Hong Kong style BBQ meats + other Chinese restaurants [Bay Area/SoCal]

Not to be a pedant, but if we’re talking about the kind of Cantonese style BBQ (siu mei) that you’d find at Cheung Hing, the roast duck is not peking duck. Cantonese roast duck is “siu aap” while peking duck is “peen pei aap” (not sure on spelling, as the pronunciation depends on dialect as well, with some places in SF Chinatown calling “siu aap” as “siu ngop”). They are similar in some respects but differ in others like ingredients, preparation, etc. but perhaps most notably the texture of the skin. Cantonese roast duck has less crispy skin, the fat renders differently, and it’s often chopped not sliced. Cantonese siu aap is often served in combination with other siu mei roast meats or as a simple lunch with rice and a bed of braised cabbage or lettuce, while Peking duck is either served with baos (at Cantonese restaurants) or thin, stretchy pancakes (in many other types of Chinese restaurants) with different accoutrements. Both Cantonese roast duck and Peking duck are excellent, just thought I’d point out the distinction between the different products. At Cheung Hing Millbrae, for example, Cantonese roast duck is $15.95 while Peking duck is $28.00.

Nanjing duck is also a different type of preparation, even if it apparently was the predecessor to Peking duck.

So @droolingdoggie , when you ask for duck at some Cantonese BBQ places, there may be two BBQ types of duck that look somewhat similar. Siu aap is the BBQ duck normally hanging at butchers and accompanying “siu yuuk” (roast pork belly with crispy skin) and “see yau gai” (soy-sauce chicken) on lunch plates. For takeout, I prefer to buy the Cantonese duck whole (tell the butcher not to chop it) and make my own rice because sometimes the quick cleaving of the siu aap can result in little sand-like bone shards getting on top the rice.

Nice of you to bring some good BBQ to your mother! Ruby BBQ in El Monte is good, though I haven’t been recently.

There are lots of good Chinese restaurants in that 626 area. There are lots of styles of Chinese food, some of the more popular ones being Szechuan or Taiwanese. To help narrow it down, what sorts of foods does your mother like or not like (e.g. spicy or not, seafood, etc.)?

And speaking of other Cantonese style fowl besides duck, there’s also quail, squab, and goose. Fried quail is an excellent appetizer, roast squab is my favorite, and roast goose is my least favorite. I highly recommend roast squabs with a touch of five spice salt and a squirt of lemon as a nice appetizer often served at Cantonese seafood / banquet style restaurants (I don’t usually see it for takeout).


BradFord, your post did not discuss the “duck juice”, I recommend a shopper bring their own 4 oz container.

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Thank you for all your replies. My mom likes most non-spicy Chinese dishes. Seafood isn’t good since I am not dining in. I will be driving all the way from the Bay Area to OC, and therefore it’d be great if the recommended restaurants are close to the BBQ shops. (I will pick up the to-go food along the way.) Thank you again :blush:!

I recommend starting a new post with a different title.

If you do not want HK BBQ, maybe change your title.

Sounds good. In that case, perhaps look into Ho Kee Cafe and see if their menu appeals to you (multiple locations and you can order online). They have roasties but also a bigger menu, too. I enjoyed my meal with roasties and some Cantonese dishes there a couple of weeks ago; ‘ll update with thoughts on their menu and others’ later.

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I haven’t been since they changed from Beijing Pie House to Jin Hai Pie House.

But this stuff is inexpensive, travels and freezes well. Lamb pies, pork pies, other delicious food.

JIN HAI PIE HOUSE - 114 Photos & 41 Reviews - Chinese - 846 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA - Restaurant Reviews - Phone Number - Yelp


Thank you again. My intent is to pick-up a bunch of dishes and BBQ meats to-go (can be from more than one place), of a quantity enough for three adults to consume over 2-3 days. She is getting some remodeling done and therefore does not want to cook.

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Well, none of these places actually makes real Peking ducks. Peen pei aap is not Peking duck neither. There are probably Peking style-like serving duck, but not true Peking duck. That being said, there are plenty dishes like that. Almost all the so called “Mongolian XXX” dishes are not Mongolian in any remote sense.

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Best Wishes for your visit….Looking forward to your trip report.

Right, if you takeout from a Cantonese bbq place (which is what OP was apparently referring to) and order “Peking duck,” the restaurant will likely give you peen pei aap and not a traditionally made Beijing kaoya. If one just orders a “whole roast duck,” there may be several options (peen pei aap and siu aap, with the latter as the default). I just wanted to point out the distinction between Cantonese roast duck one will get at Ruby BBQ, Sam’s Chinese Barbecue, etc. and the “Peking duck” also sometimes available at Cantonese restaurants (even if the Cantonese version of Peking duck may not be made entirely in the Beijing style) or Duck House. With that said, I think that Cantonese siu aap does better than Peking duck for takeout because of the latter’s crispy skin.

