In the southwest of France, around the Gers, there’s a food truck that visits a few of the weekly markets. Once you’ve assembled your staples and stocked up on Guinness and Cadbury’s chocolates at the stall mobbed by the British expats in these parts, you can pick up dinner at the itinerant truck.
Here’s how it works. Imagine a bunch of horizontal rotisserie bars stretched along the flank of a van. Strung along the top bar are glistening fresh hams and pork roasts, which drip their delicious juices onto an entire row of spinning long-bodied ducks below, whose skins are now crisp and delicious having rendered most of their fat. Below the ducks (and benefiting from all of their liberated fat) are four tightly-packed rungs of golden chickens, and below them is a single row of turkeys—which the French actually eat all year long. The rotisserie-truck philosophy is that the fattiest meats are strung highest, so that they share their largesse with the leaner, less flavorful meats below.
There’s also no added fat in the process – so it’s elegant, in the mathematical sense, and it’s economical, too. The most delicious part are the potatoes, roasted in a long, shallow trough—like a drip pan—that stretches under the rotisserie bars. The potatoes, seared in the united juices of all the meats, are golden brown and caramelized outside, and fluffy, hot and yummy inside. They’re indescribably delicious.
So why, you may ask, am I telling you about the southwest of frickin’ France at Eater? Because you can find – almost — the exact same thing at Kam Sen Market in White Plains.
Okay—there are no potatoes, which is a heartbreak—but the same philosophy is at play. You’ll find pork, duck, and the most delicious rotisserie chickens in Westchester, all strung up and sharing their love in a steamy cauldron of meaty swapped juice. The pork, available in various cuts, is basted freakily red with char siu (containing food coloring, as well as five spice powder, soy and hoisin sauce). It’s sweet, salty, slightly greasy and delicious—the pork is cooked until it’s quite addictive and almost candied. And the Kam Sen Market goes French rotisserie trucks one better: if you order ahead, you can actually get a nuclear red-stained whole roast suckling pig. Frankly, I’m desperate to do this once, if only to annoy the vegetarians in my family.
Then there are ducks, with their inescapably Donald-looking heads still on. (It’s how they’re strung on the hook—their long necks forming a loop–they can be removed when the counterman wraps up your order). Their long red bodies terminate in little red-stained webbed feet, and their skin is simply delicious—as crisp as a potato chip. Plus, you know that Pekin duck at the corner Chinese? Chances are it’s not cooked in-house, so you might as well cut out the middle man and get your own barbecue duck at Kam Sen.
And those scallion chickens, whose skins are rendered as filmy as tissue, deliciously ungloppy (unlike most rotisserie chickens you’ll find), with their little chicken-y butts wrapped in parchment paper to collect their scallion-dotted, yellow juices. When the counterman packs up your chicken, he tips the parchment paper into a Solo cup, so you can anoint your already moist chicken with salty, scallion-y goodness once you get it home. Chances are, you’ll sneak a few bites before you can even get the plates out.
At last, beneath it all (instead of those dreamy potatoes), sharing the united love of all those meats, are trays of, I’m afraid to say, offal. As in kidneys, tongues, tripe and such.
Oh well, you can’t have everything.