Gobble gamble: Roast Beijing… turkey?

Imagine five times bigger - and with stuffing.
Imagine five times bigger - and with stuffing.

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On every Thanksgiving and Christmas during my four years in China, a thought has popped into my head: What if a Beijing duck restaurant cooked turkeys instead?

It looks like I will finally get a step close to the answer. Yesterday, I met Da Dong, the GM of Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant, and he granted my wish to stick a turkey in one of his fireplaces. This is about him being generous rather than any plans to add this meat to the menu, and talking to him made me realize a few things need to be decided:

  • The size of the turkey: Two kilograms of duck take about an hour to roast, so how big to go with the bird?
  • The coating: Da Dong ducks have a honey lacquer, but perhaps a Canadian touch – some maple syrup – is in order.
  • The intensity of the fire: This is related to the fat content of the bird.
  • The stuffing: I’m thinking a traditional bread blend but with a local twist – some crushed instant noodles (I imagine the latter soaking up all that turkey juice).
  • The serving: Ideally, both Beijing duck style, i.e. with wraps, spring onion, plum sauce, et al., as well as Western style, with cranberry substituted as a sauce.

Decisions, decisions… If any amateur or professional chefs out have advice in the lead-up to Project Gobble, please leave a comment or drop me a line at beijingboyce@yahoo.com.

Big props to chef Brian McKenna and assistant Lisa Zhao of Room, slated to open in March, for their help in making this a reality.

(Photo: Caozitou)

Tasting time: The Hilton Food & Wine Experience, and more

One of the best Beijing wine events of the year – The Hilton Food & Wine Experience – is tomorrow (Saturday) from 5 to 8 PM. With hundreds of wines available to sample as well as tea, coffee, chocolate, cheese, and more, the eleventh annual edition of this event should again offer excellent value at RMB230. For trade people, it will unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately – be a busy one as the UGC Bordeaux event is being held the same day. Other upcoming events include a fund-raiser by Beijing Wine Club and an “all star” Bordeaux dinner by ASC. (For the long-term look, check this events page.)

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Friday-Saturday, November 29-30, 10:30 AM-7:30 PM, Kerry Center Shop (B37)
Montrose half-price sale; by Montrose wines; for more info, call 8529-9494.

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Saturday, November 29, Hilton, 5-8 PM, RMB230
Food & Wine Experience XI
, by Beijing Hilton; tasting with hundreds of wines, plus food, coffee, tea, chocolate, cheese, and water; 5865-5125 or here for details (open to trade from 11 AM-8 PM).

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Saturday, November 29, 7 PM, Grand Hyatt, RMB1288
Bordeaux GCC ‘All-Star’ Wine Dinner, with wines and owners from Chateau La Gurgue, Chateau Citran, Chateau Chasse-Spleen, Chateau Camensac, Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Chateau Gruaud Larose, and Chateau Ferriere; by ASC; RSVP with Helen Lu at eventsbj@asc-wines.com / 6587-3803.

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Saturday, November 29, 5-6 PM, Pinotage, RMB60
Weekly tasting
; by WineLink; RSVP with Chris at 13611-207-396 / chrisb@winelink.com.cn.

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Monday, December 1, 7 PM, Palette Vino (5 Dongsi Shiyitiao branch), RMB121
AIDS fund-raiser; with five wines; by Beijing Wine Club; for more info, call 6585-3099.

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Wednesday, December 3, 7-10 PM, Domus, RMB228
Monthly ladies’ wine tasting; with five wines and dinner; RSVP with Emily Chin at 8511-8015 / emily.chin@domusrestaurant.com

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Wednesday, December 3, 6:30 PM, L’Isola (Pacific Century Place), RMB688
Alois Lageder wine dinner, by ASC; RSVP with Helen Lu at eventsbj@asc-wines.com or 6587-3803.

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Note: See the long-term schedule. If you intend to attend any of the above events, it is best to confirm the details with the venue ahead of time. To get an event listed, send the details to beijingboyce@yahoo.com.

Christmas spirit: Tree lighting at St. Regis tonight

Seeking some Christmas spirit?

The St. Regis Hotel will hold its eleventh annual tree lighting ceremony from 6 to 7:30 PM tonight. Enjoy beverages, snacks, and, for those who have been nice or who have been naughty and want to beg their case, a visit from the man in red – that would be Santa Claus. For more info to RSVP, call 6460-6688, x2431 / x2306.

Hilton Food & Wine Experience: And the winners are…

We first we drink the Tannat, then we drink the Zin.
We first we drink the Tannat, then we drink the Zin.

The annual Hilton Food & Wine Experience is this Saturday and my final contest features tickets to the event as well as a deluxe room and breakfast in the hotel.

The question: If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone, who would it be, and why? From the elevator guy to Leonard Cohen (above), from grandpa to Angelina Jolie, readers suggested a wide range of prospective drinking partners.

But there can only be one winner three winners, so Fredrik Janson of Vandergeeten Beijing witnessed the draw and pulled the lucky names. The winners of two tickets to the Hilton Food & Wine Experience:

- Jules

- Mr. Brau

The winner of two tickets to Food & Wine Experience, a deluxe room, including wine and cheese upon arrival, and breakfast for two the next morning at Elements:

- Vivek

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to the Hilton and to everyone who entered. For more information about the Food & Wine Experience, see here and here. It should be a good one.

Turkey Time: Options for getting stuffed in Beijing

Culinary Capers, co-sponsor with The Wine Republic of the Turkey Time contest, says the first seating for tomorrow’s turkey dinner at Sequoia Cafe is sold out, but about 20 spots remain for the seating that starts at 8 PM (see here).

The Boat has announced a free Thanksgiving dinner and lunch – that’s from noon to 2 PM and 6 to 9 PM – with “turkey, sandwiches, pizza, salads, soups, burgers, pasta, French fries, and other assorted snacks. Party Punch – included.” The ensuing party features DJ Stinky Eyes (it’s from cutting the onions, I bet) and DJ Assassin Eyes playing alternative dance music.

SALT presents a five-course meal that includes salad, tortellini, choice of beef tenderloin, turkey breast, pecan-crusted salmon, or mushroom risotto, a choice of desserts, with a pumpkin pie option, and more (RMB288). For details or to RSVP, see here.

For a bunch of other Thanksgiving events, see here.