Chinese Turkey Dinner from Sam Woo BBQ


Originally posted on the L.A. Times. For more and photos, click here.

For Thanksgiving, the Cantonese chain Sam Woo Barbecue in San Gabriel and Alhambra is taking to-go orders for Chinese-style turkey.

Like its signature-roasted ducks, the bird is prepped and cooked over three days. It’s marinated for an hour in a sugary brine, brushed with a vinegar glaze and then air-dried for up to two days until the skin becomes paper-thin. On the last day, the turkey is roasted.

Like the duck, the turkey comes out wonderfully juicy. The skin, a slight orange-hue from the glaze, is crispy and sweet.

“We wanted to combine American and Chinese culture,” Karen Cheung, the daughter of the owner said. “Turkey isn’t usually a Chinese dish.”

But at Sam Woo, they’re making it Chinese. The nine-pound turkey comes with sticky rice — glutinous rice mixed with Chinese sausage, dried shrimp, egg, mushrooms and cilantro — and gravy. The gravy is spiked with oyster sauce and sugar. Though it sounds unconventional, it tastes similar to traditional American gravy but with a saltier undertone.

The feast, priced at $47.95 including tax, must be ordered in person at least one day ahead of pickup. There are a limited number of birds, and the chain expects to sell out, as it did last year.

Although patrons can enjoy their turkey at the restaurant, the majority of orders have traditionally been for takeout.