Roasted Pork Belly, Crispy Roast Duck, BBQ Pork - A Hong Kong BBQ Journey. [BONUS: Amazing Crackling Roasted Suckling Pig!] - Ruby BBQ, Ho Kee, Hop Woo, Sam Woo, New Duong Son BBQ, Lien Hoa BBQ, Noodle Boy, Monterey Palace [Thoughts + Pics]
What an intense review! Well done!
As always awesome review!
In my heart and stomach, Ming Kee in SF is #1.
Side note: Noodle Boy does a Hong Kong style Zha Jiang Mian. @beefnoguy can probably elaborate better.
Great reviews as always @Chowseeker1999!
I was wondering if the suckling pig can be ordered for a family celebration and if it will remain crispy.
I’ll call and try to find out. That would be perfect for a family gathering.
Suckling pig typically shows up in a Chinese banquet at any “dim sum” restaurants so you can order it for any occasion. I think skin is usually crisped up at the end using a blowtorch so it’ll remain crispy for a longgggg time.
You are the only person in the world who, after going deep into a long meatatarian journey, you
go for a cleanse with roasted suckling pig.
We agree with New Duong Son and Ruby BBQ being the two major players for Hong Kong-style BBQ. While having been to NDS at least half a dozen times, we’ve only been to Ruby twice. We actually preferred NDS. But this is based on take out (NDS still takeout only?), which isn’t optimal for this type of food (we are in the Westside too - long drive time). Timing could be an issue as well. We usually go early(close to opening), as the offerings can go fast. Like any BBQ, once they’re out, they’re out for the day. We’ve gotten shut out before at far less notable places.
The roast suckling pig is a true eye opener. The last time we had this dish was in Malaysia years ago - usually a must for various significant celebrations.
The wonton noodle soup find is a huge deal for my wife. Again - last time we had this - a version where it’s obvious that someone put time and care into it - was in Malaysia.
The old school purveyors of this surprisingly complex and labor intensive dish used to show up in the older established Chinese neighborhoods over there, pushing large carts to a specific location known to all in the 'hood. Lines would form at this designated spot, indicating the anticipation of the specialist’s arrival. The longer the line, the stronger the reputation.
As is common throughout Asia, specialists are the rule. Many gain strong followings because they have a pinpoint focus on crafting just about every aspect of a particular dish as good as they can.
The gentleman who used to come through my wife’s old neighborhood had this reputation. He made everything that went into his wonton noodle soup. He also knew how each “regular” in line preferred their soup (e.g., double wonton, no cuttlefish balls, light on soy, etc.) When my wife and I finally got to the front of the queue, the man remembered my wife after her three year absence. They briefly exchanged pleasantries all the while as he simultaneously preparing her bowl as he recalled her preferences.
Times have changed, OG food purveyors have been pushed into hawker centers, are getting too old for the laborious work, and their kids want nothing to do with carrying the baton. So to find a place here in SoCal that makes a respectable version of a dish like wonton noodles is like taking a time machine trip to another time and place.
Thank you so much for your exhaustive coverage and detailing your finds. Mister Gold can rest assured knowing his protégé will carry the torch here at FTC.
Thanks for another great report @Chowseeker1999, I have ruby bbq bookmarked. How did their roast pork compare to dragon beaux?
If you ever need an extra belly or two let me know, I may know a certain porkybelly who can offer up some belly real estate, pro bono.
and speaking of roast sucking pigs, i saw a recent kevineats post with a suckling pig at longo seafood.
Great post @Chowseeker1999 & glad you enjoyed Noodle Boy! Did you try their excellent chili sauce? I feel the quality has slid a bit since Sergio stopped manning the stoves but still by far my favorite in SGV by a mile.
Need to hit up Ruby and Monterey Palace - never showed up on my radar during my quest for good roasties over the years.
I’ve always been surprised by the dismal quality of roasties in the US. Perhaps @chandavkl, @ipsedixit, @beefnoguy can shed some light?
Intrigued by that red flower clam, visually looks like a hybrid of jellyfish and sea cucumber.
Btw have you been to HK?
Yes please elaborate.
