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]


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Wonton Noodle - Standard broth that didn’t stand out

Noodle is a touch too al dente and lacking the bounce that I’m looking for in what I had at Mak’s in HK.

Good for SGV standard with plump shrimp and well cooked pork.

Roast duck

It’s juicy enough but it’s seasoned unevenly with certain spots extra salty. The skin, on the other hand, is flabby without a hint of crispiness :disappointed_relieved: Ruby BBQ in El Monte is your guy if you’re looking for crispy skin.

Char Siu

A-okay…standard stuff and far cry from the good stuff in HK


If you had one shot which places would you go for roast duck and roast pork? Preferably near Alhambra - my cousin still wants to go to You Kitchen. I’m not going to the SGV without having some of this crispy, tender, fatty goodness. Any place with cocktails? It’s a girls lunch thing.

Okay, scratch the Alhambra thing. I tortured her with these photos. She said “Just pick a place that has crispy pork… and booze”.

Edit: Now she says she can bring her handy water bottle (à la @Ns1) if the best place doesn’t serve alcohol. :blush:

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Hi @moonboy403,

Thanks for the report back! Good to know your experience echoed ours: That Ho Kee’s Roast Duck was just flabby skin as well (darn). Their Wonton Noodle Soup was fine, but not as good as Noodle Boy’s (RIP).

Hi @TheCookie,

Nice! I hope you have a good lunch with your cousin. :slight_smile: I would say if it’s San Gabriel Valley in general, then Ruby BBQ for sure if you want Roast Pork Belly and the Roast Duck. (Note: Cash Only, but they’re very fairly priced / cheap.) No alcohol though, and hole-in-the-wall, informal.

If you want a bit more sit down with a full service restaurant vibe (with tablecloths) Monterey Palace (also listed above) has almost as great Roast Pork Belly (they have 2 types, the one you want is “Crispy Pork Belly”. The 2nd type is just listed as “Roast Pork” which is still the crispy skin, but it’s the leg / shoulder portion, leaner, and not as tasty). :wink:

I think they have beer & wine, but I forgot. They serve adequate Dim Sum during the day as well, but it’s their Crispy Pork Belly (and they have Roast Duck) that you want there.

If you had more people I’d say you have to do the special order Roasted Suckling Pig that we had last time! SO GOOD and one of the Best Bites we’ve had in years! :blush: :heart:

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Thanks @Chowseeker1999! Monterey Palace could work because they also serve dim sum which was the original plan. I’ll check out your comments on their roast duck. It will be 3 of us, not sure if that’s enough for the suckling pig.

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Hi @TheCookie,

We haven’t found any HK duck specialist in L.A. that achieves any kind of distinct crisped/crispy skin unfortunately. A nice discussion further up this thread by our experts explains why (has to do with the proper way to dry out the duck for preparation = not approved here in the U.S., etc.). But of the HK duck places, the ones that were the tastiest and had a slight barely perceptible distinction of the roasted duck skin were Ruby BBQ and Monterey Palace was 2nd with sometimes there, sometimes not, but good flavor duck meat.

For the roasted suckling pig? I was half-joking: You need 8 - 10 people for that. :sweat_smile: it’s a lot of food. :slight_smile: (you can see how much food / pics in the 2nd post above.)

Hi @Chowseeker1999 -

I’m only half way thru the thread, but I saw the part about electric fans, airing ducks outside near dumpsters, blow dryers, photos too! :sweat_smile: It made me think of the Thanksgiving discussion about getting crispy skin on turkey thighs (not quite as involved, just loosen the skin to get air underneath :wink:) @J_L’s comment about hoping these threads become an essential reference guide (or some such thing) is spot-on. It’s always been on my mind to use them when ready. I don’t weigh in much because folks can get what I call “really passionate” and have definite opinions on what does and does not suck. :grimacing: Sometimes I will have just had that thing that “sucked” and rather enjoyed it. Once I think I’ve nailed it and learned from someone another someone weighs-in and disputes the other’s truth, then it’s on it. It can be intimidating and confusing. I eat Chinese food way more than I report on. From an outsiders point-of-view, I don’t think there is any food on the planet that has as many nuances, styles, provinces/regions, influences, debates as Chinese food. I think it’s probably more difficult to master than French food.

Anyway, back to where we’re going for our HK-style BBQ. It keeps looking like Ruby B.B.Q. is the sure thing for both pork & duck. I am a little put off by @bulavinaka’s “salty” comment. That would be a bummer. Is there a polite way to request less salt? But I’m okay with the duck skin not being shatteringly crispy, because ignorance is bliss. As long as it’s not limp or undercooked and the meat is flavorful we’re good.

