09-27-07 - 3

We got a whole roast duck from Chinatown the other day. I've seen them so many times, curiosity got me. They're quite cheap so far as a whole duck goes, about $9. It was cooked very nicely, crispy skin, fat melting all over the meat, and the cavity was stuffed full of anise and other spices which infused the whole bird. On the negative side, they're very small ducks that they sell, and there's hardly any accessible meat on them. I think we maybe got 6 oz of actual meat off it, and it's a pain to work with because they are so fatty and bony you have to dig around. For just eating duck meat, I would probably never get one again, but if I had some recipe where I needed a whole chopped up cooked duck (like for a Duck Pho or something) it would be a good way to go. I also imagine that the reason the ducks are so cheap is they come frozen from China which is a little scary.

It's weird how Chinatown is totally like another country. Grant Ave is overloaded with tourist traps now, but one block off it on Stockton it's like another world. The population density is like 10X higher than anywhere else in San Francisco, everyone is speaking some type of Chinese, there are tons and tons of grocers and their prices are way lower than anywhere else, of course the crazy dried goods shops - and weirdest of all, people actually stop and wait at red lights! It's the only place in San Francisco where the locals don't just ignore the reds and jaywalk! I don't know if it's a habit left over from China, or perhaps left over from early Chinese immigrants that were treated so badly here and surely learned that they had best not give the law any excuse to harrass them.

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