I was always skeptical when it came to fusion cuisines, especially Chinese fusion. I always found that home-cooking was (at least) 30x better than what you can get at a restaurant. I’ve always been into the authentic and traditional but when a friend told me about Fat Dragon BBQ where they focus on Asian cuisine with a Southern twist, I was intrigued.
Yes, it’s in a “quieter”/interesting neighborhood but don’t let that stop you. Welcomed by a lovely neon sign, the red and yellow dragon is something you can’t miss while driving or walking down Powell street. The decor is modern but the various woods make it feel very inviting and almost nostalgic. I loved the little details like the burned etchings at the bar or the wonderful ceiling piece. Lovely service as well!
Pork Shoulder Bao:
(L) not as spicy, which is good but I wished it were fattier, I love fatty pork so it’s probably just me. It was a on little dry side, which could be aided via more sauce or a fattier piece of meat.
Slow Braised Beef Bao
:(R) Bao is bun in Chinese but in this case it’s more of a hamburger style rather than the large round buns you’d see at New Town Bakery. These types of “Bao”, from my understanding, is more of a Taiwanese snack item. Starting with the bun, it was soft and fresh. Usually they’re on the sweeter side but this one didn’t have that. What if it was a scallion bun with the beed? Yum! The beef had a lovely smoke flavour and wasn’t too fatty. Tender and bold flavour of the beef is complimented by the texture and light sweetness of caramelized peanuts.
Dry tender ribs:
These were PHENOMENAL! I’ve always loved ribs and I am quite picky when it comes to it but these were crispy but perfectly rich and succulent. First, you experience the sweetness that’s given from the brown sugar glaze and followed by the flavour of a mellow salty rub. There’s a slight smoke boldness to it and there is no need for sauce; that is when you know you have an amazing beef rib. They’re topped with shallot chips that adds sweetness and spiciness. Surprisingly, I think there is fish sauce and a little bit of hoisin as well as soy sauce in the glaze?
Stir fried noodles in smokey drippings:
Simple is most often the most delicious. If you don’t prefer oily foods, you might still enjoy this. It’s surprisingly light because of the scallion mix and slightly textured because they used egg noodle which absorbs flavours well. At first it’s salty and is followed by a slight sweetness and then you hit the freshness of the scallion. I would recommend getting it as a side dish rather than the large one but combine the noodles with the ribs…BOOOM! Intense flavour city!
Pigs Head Lettuce Wraps:
HOLY SHIZBAZ! Pardon my language but boy oh boy are you in for a treat! Fatty, rich and with the crispy bits…lemon..fresh kimchi…lettuce wraps don’t get any better! Freshness and kick from the kimchi and scallion mix, clean from the lemon and textured crunch and boldness from the fried skin bit are all individual notes in this dish. Compare this to pulled pork but it’s sexier, older juicier sister. Now I can see the differences in cuts of meat in terms of flavour where one can experience fatty to bold and gamey. This is a really fun dish since you dig into it and tear it apart yourself. A bonus is that you get the keep the bones to make a lovely rich stock! It takes about 40 mins to 1 hr for this to prepare so be aware. Now I can say, “eat the face! It’s delicious!”
$86 in total but worth every penny and you get leftovers that can be good for two other meals!
Leftover BBQ Pork Head Fried Rice:
3 cups of cooked rice
1/2 cup cooked peas
2 sprigs chopped scallions
150g leftover pork (2 handfuls)
3 teaspoon Soy sauce
Pinch of salt
1) cook rice and set aside
2) separate eggs and whisk whites until frothy. Slowly add in yolks.
3) heat up pork in another pot until warm
4) take out the meat and put into frying pan. Add peas and egg into pork oil that was left in other pot
5) add rice into frying pan and stir until well combined.
6) add soy sauce and salt, 1 teaspoon at a time until well incorporated
7) add the eggs and peas and combine.
8) serve with the leftover kimchi, scallion sauce, and fried skin.