Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of non-Chinese food. I lived on yum cha, noodles, stir fries and claypots with smells that made my Greek neighbours wrinkle their noses.
I also had a lot of Chinese BBQ with sides of rice and bowls of “I wish you would seriously consider being a doctor” soup.
My extended family would have roaring debates over which place had the best char siu or the crispiest BBQ duck.
For some reason, we never thought about the place with king in it’s name.
I’m talking of course, about BBQ King in the CBD.
The first thing I said when I walked into BBQ King was: “this feels like home.”
Not to say that I live in a Chinese BBQ restaurant, but the smells, the lively atmosphere and yes, the cluster of Chinese folk made it a very familiar environment.
I used to have Chinese BBQ at least once a week with my family. We’d go to places where the staff was a little rude, the walls were peeling slightly and you weren’t really sure if the bathrooms would be working. However the food was always on point.
BBQ King is the exact opposite of that. Though it’s long removed from a hole in the wall, there’s still a sense of home that BBQ King grants its guests.
Ok, let’s go home now:
I love Peking duck. The mixture of sweet & salty and soft & crispy really whets my appetite.
The duck is the signature offering at BBQ King and I can see why. My first bite was heavenly, the freshness of the shallots, the slight kick of the chili and the glorious fattiness of the duck just fused together to form an atomic flavour bomb.
It’s the signature that places across Sydney have tried to forge and have failed miserably for years now.
Shhhh please don’t tell my folks I ordered this.
They’re very against opting for vegetables when we’re eating out. Even if the vegetable in this instance is serving as an edible bowl and housing a delicious filling.
It’s a little messy and I’m not sure I’m ever holding it correctly (I wrap it up a big lettuce dumpling) but it’s undoubtedly delicious. Love how the lettuce cuts through the richness of the pork mince.
Lettuce never tell Mama and Papa iFat that I asked for this.
BBQ pork (or char siu) is usually a lean cut of pork glazed in a sweet BBQ sauce.
Lean pork is almost blasphemous for me but it’s ideal for char siu. You almost don’t want the meat melting away in your mouth as every chew is an extra moment you get to savour the flavour.
The rice is there to soak up the sauce that secretes from the pork and it definitely rices to the occasion in a solid supporting act here.
Every time I opt for pork belly at a non-Chinese restaurant, I compare it to what everyone sees in the window of a BBQ joint they wander past a joint in Chinatown.
Perfect layers of fat, lean pork and crispy crackling is what defines optimised pork belly and BBQ King has that in spades. I almost completely disregarded the rice (that’s the most un-Chinese thing I’ve ever written) and vegetables and started shoveling bits of BBQ pork into my mouth at a pace reserved for people who’ve been trapped in mines and have had to sustain themselves on dirt.
I have a feeling I’ll be like this every time I visit BBQ King.
Here’s the TL;DR for the 3 people that managed to read all 5 posts in the #5in5 series (thank you).
- I’ve always considered myself a little BBQrious.
- Get the duck. Do it, it’s a ducking mistake if you don’t.
BBQ King, CBD
76-78 Liverpool Street
Monday – Sunday: 10am to Midnight