A Meaty Journey Through L.A.’s Cantonese Barbecue Scene
When husband-and-wife group Leo and Lydia Lee opened RiceBox in downtown’s Spring Game Structure in September, they were continuing a custom gave through 3 generations. Lydia’s grandpa ran a barbecue store in Hong Kong; it was the sort of blue-collar location you ‘d discover on many corners in the hectic city, total with plastic stools, low-slung tables, and glowing meats hanging from hooks. The household biz gets an upgrade at the Lees’ little takeout area: With premium proteins and scratch sauces, the menu salutes timeless Cantonese siu mei(roasted meats), a category that includes meals like char siu and soy sauce chicken, sliced to buy with cleavers and served over rice and greens. The Lees’ take is specifically appropriate for L.A.: The Cantonese dining establishments that when controlled Chinatown, and later on Alhambra and Monterey Park, have actually paved the way to those including foods of other Chinese areas, showing altering migration patterns over the years. Though there’s nobody doing Cantonese ‘hint rather like the Lees– sample their porchetta– design pork stomach with ginger chimichurri– there are still numerous siu mei traditionalists throughout the SGV providing a taste of Hong Kong and, properly, a method to commemorate the Year of the Pig. 541 S. Spring St., Ste. 131, downtown, ricebox.net.
4 Must-Try Joints
Crispy Pork Tummy ( 燒肉)
Understood in Cantonese as siu yuk, this pork meal is everything about the crisp skin: golden brown, a little puffy, and impossibly crispy. Pieces of pork stomach are pierced and rubbed with salt prior to being roasted, changing the dermal fat into a crackling shell. South El Monte’s Ruby B.B.Q. serves plates of nicely stacked pieces with hot mustard or hoisin sauce for dipping. 9561 E. Garvey Ave., Stes. 1 and 2, South El Monte, 626-279-6854
Roast Duck ( 燒鴨)
Ho Kee Coffee Shop
Possibly the most renowned example of Cantonese barbecue in America, roast duck is typically seen hanging front and center in store windows. The strategies included are elaborate however yield a lovely balance of textures: tender marinaded meat and lacquered bronze-colored skin. At Ho Kee Coffee shop, a popular Hong Kong-style area preferred by expats, sliced up roast duck is a home favorite. 533 S. Del Mar Ave., San Gabriel, 626-766-1076
Soy Sauce Chicken ( 豉油雞)
Entire chickens are simmered in a fragrant stock made from soy sauce and star anise. A close relative is “white cut chicken,” a salt-marinated bird poached and served with a pungent paste of ginger and green onion. Monterey Palace, an old-school dim amount dining establishment with a devoted barbecue takeout counter, is an expert in both. 1001 E. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park, 626-571-0888
Char Siu ( 叉燒)
Sam Woo BARBEQUE
The O.G. of Cantonese barbecue in L.A., Sam Woo initially opened in the late 1970 s, later on broadening to various areas throughout Southern California. Head to the chain’s oldest-surviving outlet, in Alhambra, for real-deal char siu: tender cuts of marinaded roasted pork brushed with a sticky red glaze made from maltose sugar and other spices. 514 Valley Blvd., Alhambra, 626-281-0038
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