At the Cantonese roasties places, the claypot “yuxiang eggplant” version of Sichuan eggplant can be quite good even if they differ a bit from the original Sichuan version. To your point, Japanese version of Chinese food (which is quite popular in Japan now, both for casual and high-end) isn’t very Chinese, but it can be really good!

Perhaps try Ruby BBQ in El Monte, as @chienrouge mentioned and Ho Kee Cafe (I’ve been to the Arcadia one but haven’t tried the others in San Gabriel). At Ho Kee Cafe, there’s various BBQ meats, Hong Kong style wonton noodle soup, beef brisket with turnip (a very good claypot savory sauce version; elsewhere I usually like the clear broth version with preserved vegetables but I’m not sure if they make that one here), braised appetizers, and scallop and egg white fried rice, all of which should take out well. They also make good “salt and pepper” fish fillet (or chicken wings or squid), which isn’t the best takeout candidate, but you can re-crisp it in the oven, and the “salt and pepper” chili and green onion goes great over rice.


Agree, just saying that if we are talking about if something is a real Peking duck. Now that being said, there is a difference that Japanese-Chinese food which largely resemble Chinese food vs from so called Mongolian foods that Mongolians have never heard of.

Any stew foods should be pretty good for take out. Any fried foods like (your salt and pepper fish) probably not going to do well.

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Ho Kee Cafe

Ruby BBQ

HK VIP Kitchen

Sunny Shine BBQ


I had some really good roast duck from Hing Lung a few times via delivery. Their B&M is in SF Chinatown.


Hing Lung is not bad.

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I realize skewers aren’t what the OP intended to ask for, but I’m curious— who makes a good version of this closer to the SFBA and what type of seasonings are typical?

Hi @droolingdoggie ,

Welcome to the So Cal Board and hope you find some tasty eats on your drive down. :slight_smile: @BradFord @chienrouge @ipsedixit and others already had some good recommendations. While I’m from So Cal all my life, and know of the various “HK BBQ / Cantonese BBQ” offerings locally, there’s sadly been a downward trend / collapsing of restaurants specializing in HK and/or Cantonese cuisine for years now. David Chan did a few great articles discussing this over the recent years. I ended up doing a few “food journeys” on HK / Cantonese BBQ in the past few years to see the state of things (not good). I envy you and all the SF Onioners with your access to places like Ming Kee (so good!). :slight_smile:

(Note: I think we all understand what @droolingdoggie is looking for now (it’s technically “Cantonese BBQ”), but a Google Image search of “HK BBQ” will turn up countless images of Char Siu (BBQ Roast Pork (boneless), Roast Duck, Soy Sauce Chicken and more (hanging meats, etc.)). I think in various parts of America at least, that’s what folks think “HK / Cantonese BBQ” is (and not the skewers). Just mentioning it to cut the OP some slack. Heck, my friends from Hong Kong (living here in the U.S. now), when we chat, they understand that’s what most folks mean when someone here asks for “a good HK BBQ eatery” with Char Siu, Roast Duck, etc. :wink: But I guess this is like all us Americans / Europeans who refer to Xiao Long Bao as “Soup Dumplings” (uh oh, don’t start the “XLB are not Dumplings” debate again! (Hahaha, old joke from old Chowhound days). :wink: (@ipsedixit @sck @hyperbowler and all)

Back to your original question @droolingdoggie: For So Cal, my favorites would be…

Roast Pork Belly and Roast Duck

  • Ruby BBQ - 9561 Garvey Ave ste 1&2, South El Monte, CA 91733

They make the best Roast Pork Belly we’ve had in So Cal (not counting Roast Suckling Pig (whole) - that’s an entirely other discussion). :wink: The skin is crackling and crispy-crunchy. However, the skin may not last long enough to get to your mom’s house in OC in time (when you get it, leave it partially cracked open to prevent any accidental “steaming” in the to-go container). Definitely sample some of the Roast Pork Belly fresh in your car as soon as you get it. :wink:

Ruby BBQ also makes our favorite version of Roast Duck, however, none (zero) of the local So Cal Cantonese BBQ restaurants have a good version with slightly crisped skin. @ipsedixit can shed light into why (US Food Safety regulations). But you have my favorite version of Roast Duck in California anyways up in the Bay Area. :wink: But yes, Ruby BBQ’s version is our favorite locally. It has the juicy, flavorful Duck meat, their Duck Jus is delicious and not too salty, and the Duck Skin is as close to being “almost slightly crisped” as you can get around here sadly.

Ruby BBQ does not offer Char Siu, nor any of the other standard meats found at other eateries (like Soy Sauce Chicken, Wings, Chicken Feet, etc.).