Good lord you really put in your time for these reviews. Hopefully these threads will become reference points for all who seek out this sort of dining in SoCal. Kudos.
Secret Westside parking tip: Think outside the box/mini-mall and try Pontius Ave. (the street parallel to Sepulveda just west of the mini-mall; enter Pontius from Pico): TONS of spots there. Yes, it may look a bit dodgy, but I’ve never had security issues there before. Hell, it’s even good for Sawtelle parking during their peak hours.
Thanks! Hope you get to try some of these places soon.
Thanks again for mentioning Ruby BBQ; we love that place!
Yah, Ming Kee’s BBQ Pork Neck Charsiu is crazy-good, and their Roast Duck and Soy Sauce Chicken is fantastic. I agree.
However, since Ming Kee didn’t offer any Roast Pork Belly, I’d have to say we’re lucky to have Ruby BBQ and the Roast Suckling Pig (and regular Roast / Crispy Pork Belly) at Monterey Palace.
Thank you! If it wasn’t for you, @Dommy @attran99 @PorkyBelly and others recommending it, we would’ve never found New Duong Son, which was great; I wish we had this on the Westside!
And “yes” New Duong Son BBQ is still Take Out Only, unfortunately, so you can’t really enjoy it immediately unless you just eat it leaning against the mini-mall’s walls and scarf it down?
Thank you for sharing such a great story about the old school Wonton Noodle Soup purveyor in Asia! Wow that sounds amazing; and sad that these specialists are probably the last we’ll see in their craft if the new generation doesn’t care about continuing their parents’ generations’ work.
I hope you get to try Ruby BBQ or Monterey Palace (and Noodle Boy) soon!
Thanks! Dragon Beaux’s Roast Pork Belly was fantastic the first and third times we had it. The 2nd time was good, but not as sublime (and a touch too cool).
Ruby BBQ’s version each time we had it was still crispy-crunchy and I’d say it was close. At least one of the visits to Ruby BBQ, the Roast Pork Belly was better than Dragon Beaux(!). The other times was maybe a touch below or right there. And it’s closer than Dragon Beaux so we can try it more often here!
But that Roast Suckling Pig! @PorkyBelly you were the first person I thought of when we were all eating that dish. It is SO GOOD! That Crispy Skin! That tender, luscious Roast Pork meat underneath!
We have tried and enjoyed Ruby. The suckling pig at Monterey Palace is definitely on our list. Son’s B-day is coming up - I think you’ve presented us with a strong candidate!
That’s exactly what I thought, but for my brother’s birthday! A roast piglet is not easy to find on the Westside, especially after Tom Ford’s closed.
Great chow seeking @Chowseeker1999!
I cannot wait to hit up some of these places you’ve written about. Awesome. Thanks.
Wow, thank you @Chowseeker1999, this is amazing sleuthing right here complete with follow up visits to check consistency. Great work.
We can thank the local health departments in the U.S and the FDA.
Traditional Cantonese roast duck begins with a Pekin duck (the typical weapon of choice), then it’s seasoned, and sewn up like a beggars purse and boiled or blanched to manicure the skin, then (and this is where our health dept steps in) it’s hung and sun-dried (or air-dried) for several hours (between 2-5) before being roasted in an oven.
In the US most purveyors of Cantonese roast duck usually brine or use the baking soda trick to get crispy skin (instead of air-drying). And as can be seen from @Chowseeker1999’s well documented travails the results are not always exemplary.
We like the roast pork belly at Longo Seafood as much as Dragon Beaux. We also preferred the version at Pacific Lighthouse in Alameda incrementally over Dragon Beaux.
My theory on the decline of Chinese bbq consumption among the next generation is that Millennials are notorious for not liking bones in their meat (presumably because they grew up with chicken nuggets), and this is just another manifestation. For that matter I’m not a big fan of Chinese bbq meats because I don’t like bones either.
Guess there are too many genres for everybody to keep up on everything. I’ve done my best to tout Noodle Boy as the local king of wonton noodles. Indeed I first discovered that the late Jonathon Gold actually read my tweets when he “liked” that comment I made about Noodle Boy.