Lao Pi BBQ | Chinatown | Chinese | Restaurant
click to enlarge Lao Pi BBQ

Lao Pi BBQ

Mike Sula

Chinese Muslim barbecue, chuanr, served in the food court under Chinatown's Richland Center

Our Review

A reasonable facsimile of Chinese Muslim barbecue, chuanr, exists in the subterranean food court under Chinatown's Richland Center, which is where the folks behind Lao Pi BBQ have been grilling a dozen different skewers over a little coal grill in the tiny vestibule next to the great Snack Planet. The signature chuanr here is the lamb skewer, composed of earthy scraps of flesh that are best complemented by the chile, cumin, and sesame seed seasoning. That triumvirate of spices appears on all the skewers, most effectively on the whole grilled pomfret—the fish's crispy skin is scored, allowing the spices to penetrate the flaky white meat. Whole head-on shrimp take on a smoky sweetness, garlic cloves basted with chile sauce are charred in the skin until soft and mellow, and the seasoning makes the time it takes to break down the chewy chicken hearts feel like no time at all. Two things that don't quite take to this treatment well are the whole American hot dog and the chewy, tough tofu skins. The pomfret is the most expensive item on the menu, at an entirely justifiable $3, while the rest of the chuanr—including beef short rib and tendon, quail, lamb kidneys, and soft mantou buns—cost between $1.50 and $2.

Mike Sula

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Price: $




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