Profit and Loss

How Much Does Your Chinese Butcher Make?

The August issue of Gourmet finds Francis Lam working in the kitchen of Ho Ho BBQ, a Chinese joint in a Toronto strip mall. It’s an enticing glimpse into the art of roasting meats in the Cantonese style, though only a glimpse, since we don’t learn what exactly makes chef Jacques Wong’s roast pork so good, other than the fact that he “insists on buying nothing less than the best ingredients.” But here’s an interesting tidbit.

He pays a lot for his pigs, but he likes the quality he gets. “The guy I buy from’s got a family to feed, too,” Si-fu said. “Hell, maybe he has a couple of them.” But after all the cutting and curing and the scalding and the resting and the lifting and the roasting, if he manages to sell the whole thing, he nets $30.

Not exactly cost-efficient compared to the $3-per-slice Dom DeMarco is said to net. It makes us wonder what those trendier pig roasts are bringing in. Serious Eats has a report from Hearth’s amazing-looking pig dinner, and then there’s the latest one, at Klee Brasserie. Every Sunday through Labor Day, from 5 p.m. till 11 p.m., the restaurant will once again offer a three-course $35 prix fixe that includes complimentary Austrian beer. It’s doubtful Klee is making that much money off of the deal, but then again it does serve as free advertising, considering these pig-crazed times.

Anyway, here’s to Gourmet, for spotlighting one of the places that roast pigs without much fanfare aside from hanging their noble carcasses in the window.

The Last Chinese BBQ [Gourmet]

How Much Does Your Chinese Butcher Make?