Sherman's Food Adventures: The One BBQ Kitchen

The One BBQ Kitchen

For a city with so many Chinese restaurants, it is quite interesting that there aren't many more superb Chinese BBQs.  We all know the usual suspects, but the really good ones don't even number 10 in the GVRD.  So it is always nice to see new spots popping up, especially in the not-so-obvious-locations.  This would be the case of The One BBQ Kitchen out on Victoria Drive at 57th in Vancouver.  If you weren't paying attention, you might even drive right past it.  Alas, we didn't do that as we were invited to try out their wares.

To get a sense of their BBQ, we went ahead and ordered all 3 versions of their BBQ Pork including Devil's Char Siu, First Cut Char Siu and the regular BBQ Pork.  Gotta say that all 3 were on point.  With that being said, the Devi's Char Siu was our favourite.  I guess it had a lot to do with it being pork belly as well as being prepared expertly.  There was balanced charring on the outside that ensured we'd get smokiness, caramelization and crispy bits.  That gave way to tender, yet not overly fatty, pieces of pork.  Loved the honey glaze as it was sticky and addictively delicious.  As for the First Cut Char Siu, it was much leaner, yet at the same time, was still moist and tender with a tasty bark.  It was firm on the outside with plenty of sweetness as well as balancing meaty savouriness.  Surprisingly, the plain ol' regular BBQ Pork was almost as good as the Devil's Char Siu.  It was fatty enough to provide a luxurious and soft texture, while not being flabby.  It was also charred nicely and coated with the honey glaze.

We went big and ordered the Whole BBQ Duck which was quite impressively plated.  It was large and well worth the $50.00 as the breast meat was substantial and meaty.  However, the thing that wowed us the most was the uniformly rendered skin.  It was not fatty underneath, even where it is usually quite fatty (ie. the breast).  Hence, they must've used the right breed of duck (with less fat) and also roasted it perfectly.  With crispy skin, it was a delight to eat in itself, but it also revealed tender and moist meat underneath as well.  The duck itself was also brined properly where the flavours penetrated into the meat.

Moving away from the BBQ items, we dove into some classic casual Cantonese dishes including the Sweet & Sour Pork.  Yes, it seems rather defaultish, especially all of us at this tasting were well-versed in traditional Chinese eats, but hey, we love Sweet & Sour Pork and do not pass off any judgements!  Well, it was a good move anyways as this plate of S&S Pork was very good.  The large chunks of pork were tender and moist without being super fatty.  The batter was medium-thick but was not doughy.  In fact, it still had a bit of crunch left despite being coated with sauce.  About that sauce, it was balanced with plenty of acidity and sweetness.

One of the most majestically-looking dishes was the Prawn in Soybean Paste with Vermicelli Hot Pot.  Butterflied and deep-fried, the prawns were meaty with a sweet snap.  Since it was fried in-the-shell, it was possible to eat it whole with a nice crunch on the outside.  There was a good amount of al dente and not clumpy mung bean vermicelli underneath that had soaked up all of the flavours including the fermented saltiness of the soybean paste.  Naturally, there was some background brininess as well.

We went for another hot pot dish in the Sizzling Chicken Hot Pot.  This was chock full of dark meat chicken that was just barely cooked-through.  Hence, the chicken was juicy with a meaty bounce texture.  It was also well-seasoned with equal parts of sweet and salty with some pepperiness and slight gingeriness.  This was almost prepared similarly like a Taiwanese 3-cup chicken without the same seasonings.

Of course we wanted to get some veggies into our diet, so we went for the Vegetable & Buddah's Feast featuring bak choy, lotus root, mushrooms, baby corn, carrot, wood ear, white cloud fungus and water chestnuts.  All of these ingredients were cooked properly where they retained their crunch and vibrancy.  Seasoning was mild, but that was welcomed as many of our dishes had plenty of bold flavours already.  Only thing I would've liked was the starch-thickened sauce (residual cooking moisture) wasn't so gooey.

Even though we didn't order any congee, we just had to get the Salt & Pepper Deep Fried Noodle Fish.  Sometimes this is identified on menus as "Silverfish" but I'm sure that doesn't sound as appetizing as noodle fish...  Anyways, these little fishies were actually quite large and battered up nicely where they were crunchy and light.  There was enough chilis, garlic, onion, salt and pepper to give these fish plenty of impact.  Would like to dunk these into plain congee next time!

Another classic Cantonese dish we had was the Stir-Fried Clams in Black Bean Sauce.  There was a good amount of manageable-sized clams that were all open.  Coated with just enough sauce, these clams were buttery and tender being cooked just right.  I think they might've water-blanched them first, hence, I didn't get any sand in my clams.  As for the sauce, it was properly thickened and had a balanced saltiness to go with the garlic.  Dish wasn't overly greasy either.

One of the most surprising dishes was the Kung Pao Chicken as it was actually spicy!  I can't tell you how many times I've had this dish and all I taste is sweet and maybe a bit of tanginess.  This had heat that lingered!  On first glance, the dish looked like some peppers with a tonne of roasted peanuts on top.  However, upon digging deeper, we found little nuggets of chicken that were super tender.  The veggies were still vibrant and crunchy too.

For some carbs, we ordered the Seafood Fried Rice which was pretty jacked with shrimp and bay scallops.  These were cooked beautifully maintaining some bounce and butteriness.  The rice itself was seasoned enough, yet still allowed for complimenting the bold flavours of some of the dishes.  I wished that the rice was a bit more dry though as it was on the softer side.

Seemingly a side order that was destined to not be talked about, the bowl of Lai Fun was the talk of the table!  Usually, when we get Lai Fun anywhere, it is soft and breaks on contact.  Not here though as each strand was al dente with a bouncy chewiness.  Such wonderful mouth feel and it stayed that way despite sitting in broth.  The broth itself appeared to be the BBQ duck bone broth.  I would eat this plain!  But we ended up dunking some BBQ duck into it and we had our small bowls of BBQ Duck Lai Fun!  Overall, the food at The One BBQ Kitchen was quite impressive, especially the BBQ.  Prices are fair and the portions are medium-sized.  Definitely a good place for a casual meal with the fam.

*This post features complimentary food

The Good:
- Excellent BBQ
- Solid eats
- Reasonably-priced

The Bad:
- Portion sizes are fine, but on the smaller side


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