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Saturday, March 24, 2007

BBQ King, Haymarket Chinatown

Prawns with egg
Prawns with egg

BBQ King always ends up as the easy option for a large group in need of a feed. Up the creaking stairs we go as waiters make haste to push together tables and dispense the appropriate amount of rice bowls, chopsticks and tea cups, all clinking and clunking and rattling their way over.

Beef stir fry with oyster sauce and vegetables

We share a number of dishes. The prawns with egg (pictured at the top) is a highlight; the prawns aren't particularly flavoursome but they have a glossy sheen, and the accompanying egg omelette is soft and silky.

The beef stir fry arrives with a medley of crunchy vegetables that includes carrots, broccoli florets, snow peas and young corn spears. The oyster sauce is thick and sweet, with a little too much cornflour thickener for my liking.

Chinese broccoli
Chinese broccoli

Chinese broccoli (gai lan) is a lovely bright green and full of crunch. Hainan chicken is juicy and sweet, arriving with the usual ginger shallot oil--I could eat buckets of this on plain rice. Char siu barbecue pork is a deep caramelised reddy-orange on the outside, sliced into perfectly thick chunks. I go straight for the end pieces which have extra burnt bits.

bbq pork and hainan chicken
BBQ pork and Hainan chicken

We round out our selection with a platter of calamari with spicy salt. Today it' a real winner, tender on the inside and encased with a pale golden batter.

Service is always hard to garner (we had to ask three waiters before our teapots were re-filled) but sometimes that's all just part of the charm.

Calamari with spicy salt

BBQ King
18-20 Goulburn St, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9267 2586

Open 7 days, 11.30am-2.00am

Related GrabYourFork posts:
BBQ King, December 2006
7 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 3/24/2007 03:05:00 pm


  • At 3/25/2007 7:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    beautiful pics - london's woeful 'chinatown' pales in comparison!

  • At 3/25/2007 9:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have been going to BBQ King consistently since my brother introduced me to it over five years ago. After however many (easily over a hundred, up to three times a week) the owner shakes my hand, and the waiters joke with me. It really adds a special touch when they know you at your favourite restaurant.

    I will be the first to say that you can get better food at the swanky restaurants around city, and I'll also admit that you can get cheaper and equally good food at other places in Chinatown, but I go to BBQ King for two reasons. Firstly, it has the best Peking Duck, BBQ Pork, Squid and Beef dishes around, bar none. The great thing about this is that these are all my favourite dishes when I have Chinese, so The King (as we have come to call it in our clique) is perfect for me.
    Secondly, if we want to deviate from what we know is great, we are still assured of quality. I have never ordered a meal from BBQ King that I thought wasn't at least good. The problem is at so many other restaurants they have what they do best, and then the rest just bulks out the menu. At BBQ King you can get (on top of the list above) great Chicken, great noodles and great soups/entrees. At every other Chinese place I have gone to I have quickly learnt that some dishes are to be completely avoided. It's when the waiter looks at you as if you're brave for trying it.

    Though the quality is a bit more up and down lately, it's still always a good meal. And for me, when I stick to my favourites, it's a great meal.

  • At 3/25/2007 12:16 pm, Blogger Truffle said…

    You are making me miss Sydney! Somehow Melbourne's Chinatown just doesn't compare for me.

  • At 3/26/2007 8:34 am, Blogger MissK said…

    We have to start with duck pancakes every time we visit.It's a must.

  • At 3/26/2007 7:08 pm, Blogger ElegantGourmand said…

    your pictures are wonderful. I would have loved to try the King's food as I've read so much about it, however, when we walked in on Saturday night, we were quite frankly shocked by the prices.

    I realise that Sydney's prices are higher than Melbourne and I certainly don't wish to draw unfair comparisons. but $20 for a plate of water convolvulus, $30 for suckling pig, and most mains in the $26 vicinity put paid to our price expectation of a restaurant that specialised in Chinese roast meats. We decided to walk out again. Having also dined at Tetsuya's on the Friday night, these prices really highlight just how good value Tetsuya's is.

    However, I love Sydney's chinatown, I find that it's more interesting than Melbourne's, with heaps more to see and explore.

  • At 3/28/2007 7:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Elegant Gourmand, please please do NOT judge Sydney prices by BBQ King's. It is astronomical by comparison to its counterparts here in Sydney. My friends/family and I are not enamoured by it, not for the prices alone, we find the food to be only so so. In all fairness, it did use to be very good, but seems to have slipped in the last few years. I would suggest Superbowl instead for a casual feed, or Golden Century when in need of more 'elaborate' offerings.
    Helen, I LOVE Wong Kei! Only for its surly waiters though! Well, the prices were cheap too.

  • At 3/29/2007 7:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like BBQ King, I think the food you order is fine, especially the duck dishes as has been mentioned. It's the food you DON'T order that is the worry - I got a complimentary bowl of pork hock in some broth when I went in alone for lunch one day. That was pretty nasty all round!(and I reckon my tastes are extremely flexible by most people's standards).

    Great blog by the way Helen ...


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