Sherman's Food Adventures: Chinatown BBQ

Chinatown BBQ

Back in my youth, it was a thing to visit Chinatown.  From the torturous circling of Pender and Keefer Streets for that prized parking spot to the constant dodging of loud spitting, it was a part of my childhood.  We would frequent the classics such as Ming's, Hong Kong Cafe, Chiu Chow Restaurant, Park Lok, New Dynasty, the original Hon's, Golden Horse and the recently burned down Daisy Garden.  It used to be 2 storefronts but they shrunk to one as Chinatown began its decline.  Lo and behold, just a few stores down, we find the brand new Chinatown BBQ with the same BBQ master from Daisy Garden.  Clad in modern retro decor that is both clean and somewhat hipster, this is probably the model whereby others can resurrect this historic neighbourhood.

They're keeping it simple with a BBQ-focused menu supplemented by small bites and some Chinese curry.  We were forced to keep it simple since they were out of Roast Pork.  Our first dish was the BBQ Duck on Rice that sported both a leg and some breast meat.  Although the pricing at $10.95 could be considered on the higher end, there was enough duck to justify it.  Furthermore, the duck was on point being succulent and well-brined while not being salty.  The skin was nicely rendered and crispy, especially the leg and back portion.  There could've been a bit more rice for the amount of duck though.  We also got a small plate of the BBQ Pork and by the visuals, it looked pretty legit.  Yes, it was as good as it looked with a caramelized bark where inside, the meat was juicy and fatty.  Flavours were balanced, yet the glaze was not as impactful as the one at HK BBQ Master.

We got a side dish of Jellied Pork Hock and Marinated Jellyfish which was smaller than the usual serving size.  They had run out of jellyfish and provided what was left, so they charged us a couple of bucks less.  Fair deal IMO.  Although sliced a bit thick for my liking, the pork hock was still good where the fat and skin was nicely gelatinized while the meat was tender.  What brought it all together was the tasty garlic vinegar dip (and plenty of it).  Since the jellyfish was the bottom of the barrel, some pieces were quite small.  Texturally, there was good elasticity and the marinade was a good mix of soy, spice and sesame oil.  To get our greens for the meal, we got the Boiled Gai Lan topped with stir fried garlic and ginger in soy.  The gai lan was cooked just right being crunchy and vibrant.  Loved the aromatic and strong garlic flavour.

We had to wait awhile for our last dish since they prepared it to order.  The Soy Sauce Chicken was magnificent being succulent and downright juicy.  There was a nice sweet soy flavour to the chicken that was just right where the skin was tasty and appealing in colour.  Loved how the side ginger and green onion condiment was mostly ginger like some other places.  Despite missing out on the roast pork and curry, we got enough of a taste to say that Chinatown BBQ is legit.  Prices are a few bucks more than the usual, but the place is clean and retro modern.

The Good:
- On point BBQ duck and soy chicken
- Service was actually friendly
- Clean

The Bad:
- A bit more expensive than other similar places
- Need to work on having enough food to last the day