Be sure to order a side of Steamed Rice to enjoy with the roast offerings. :slight_smile:


Ruby BBQ
9561 Garvey Ave., Suite 1 & 2
South El Monte, CA 91733
Tel: (626) 279-6854

  • New Duong Son BBQ - 9211 Bolsa Ave # 115, Westminster, CA 92683

One other place to consider (not sure where in the O.C. your mom is at) is a surprise offering of “HK / Cantonese BBQ” by way of Vietnamese-Chinese folks, and it’s in Orange County. :slight_smile:

Their Roast Pork Belly is pretty good (not as good as Ruby BBQ), but since it’s in O.C., it might be better for the crispy skin to survive (the travel from restaurant to your mom’s place).

Their Roast Duck is OK, not as good as Ruby BBQ, but still quite good for flavor (but like all So Cal places, no crisped skin). They also have Char Siu, but we haven’t tried it before.


New Duong Son BBQ
9211 Bolsa Ave. #115
Westminster, CA 92683
Tel: (714) 901-1600

Char Siu

Sadly, there are no great Char Siu makers that we've found here in So Cal, but for standard offerings, any of the places listed in this thread are fine. The best artisanal variations of Char Siu locally are too inaccessible for your drive from SF to OC to casually pick up along the way (2 local chefs have been trying to do it right, but both have moved to dinner only and it's not even always on the menu).

There is nothing wrong with OK Char Siu (Roast Pork that’s usually red in color), especially if your mom is craving this dish and she doesn’t get to eat it very often. :slight_smile:

  • Sam Woo Barbeque - 514 Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

@droolingdoggie , I haven’t been to Sam Woo BBQ since before the pandemic, but they’ve been a mainstay of So Cal for decades. They have numerous locations but most were shutdown due to tax evasion. @ipsedixit which surviving locations are still OK for the OP to visit? The one on Valley I listed here? That one looks open still. Thanks.

@droolingdoggie , at Sam Woo BBQ you’ll find that classic setup of roasted meats that are hanging in the heat lamp window, and you choose what you want and they’ll chop it up for you on the spot and pack it to-go. The Char Siu, Soy Sauce Chicken are all OK. Perfectly fine for anyone who’s craving the “HK / Cantonese BBQ” meats. We’re just viewing this with a more critical eye since this is a food lovers board. :wink: (In other words, it’s fine, but not “best of the best”.)


Sam Woo Barbeque
514 Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91803
Tel: (626) 281-0038

I’ll post other Chinese cuisine restaurants in another post. Hope this helps! Enjoy. :slight_smile:


Hi @droolingdoggie ,

As for other types of Chinese cuisine that you could get To-Go and it would survive the car ride to the O.C.? You might consider:

  • Cindy’s Kitchen (Taiwanese Cuisine) - They have over 31 different types of Hsiao Tsai / Lu Wei (Small Dishes)(!) all made fresh in-house. They have fantastic Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, and other dishes. I did a full write-up with pics in this thread, so have a look and see if it’s something you’d like. :slight_smile:

  • Jiang Nan Spring (Jiang Nan / Shanghai cuisine) - A great mom & pop restaurant focusing on Jiangnan Cuisine (literally means “South of the River”), the cooking style / region also encompasses Shanghai cuisine, so that’s a pretty tasty / accessible style of food as well. Their “Spare Ribs in Lotus Leaf” is a standout specialty (lightly spicy, FYI), Shanghai Baby Ribs, Spareribs in Brown Sauce (Wuxi Pai Gu), Chicken with Sesame Oil & Basil, Shredded Pork with Dried Bean Curd (or Shredded Pork with Bamboo), Fish Fillet with Rice Wine Sauce, Fish Fillet with Hot Bean Sauce and a few other dishes.

Jiang Nan Spring
910 E Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Tel: (626) 766-1688

Big thanks to @ipsedixit for turning us onto both of those places years ago! :blush: Enjoy!


Thanks for the enthusiastic replies.
I will take HWY 101 S to OC (with an overnight stop along the central coast) and then HWY 5 N on my way back.

I have some routing questions:

  1. Since I want to stop by South El Monte for BBQ meats, I need to take HWY 10 after exiting 101. I don’t recall having driven on HWY 10 before. It seems like there are lots of exits on its stretch between HWY 710 and Rosemead Blvd. Does this mean that traffic is very slow?

  2. On my way back up without stopping overnight, I will likely take HWY 5. Are there any nice restaurants along this route? They can be of any cuisine. I just want to avoid junk food.

  3. Has anybody shopped at a Le Creuset Outlet store along these freeways? Any fav stores?


Chinese people own and have lots of cars, and they like driving them.

In Bakersfield try Punjabi Dhaba, an Indian food truck.
Punjabi Dhaba

Further north in Buttonwillow, try Cielo Mar Y Tierra

No idea, sorry.


HI everybody:

I just returned from my trip. I bought duck and BBQ pork at Rudy’s BBQ. Good food and reasonable prices.

On my way back along HWY 5, I stopped at Harris Ranch BBQ. Great beef ribs, tri tip, and brisket. Great prices too. I bought enough for another two meals.

Overall, everything in So Cal was cheaper than in the Bay Area. Thank you for your help!