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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yummy Chinese BBQ, Ashfield

Rotating food is fun.

I'm sure this is why sushi trains offer so much appeal. A mesmerising rhythm of food on the move. Like pigs on spits. And now, behold, the spinning skewer.

We'd come prepared tonight. Stomachs hungry and any jackets left in the car before we step into the smoky confines of Yummy Chinese BBQ, a temple of all-you-can-eat feasting in Ashfield, in Sydney's inner west.

The thick fog of charcoal smoke hangs heavily in the room despite the presence of overhead exhaust fans. On each table is a narrow metal grill fuelled by charcoal. There is little in the way of explanatory service or introduction, and we take cues from other customers in the room and head straight for the buffet.

Salads and cold meats

A bain marie in the back corner holds a host of dishes to keep the hunger pangs at bay. We load up our plates with cold Peking ribs, tofu and vegetable stir-fry, clams, squares of shallot pancake, garlicky wedges of raw cucumbers and cool and crunchy cold potato strips.

What's much more exciting is the wall of skewers. Lamb, chicken, beef and seafood, we find a rainbow of skewers sorted neatly into black narrow tubs.


It's easy to get carried but we resist restraint and pile only two plates high with skewers. Our favourites include the chicken hearts which we devour with gusto, and whole prawns which are plump and sweet.

A flat grill can be placed over the barbecue to cook mushrooms, lotus roots, calamari, tongue and mussels. We find ourselves continually going back for more of the wagyu beef slices that are extraodinarily tender.

Skewers on the barbecue

Each metal skewers has a flower-shaped metal cog at its base, and when placed into the barbecue slot, the skewers spin like twirling ballerinas. It's spellbinding, more so because we're watching our dinner slowly cook before our eyes.

It's a relaxing way to enjoy a dinner - not quite as chaotic or work-intensive as Korean barbecue. There's also a sense of accomplishment each time an empty skewer is deposited into the metal cannister on the table.

We eat ourselves into a protein coma before helping ourselves to the dessert buffet, a modest display of fresh fruit, chewy rice dumplings, squares of carrot cake, frozen vanilla ice cream and a deep vat of sago pearls in a thin coconut milk soup.

And as for the amount of food you'll find yourself easily putting away, I'm sure it's the act of rotating foodstuffs that send the hypnotic message "now you're getting hungry...". At least, that's my story. And I'm sticking to it.

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Yummy Chinese BBQ on Urbanspoon

Yummy Chinese BBQ
287 Liverpool Road, Ashfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9798 2666

Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday 5pm-10pm
Friday to Saturday 5pm-11pm

All-you-can-eat $28.90 per person (prices correct as at October 2010)

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Yummy Chinese BBQ, Haymarket

All You Can Eat - Kansai, Sydney
All You Can Eat - Kaizen BBQ, North Ryde
All You Can Eat - Nagoya Japanese BBQ, Haymarket
All You Can Eat - Nick's Bondi Beach Pavilion
All You Can Eat - Suminoya, Sydney
19 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/30/2010 02:05:00 am


  • At 10/30/2010 9:03 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Looks like fun! I'm starting to notice quite a few of this places around so want to give one a try asap. I'm pretty impatient though - i'll probably pull everything off the BBQ before it's even cooked!

  • At 10/30/2010 10:09 am, Anonymous Trissa said…

    That's it! I'm taking my brother here... he loves eat all you can and he loves BBQs... although make sure he will gorge on the meat and seafood - probably won't touch the veg!

  • At 10/30/2010 12:47 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oooh, do I spy lotus roots? I've still never tried those! The prawns look fantastic, too, although it's slightly odd to see them so, well, straight!

  • At 10/30/2010 4:09 pm, Blogger Brenda said…

    Oh wow this looks even better than Korean BBQ! No burnt hand hairs with the skewers rotating themselves hahahaah!

  • At 10/30/2010 5:47 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    and because the meat never touches the hot coals, no splatter, no smoke and no smokey smell on your clothes, win win!

  • At 10/30/2010 9:50 pm, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Not in love with the Star City-style lighting but am very much in love with the meat on skewers concept. All you can eat ... four words that always get my attention

  • At 10/31/2010 2:37 pm, Blogger Fat Belly Club said…

    This does look like fun. I agree that Korean BBQ places take too much work. You spend half your time with the tongs turning the meat. The rotating skewer idea makes so much sense. I'm there!

  • At 10/31/2010 6:48 pm, Anonymous thang@noodlies said…

    meat on turning skewers.. interesting.. drive past this place all the time but haven't called in.. still traumatised from the old days when they were the crab restaurant

  • At 10/31/2010 6:50 pm, Anonymous Diana said…

    I love that place. Did you try the marinated chicken wings? They are so yummy! They took ages to cook, but they were so worth it.

    They have another restaurant in the city, and I've heard they have more food than the Ashfield one.

  • At 11/01/2010 12:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oohh great work with the photos, the one in the ct was really really red so we couldn't tell when the meat was ready or not hahah

  • At 11/01/2010 10:22 am, Blogger Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said…

    oh wow this is just too good, and the chicken hearts - at the risk of sounding cannibalistic, this is my kind of place Helen! Although I am worried that it may test my patience.. ill make sure i'm not starving when I go.

    Such a good price too for all you can eat..god I love Ashfield!

  • At 11/03/2010 3:43 pm, Blogger susan said…

    meat on a stick is always good. do the metal skewers get really hot though?

    The lighting looks a bit space invaders too, so many good places to try in Ashfield!

  • At 11/17/2010 11:12 pm, Blogger Ditzykitty said…

    looks awesome. i really want to go but we have a vegetarian in our group. Is there any vegetarian meal options? Or do they only serve the all u can eat skewers for dinner?

  • At 11/17/2010 11:32 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Ya Ya - actually the place is still pretty smoky. lol. The fat from the meat does still drip down onto the coals but it's all tasty!

    Hi Diana - We did have the chicken wings. They did take longer but were pretty darn good.

    I've recently posted about the Haymarket outlet, but we were there for lunch only so no skewers available.

    Hi Gianna - I love chicken hearts. They're so good! And I agree, Ashfield is fantastic for cheap eats.

    Hi Susan - The skewers do get hot but you just prise the meat off with your chopsticks and chow down!

    Hi Tiffany - There are some vegetarian options like lotus roots and mushrooms plus salads and vegetables in the bain marie. If you are concerned, I'd call them to double-check.

  • At 11/23/2010 11:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    looks good! Is the place really busy during dinner? Do you think a booking would be required for a friday night?

  • At 11/28/2010 8:30 pm, Anonymous carina said…

    i just went on a friday night after reading your blog. food it just like you mentioned however there is now a 2 hour limit.

  • At 12/15/2010 10:34 am, Anonymous Obesebaby said…

    Hey Helen, have u try the one in city exactly same owner, planning to go here during Xmas holiday. how much p/p ?

  • At 12/27/2010 1:43 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - I'd always ring to make a booking, particularly on a Friday night.

    Hi Carina - Ahh thanks for letting me know. Will update this now.

    Hi Obesebaby - I've been to the Haymarket branch but only for lunch. I can't remember the price for the buffet dinner - suggest you call them using the contact details listed on the post above.

  • At 8/04/2012 9:01 pm, Anonymous lisa & sonny said…

    Loved dinning here was the first time ever and would visit again. Like the way u get to choose from variation of meats and try new flavours. Value for money most certainly and in Ashfield got to luv this place.


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