for us when we got there. Requested that they just cut the duck in 1/2 but they insisted on cutting off the skin and cutting it into pieces and I couldn't have been happier. It reheated beautifully and I was really happy to not have to do the carving myself.

                        Re-heated the meats in a baking dish with 1/4" of water in the bottom, covered with foil at 350. Stayed perfectly moist. Crisped up the skin on a baking sheet at 450 - delicious and crispy. The roast pork was tasty. Cut the pork belly into strips and stir fried it with green beans topped with crispy fried five-spice shallots. Warmed up the buns in the pasta pot steamer. Set everyone up with little side plates of butter lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro, watermelon radishes, hoisin and scallions. And, mom in law made an awesome wild rice, shitake mushroom and cabbage stuffing. Was the perfect amount of food for the 9 of us. And was unanimously agreed that it was the best Christmas Eve dinner (besides when Nonna was still around to cook :) ).

                        1. re: mibee

                          How wonderful! I love hearing these cross-cultural eating exchanges.

                          So, you got a Peking duck rather than a Cantonese roast duck. Good to hear that Cooking Papa separated the skin for you, that's the right way, and it will reheat properly.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            From what I know at Cooking Papa, they're the same duck, just presented differently, with the Peking Duck having the skin separated from the meat, whereas the roast duck stays on and gets the finishing treatment of special soy sauce.

                            In the context of reheating, they definitely made the right call.

                            1. re: Jon914

                              I paid closer attention when I tried the Cooking Papa location in Santa Clara last week. There appears to be just one type of duck hanging in the window as you say. I've had it twice in Foster City. What was different . . . and much appreciated . . . when the half Peking duck was served in SC was a dipping sauce of the duck juices served alongside next to the thicker hoisin-ish sauce. It was really good for seasoning the pieces of skinless meat.