Thanksgiving dinner is traditionally made with foods from the New World that the Pilgrims received from the Native Americans. The meal has somewhat of a ritual quality; most Americans would say it wouldn’t be complete without turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and gravy. Other common dishes include sweet or mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, and green beans. Though you’re unlikely to find too many crackling fires in homes across Beijing, rest assured that you can still enjoy a Thanksgiving feast here.
The majority of Beijing’s international supermarkets and butchers will have turkeys for sale over the coming months. Be sure to order super early, as turkey will literally fly off the shelves as the holidays approach. Most turkeys are sold frozen, so allow plenty time for them to defrost before cooking.
April Gourmet sells imported turkeys for RMB 55/kg and hams. Some branches also have ready-made pumpkin pies at the deli counter.
Baode Home Delivery sells US Norbest turkey for RMB 49-53/kg, with sizes ranging from 6-9kg.
BHG Market Place sells frozen imported turkeys for RMB 60/kg.
Boucherie Michel sells imported US turkeys for around RMB 60/kg. The shop also sells cooked turkeys for RMB 108/kg.
City Shop sells frozen US Norbest turkeys for RMB 78/kg, with sizes ranging from 5.5kg to a whopping 22kg. Both Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce and jellied cranberry sauce cost RMB 24 per can.
Jenny Lou’s and Jenny Wang’s sell frozen imported turkeys for RMB 55/kg, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie filling.
Schindler’s Food Center sells frozen imported turkey for RMB 58/kg and local Chinese turkey for RMB 45-48/kg. It also stocks a range of hams both boned and bone-in.
TooToo Organic Farm will start selling frozen imported turkeys this month (prices TBA). It also has Kingsberry cranberry sauce for RMB 48.
For those who want to enjoy Thanksgiving at home without having to cook the whole shebang, there are several places that will happily do all the hard work for you (including starters, sides, and pies). Some caterers deliver while others offer pick-up only.
Chef Too has been doing American Thanksgiving in Beijing since 1999. Dine in at the restaurant or take away the whole turkey with all the sides and a pumpkin or apple pie. Early reservations are crucial.
Culinary Capers offers grain-fed turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, stuffing, chutney, gravy, spiced pumpkin pie, and praline butterscotch cheesecake. The complete turkey dinner feeds six people for RMB 1,088. If you’re catering to a smaller group, Culinary Capers can portion the meal for RMB 188 per serving. The company also provides whole turkeys to roast at home for RMB 460, gravy included. Orders must be placed by November 17.
Jaan at Raffles Beijing Hotel offers a pick-up dinner costing RMB 1,186 for a whole turkey with all the trimmings and an apple tarte tatin or RMB 888 for a half-turkey meal.
Lily’s American Diner delivers whole roasted US imported turkeys for 99/kg, including stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, cranberry sauce, and gravy. From November 27-30, all three Lily’s locations are also offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for RMB 129 per person.
Village Café at The Opposite House has a bunch of Thanksgiving goodies that are either oven-ready or ready to serve, including ham, turkey, free-range roast chicken, smoked salmon, vegetable trays, and every pie possible. Order at least four days in advance.
Don’t want the hassle or washing up? Book a table for November 27 at one of the many restaurants serving Thanksgiving lunch or dinner around town. Note that most of the prices below carry a 15 percent surcharge.
Aroma at the Ritz-Carlton, Beijing serves roast turkey and sides with champagne, red and white wine, and cocktails. RMB 638 per person, RMB 319 for ages 6-12, free for kids under 6.
BLD Café at Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel has a buffet spread with turkey and all the trimmings. RMB 298 per person.
FEAST at EAST Beijing is where you’ll find Executive Chef Rob Cunningham’s traditional three-course meal with turkey and pie. RMB 208 per person.
Greenfish at the The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing Financial Street serves more than just turkey, with seafood, salads, and seasonal dishes. RMB 398+ per person.
Jaan at Raffles Beijing Hotel has a French-inspired set menu with turkey carved table-side by the chefs. RMB 368+ per person. Also at Raffles, East 33 serves a Thanksgiving buffet with turkey and trimmings, pineapple-glazed gammon ham, and bone-in rib-eye. RMB 368+ per person (Jaan), RMB 348+ per person (East 33).
The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu hosts a traditional feast on November 27 from 5-10pm and again on November 29. This year the venue will be its sister hotel, the Brickyard Inn and Retreat Center. RMB 388 per person, RMB 158 for ages 4-18 and university students with ID, free for kids under 4.
Don’t Forget the Pie
Pumpkin pie didn’t become a fixture until the early 19th century, when the Pilgrims brought it with them to New England. This dessert is often eaten in the fall and early winter, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US and Canada. Bakery pies are usually nine inches in diameter, which should feed 10-12 people. If you want to do it yourself, most supermarkets stock cans of pie filling and ready-made pie crust.
Bread of Life sells pumpkin pie for RMB 140, with all profits going towards supporting orphans and children in China.
Pantry’s Best makes a pumpkin pie priced at RMB 199. Delivery is free within Fourth Ring Road.
Rager Pie makes a “smashed” rather than pureed pie. If you like your pumpkin chunky, get one delivered for RMB 120.
Sweet Tooth sells a range of pies, including pumpkin (RMB 225) and apple (RMB 240).
DDs Supermarket stocks Betty Crocker pie crust mix, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie filling (RMB 29).
Check the Directories here for contact information.
This article originally appeared on p32-33 in the November 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: courtesy of Aroma, The Culinarygeek (flickr)