There’s more to Chinese cuisine than chow mein and ginger beef and that’s exactly what Whitehorse’s newest Chinese restaurant wants to show Yukoners.
The BBQ King Restaurant opened quietly in late November of last year, near the Qwanlin mall.
Immediately after entering the restaurant, customers can’t miss the rows of freshly cooked ducks and the roasted pork hanging in the window display.
The meat is brought in fresh from outside, marinated in the chefs’ secret sauce for a couple of days so the meat absorbs the sauce, and then roasted and barbecued, said Alfred Au, the restaurant’s assistant manager.
There are two batches of ducks and pork cooked each day to make sure customers get the freshest offering, he said.
“When I moved over here, the Chinese food (offering) had a lot of deep fried and stir-fried food,” he said.
“We still want to keep that but we want to bring (more) authentic Asian food.”
The BBQ duck, pork, and roasted pork proved popular down south, Au said. The thinly sliced roasted pork offers a unique combination of textures, between the crispy and fatty skin and the tender meat.
Historically the dishes have been popular in southern China.
Owner Li Tang Chen wanted to open her own restaurant but didn’t have the time or the crew. She has been working in the industry for the past 10 years and splits her time between Vancouver and Whitehorse, Au said.
When the Asian Central Store, a Filipino grocery store doubling as a restaurant, shut down, Chen seized the opportunity.
She transformed the space into one big restaurant, seating about 60 people, splitting it between a dining room and two food counters.
Across from the meat counter is the dessert counter with bubble tea, crepes and bubble egg waffles, freshly made.
For the bubble tea, customers can choose between the tapioca-based pearls or coconut jelly along with various tea flavours.
And nothing complements bubble tea better than bubble egg waffles.
Hugely popular in Hong Kong, the small egg-shaped waffles are both crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You’ll likely eat half a dozen before you realized what you’ve just done.
With the Chinese New Year coming up on Jan. 28, the restaurant’s chefs created a special New Year menu that will run from Jan. 23 to Feb. 11.
“We usually celebrate it before and after,” Au said.
He promises some “special” dishes.
“In that menu you won’t be able to see any sweet and sour chicken, or any deep fried ginger beef,” he said.
Some of the dishes, he points out, are multi-course meals that don’t feature any fried rice.
This year is the year of the rooster, according to the Chinese Zodiac. So naturally the restaurant is featuring a lot of chicken-based dishes.
Au is especially proud of the Peking Duck dish the restaurant serves, which is both on the Chinese New Year menu and the regular menu.
The three-course meal features a duck in its various forms. The first dish is made from the cooked skin, the second from the meat stir-fried with noodles and wrapped in lettuce, and the third is a soup made from the bones.
“None of the other restaurants are doing it,” Au said. “People have been trying it and really enjoyed it.”
He emphasizes the restaurant orders raw ingredients and cooks everything on site.
“We want things authentic, tasty, fresh,” Au said.
The restaurant also has an alcohol licence and a couple of TV screens, two prerequisites for any sports fan to follow hockey games.
Au said they’re always welcoming customers’ feedback to improve the food on offer.
To find out more about the BBQ King Restaurant and see its menu, visit its Facebook page: @BBQKingYukon.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org