I've often lamented the quality and consistency of take out Roast Duck in San Diego. It is after all, one of my favorite food groups. But for a change, instead of me whining about the whole thing, here are two winners. Unfortunately, both are not in San Diego County.
Lien Hoa BBQ - Westminster:
A while back FOY "DavidD" mentioned that this shop made the best roast duck. So I made sure to mention the place to Beach during my last visit. Beach told me he's being going to Lien Hoa for thirty or so years (looking at the sign, they opened in 1981) , knew the owners, and that this was indeed the best place for Chinese BBQ in all of Little Saigon, or even in Orange County.
The place is actually right next to Kang Lac Bakery, so we went in before having Bot Chien.
After arriving home I opened the very heavy foil container took take a peak and a taste or two of the duck.
If you want a meaty duck, this would be the one for you. Personally, for me it;s all about a combination of factors; the skin, the flavor, fat content, and so on. The flavor of this duck will be a surprise for many raised on roast duck in San Diego. It is mild, with anise hints, and not salted to death to cover up the lack of expert preparation. The skin on the top layer was, perhaps a bit too "rubbery", but good overall. Sadly, they poured a ton of "jus" over the duck. There was about two cups of it in the tray (I measured). This meant the skin of the duck on the bottom layer was taut and the meat had started to be mushy. Gladly, even the juice wasn't too salty. I think I'll have them go easy on that stuff next time.
So, if you're passing through, or if roast duck matters enough to you to be worth a drive (like me), this place is worth a shot. And the prices are very reasonable.
Lien Hoa BBQ Deli
9299 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
Monterey Palace BBQ Fast Food:
A little over a year ago, we were driving east on Valley Boulevard. right past Focus Plaza, I noticed that a new shop had opened in a location I believe was some kind of bar or nightclub before.
The name of the place was Monterey Palace BBQ, which got me thinking that this place is affiliated with Monterey Palace on Garvey?
As you enter you basically meet the BBQ, followed by a section which is set-up for steam table foods, a la Sam Woo, nothing surprising there. The interesting thing is a bit past the hot foods section is a poultry and meat set-up, with several different types of chicken, duck, even rabbit.
The first time we stopped by and bought the roast duck, I really enjoyed it.
It isn't as meaty as the duck from Lien Hoa, but the skin was nicely lacquered and the flavor of bean paste was forward without overwhelming everything.
We have been back two more times since. On the second visit, the skin of the duck was wrinkled and it was too fatty...signs that temperature control was poor. One the third visit, things were back ot how they were on our first visit.
For now, Monterey Palace has replaced Sam Woo in Alhambra as our "duck stop". I'm hoping that we've found our place for take-out roast duck for now.
One downside to the location is that as far as I can tell, there's only street parking. There are only three spaces on the street in front of the place....so in case you're being tailgated by some aggressive retard like I was and have to stop and park, you may have to deal with the half peace sign salute and screaming from an idiot who was trying to get around the other cars and probably didn't know or didn't care (probably the latter) that you could indeed park on the street in front of the place. I'd forgotten how wonderful drivers were in the SGV...thanks for the reminder, moron. I've found that the best defense in such a situation is to look at the person and give them a big smile...A BIG SMILE.....
Anyway, he had to wait until all the cars drove past to merge into traffic and I got my roast duck. Seems like I got the better of the whole deal, right?
Monterey Palace BBQ Fast Food
118 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776