Old Fashioned Roasted Sweet Potato in Santa Clara
Probably most people who grew up in China, Taiwan, or Korea will remember eating roasted sweet potato (烤地瓜) as children. The specific variety is known as Japanese Yam in the Asian grocery stores here. It is yellow on the inside and has a sweet taste.
I had not expected to taste it again in the US until I found that there’s a place that makes it in Santa Clara. There’s a one-man operation that roasts these yams in an old-style oven right in front of the Galleria Korean market at NE intersection of Lawrence & El Camino Real. He is an ethnic Korean who lived in China and can speak both Korean and Chinese. The yams sell for $2 for 3 (or more) pieces. Usually he gives me 4 pieces.
It tastes almost as good as what I remember as a kid. The skin is roasted such that it can be easily peeled off without much effort. The sugar in the yam gets caramelized and makes the yam very sweet and fragrant. So if you have a craving for this childhood snack, go try it out.
The bad news is that if you want to try this old fashioned home style treat, he will only be here until end of April, before the weather starts getting hot. If you miss him this time around, you will have to come back in November when he’ll be back to set up shop to offer these hot, baked treats again for the coming cold winter.