Introducing the Chinese Turkey. (No, Not Eddie Lin.) The Hop Woo Thanksgiving Feast. 7 Courses of Turkey. Hop Woo BBQ. LA Chinatown.

The Chinese Thanksgiving Turkey: half-whitey, half-yellow, all golden brown!

Go ahead. Open that fortune cookie on the table. I bet it says you have a turkey in your future. (I know, I know, I'm a regular Nostradamus and a certified genius all wrapped up in a Black Friday sales bundle.) And if you're lucky, very lucky, that ho-hum Thanksgiving Day turkey headed your way could be a really unique one. It could be a turkey like you've never tasted before. It could be a turkey so juicy that it only wears tiny couture hot pants. A turkey so flavorful, you won't even need (GASP!) gravy to make it taste like something resembling anything tasty. (Although the special gravy that accompanies this one-of-a-kind bird is sensational.)

What I so coyly speak of is the Thanksgiving Turkey of LA's Chinatown — the turkey with a Cantonese accent. An F.O.B. bird never tasted this good!

Chef Lupe Liang, the tri-lingual chef of Hop Woo BBQ Restaurant (who speaks Chinese, Spanish and English), busts out some of his multiculturalism and works it into this very special holiday turkey, Hop Woo's Chinese BBQ Turkey with all the fixins!

Is turkey something you feel you need to endure every holiday like fruitcake or your aunt's green gelatin salad? It's time to abandon all your bittersweet memories of Thanksgiving turkeys of seasons past. Back in the day, all you could do was hope and pray that the bird would be moist and flavorful enough for you to truthfully compliment your host or, if you yourself roasted the beast, earn your kudos without your guests having to tell white lies while spitting turkey cud into their napkins. Well, it's a new dawn, my friends, a Hop Woo Chinese BBQ turkey dawn!

Hop Woo's Chinese BBQ Turkey is how turkey should have always been prepared: Brined for 4 hours in a fried salt, sugar and anise bath, parboiled in water, basted with red vinegar and honey, fan dried for several hours, and finally patiently roasted upside down so all of the juices stay where they belong, inside the turkey. This technique is not much different from how Hop Woo prepares its succulent roast duck that hang in the display case like crispy Christmas ornaments. The final result is supremely moist and flavorful turkey meat wrapped with golden brown, crackling, delicate skin. Beyond that, it's not just a generic turkey taste with notes of butter, because penetrating the flesh is a bouquet of Chinese flavorings reminiscent of their roast duck.

Turkey rice tastes so nice!

And, if the Chinese flavors in the turkey aren't enough, the gravy itself is a thick ambrosial elixir of Hop Woo's secret sauces all enhanced with the turkey's own liver and giblets (both roasted along side the turkey then chopped finely and cooked into the gravy). When the gravy lays with this Chinese turkey, it becomes an edible taijitu, and one simply can not exist without the other.

The flavor fest, however, has only just begun.

Spilling forth from the turkey's abdominal cavity is a stuffing of white rice with a taste some might equate with Hainan chicken rice, a popular Asian rice dish made from chicken oil and broth. Hop Woo's turkey rice stuffing includes bits of fried garlic peppered throughout which pushes the flavor envelope that much more. This stuffing handily slays all of the bread stuffings I've ever eaten.

Generally speaking, in grand American post-turkey day tradition, the leftover fowl will be baked, stuffed and simmered into every meal the week following Thanksgiving. Not at the Hop Woo BBQ! When you order the full Thanksgiving shebang here, brace yourself because right away a whole cavalcade of turkey soup, sides and mains will be marching your way like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Just think of it as having your leftovers, ALL of your leftovers, at one sitting.

This soup is on!

To warm things up, a Turkey and Tomato Noodle Soup, bright with tomato flavor and brimming with rice vermicelli, livens up the first round of this turkey feast. Sliced chunks of turkey meat drenched with the rich tomato broth, almost as thick as a sauce, make for a soup that definitely eats like a meal.

Lettuce eat turkey.

Next a small pile of iceberg lettuce cups was presented along with a platter of stir-fried water chestnuts, black mushrooms, green onions, puffy rice noodles, green peppers and, of course, turkey. This revised for Thanksgiving Chinese appetizer of Stir-fried Turkey Lettuce Wrap was a refreshing bite of multiple textures and spicy-savory tastes that were further flavored with a sweet-savory dipping sauce.

Chinese turkey burritos aka the Moo Shu Turkey.

The turkeyized Chinese classics kept coming out. Only this time it was none other than Moo Shu Turkey. Like a Chinese burrito filled with scallions, wood ear and strips of turkey, the Moo Shu Turkey is a festive variation of the original and is just as delicious especially after a nice dip in the sweet and salty hoisin sauce.

Lemon and turkey — together at last.

Some of you may have fond memories of your earliest Chinese food being stuff like sweet and sour this n' that or lemon fill-in-the-blank. However, this wok down memory lane will be substituted with turkey (as if you couldn't guess by now). If life gives you lemons on Thanksgiving, make Lemon Turkey! Yes, turkey lovers, now you can enjoy your favorite roast bird in the form of deep fried nuggets with a bowl of sweet and sticky lemon sauce.

2010-11-13 Hop Woo 046
Turkey tossing.

After that very lemony turkey, a Chinese Turkey Salad is just what's needed to cleanse the palate a little. Tossed with a traditional sesame dressing, this salad is pretty much like your basic Chinese chicken salad except for the gobble gobble part.

Turkey curry is somewhat murky.

Now that your mouth is reset, it's ready for some heavy duty flavors (and I do mean heavy duty). How about some Turkey Curry? Yes, goopy, yellow and intense with that special Chinese curry flavor — spicy, salty, pungent, sweet — you've never tasted a Thanksgiving turkey this way before. This unusual Turkey Curry dish, presented in the usual Chinese curry style with stewed potatoes and carrots, will curry favor with any open-minded eater. Scoop a heaping spoonful of it over steamed rice for lip smacking good results.

So this Thanksgiving, how about thanking yourself for a change. Say no to the same old boring bird and treat yourself and your loved ones to a turkey dinner like no other. Enjoy a turkey that tastes more like a Chinese roast duck. And while you're at it, force feed yourself a week's worth of leftovers at this special meal. With all of these uncommon turkey delights to indulge in, it won't be too hard to pack it all down. After all, everyone knows that tryptophan and MSG go great together!

Starting Thursday, November 18th to Thanksgiving Day, Hop Woo is offering 7 Courses of Chinese Turkey for eat-in and take-out customers. Turkey only is also available for purchase. The prices are extremely reasonable. Call for exact prices (depends on your specific items).

Hop Woo BBQ Restaurant
845 North Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2309


Bill said…
That was freaking awesome I wish I was is Ca to sample this feast.
glutster said…
This does sound good man! Damn, I wanna try now.
stuffycheaks said…
oh gosh, I'm bummed now that I'll be eating regular turkey and stuffing
Eddie Lin said…
You guys may be able to sample the turkey, gravy & some veggies for FREE on Thanksgiving Day & the Friday after! Stay tuned for the freebie deets!
WineGrrl said…
I got a turkey coma just reading this.
Megan said…
Why...oh why...aren't I in Cali...
Eddie Lin said…

The actual turkey coma will last you for weeks...but so worth it!!!
Elisabeth said…
Wow, what a feast...can I get an invitation to your house, and skip the festivities here, in S. Florida?
This bird is all LEGS, and I'm a leg person. Must be organic turkey.
Love the crispy and golden color, the stuffing, the side dishes, the soup...I can go on and on, about your marvelous feast.