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October 19, 2016
Habits

Just One Thing… at Big Wang BBQ

Chinatown's smoky little secret.

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  • Guide: Amelia Radman
  • Story: Josh Fanning

Today your guide to Adelaide’s lesser-known, must try menu items adventures down the well-worn pavers of Gouger Street.

Heading past the now-closed Hogs Breath Café, we hook a left after crossing Morphett Street – headed for Big Wang BBQ on the western edge of the ever-expanding Chinatown precinct.

Remarks

Big Wang BBQ
305 Morphett Street, Adelaide
Open 7 Days:
5:00pm – 12:00am

Other dishes we recommend:
Grilled Chinese bun
Garlic shoots
Enoki Mushroom with pork belly
Lean beef

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When Big Wang first came to town and the prepubescent and culturally insensitive giggles died down, what we first noted about the restaurant was the aroma of BBQ that literally blanketed our neighbourhood. As residents of the South West Corner of the city the first thing we noticed about Big Wang was the big smell – and it was delicious.

Heading through the large glass doors, the caucasian among us will note the distinct lack of the English Language. This fact, when combined with a restaurant full to the brim with happy customers is a sure sign you’re onto a good thing. The only problem now is – what to order?

Lucky for you our intrepid guide has been here and done that.

Also, Matt Preston has been here and done that too – his tweeted review plus a gregarious photo of the cravat-wearing food evangelist hugging what we can only hope is Big Wang, has been printed, laminated and tastefully blu-tacked to the southern wall of the restaurant.

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A picture says a thousand words. If you squint, to the right of the TV and just above the bespectacled man is a picture of Matt “Masterchef” Preston.

Service is prompt and beer comes quickly upon being seated. The turnover of tables in the restaurant isn’t at a break neck speed, which is confusing when you regard the menu for the first time and spy dishes listed, on average, at just a $1 per skewer.

This is BBQ Dongbei style, from the north-east of China and the essential idea is to order plenty of different dishes. Of course – that’s not our gig.

We’re here for just one thing, the smashed cucumber salad.

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We apologise that this is our first vegetarian option on the Just One Thing guide but can we just assure you – it is well worth the wait.

This salad is exceptional and, if you can stand the smell of smoky bbq all around you and the ubiquitous seasoning that Big Wang likes to douse every dish in, this salad really can satisfy in and of itself. Between two, it’s going to leave you feeling a little peckish because it ticks the only box in our books: Delicious!

The cucumber appears to be the smaller, Lebanese or “curly” variety. The vegetable appears to have been cracked and broken in part by hand, which gives the chunks of cucumber a new texture that accentuates the fleshy nature of the vegetable. Adding peanuts to the dish again brings a crunch to your mouth when you’re eating the dish that is wholly delightful. A light, salty, sweet and spicy dressing with vinegar, garlic, coriander and chilli neither overpowers or seems superfluous but demonstrates the steady hand of a seasoned chef – kudos Big Wang!

Another tip for the Big Wang menu is a serve of the grilled Chinese bun as accompaniment for the smashed cucumber salad. Short of hoisting the plastic plate to your mouth and directly pouring the delectable salad dressing into your mouth, Big Wang’s buns serve as the perfect vessel to mop up the remaining juices on the plate.

Big Wang is a winner and definitely one of the pioneering businesses helping gradually expand the area Adelaide knows as Chinatown.

 

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Enoki Mushroom with pork belly skewers alongside the main event

 

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