21 July, 2008

A. Dong Supermarket, West Hartford CT

I've written before about A. Dong Supermarket, the large Asian market in West Hartford CT. My wife and I were back there yesterday and stopped to buy a roasted duck to take out for supper.

The photo at right shows the display case where the roasted goodies are kept hot pending customer's orders. In the background, whole red-roasted chickens hang, followed by strips of "baby BBQ pork" (bright red ovals of sweet barbecued pork cut from the shoulder.) Hanging on hooks in the center of the photo are a number of roasted five-spice ducks, with the head and neck still on. To the right, whole roasted pigs hang from steel hooks as a deli employee sections them with a razor-sharp Chinese chef's knife. In the foreground, three or four roasted pig's heads gaze at the ceiling next to several "long feet" (roasted pig's feet which include the leg all the way up to and including the hock.)

Since we arrived at Dong's early in the afternoon, this deli/lunch counter was busy. Some girls in front of me in line ordered a couple of ducks, and the woman behind the counter took two down from the case and brought them to a massive chopping block. Within a minute or two, she had the two ducks expertly cut into inch-wide strips, packed and arranged in an eye-pleasing manner in lunch-sized aluminum pans - half a duck per pan.

I ordered our duck, and the woman picked one down. "Don't throw away the head, OK?" I asked her.

She looked at me strangely. "You want duck head? You sure?"

"Yes, thanks."

"Okay. You like tail, too?" she asked. When I said yes, I wanted the tail too she gave me a big smile. "I give you extra tail, we have some from other duck."

When the cutting and packing were done, she handed me two lunch-sized aluminum pans artfully packed with inch-wide strips of duck...and a plastic bag with four duck tails and the head from the duck I ordered.




By the time we got home, the duck skin had lost its crispiness. I fired up the charcoal grill and very carefully gave the duck a few minutes over the hot coals, warming the meat back up and making the duck skin crispy and delightful. "Very carefully" is not an exaggeration, because duck is fatty and if not watched closely can turn an outdoor grill into an inferno. It turned out delicious.


1 comment:

Alex Rushmer said...

That place looks wonderful. I'm jealous! Are those pig heads I see in the foreground?