Ahhh… so the suckling pig is the whole animal for one table. Okay, nope. It will save me the guilts anyway. But I plan on leaving my rules at home and just enjoy the food.

Any tips for picking up a great dessert for home?

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Phoenix. Get one of them mochi or rolls, Black Sticky Rice Young Coconut, Durian Black Sticky Rice & Coconut Jelly Noodles, Steamed Egg w Milk / Steamed Milk & Egg with Ginger, one of the tapioca drinks…or all of them!

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I would describe my best Peking Duck skin as an ethereal crisp. The skin was so light on the tongue that it was almost like a puff.

Best Peking Duck. Ever. Not surprisingly, in Beijing.

A dab of sugar. Adds a nice balance and excites other taste buds. Note how thick the skin is, almost as if its been puffed.

Wood fired duck oven in the bowels of the restaurant. Not a show fireplace.

Best use of duck carcass: Salt and Pepper deep fried. (at another establishment) The bites were more addictive than Lays Potato Chips. Strongly suggest giving this treatment a try if given the option.


Don’t let my comment deter you. I haven’t read through the thread to see how many others have mentioned this issue. I’ve been more sensitive to salt over the past couple of years. And the rest of my family and friends didn’t mention this issue. One or two agreed after I mentioned it. And I don’t recall this being an issue in the past as well.

Another consideration is that Cantonese flavors to me are primarily about balance and finesse. If Sichuan is flavor-forward and in one’s face, Cantonese tends to be toward the other end of the spectrum. So if a certain flavor stands out more relative to other flavors in a Cantonese dish, it’s hard for me to dismiss.


Da Dong?

Hi @TheCookie,

Your opinion is still valid and it’s great to chime in on places you’ve eaten at. :slight_smile: But yah, certainly when some folks have experienced a certain cuisine at its highest levels (in the country of origin, or at some of the best restaurants making that type of food), they might have a different perspective and it’s OK for them to chime in, as long as it’s all in good conversation and forwarding the food conversation. :wink:

I’m pretty sensitive to salt as well (you know our conversations on how sadly oversalted so many Fried Chicken places are around L.A. (and the Fried Chicken Journey thread)), but I was OK with Ruby BBQ’s Roasted Pork Belly, however, we might’ve gotten lucky and bulavinaka’s experience might’ve been the norm?

Monterey Palace might be a more relaxed, full-service restaurant to enjoy though, especially if you wanted to try a few other items as well (and some Dim Sum). :slight_smile:

Dessert? We liked the Po (Portuguese) Egg Tarts at Jim’s Bakery, and the Tofu Flower dessert at V P Tofu (and the Black Sesame Puree Dessert there). Pics in this thread.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:

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Here’s another data point. Ho Kee’s duck was pretty dang salty compared to Ruby in my lone visit to both places.

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Da Bomb! :wink:

China Lounge, Chaoyang Beijing. A very comfortable setting with attentive service. Nice private rooms.

The chef is cheffing his versions of Beijing Classics, without getting all fushiony or weird for weird sake. Some standouts.

Boneless Duck Web with Chef’s Wasabi dipping sauce. Eye opening, and not just because of the wasabi. :wink:

Braised Pig Trotter in Aspic. A clean simple example of a classic.

Sea Cucumber braised with Shrimp Roe and Scallions. Deceptively simple, very delicious.

Had about a dozen dishes total. Not all were homeruns, some were merely excellent. Highly recommended.


Thanks a lot! I said ignorance is bliss! :smile:

Thanks @Chowseeker1999 & @bulavinaka.

I will take the “salty” comment with a grain of salt (pun, pun) and not let it deter me from going to Ruby BBQ. But I think Monterey Palace might be better for the girls’ lunch.

Oh no, no… I’ve never had a debate myself with anyone about Chinese dishes. I wouldn’t dare, lol. And I’m not speaking of any particular incident or specifically about Cantonese. It’s just something I’ve observed on this and a couple of other threads about Chinese restaurants and dishes. People are very passionate and certain about what is what and it can get heated. Maybe @chandavkl should do a study on that one. :wink:

Great explanation.


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Yes, but don’t go to the New York branch of Da Dong, which was savaged, I believe, by the New York Times.

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Had dinner at the Beijing Da Dong some years ago. Some venders and customers from China, Korea and USA. That place ain’t cheap (for China at the time).

My GM insisted ordering 1 duck for every two diners at the table. The Chinese at the table tried to dissuade him from over-ordering, to no avail. Ended up with 5 ducks for our table of 10.

I added a dish of Duck’s Tongues and a couple of bottles of Moutai for a truer Beijing business dining experience, more in line with what our Beijing associates are accustomed. My boss was shooting daggers at me for being too extravagant. Culture clash, really.